As a local Non-Governmental Organization, Children Rights Foundation (CRF) has a clear commitment to working with children, for the sake of children and protecting children so they can enjoy their life in a safe environment. Volunteering is both a practical and productive way to engage the community, both local and international, with our work, resulting in improvement to our service by: engaging with people from diverse cultures; sharing of knowledge; skills; and, advertising our commitment to improving the lives of Bangladeshi’s children and their families.
Volunteers, as an essential part of our organisation will be valued for their input and have the opportunity to help improve the organisation through suggestions and involvement with projects.
The following policy provides general guidance and direction to CRF staff to allow volunteers to be appropriately involved and managed within CRF. After reading and agreeing to the volunteer policy, potential volunteers are welcome to complete a Volunteer Form that will contain contact details, skills, and what they would like to get out of volunteering.
2.1 Definition of Volunteer
A volunteer is someone who gives of their time freely and volunteering is not done for financial gain. Therefore, volunteering is not a paid position, but can be as valuable and productive as paid work and have lasting effects on the community in which the volunteering occurs.
2.2 Scope of Application of the Volunteer Policy
The CRF Volunteer Policy applies to all volunteers, whether Bangladeshi’s or International, and shall be reviewed if needed. The Volunteer Policy is to be read by all CRF staff so they are aware of the policy and know what is expected of CRF and of volunteers.
2.3 Our commitment to protecting children
CRF is a child-focused, not-for-profit, non-political and non-religious Bangladeshi’s non-governmental organization that works towards the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and other instruments related to children’s issues in Bangladeshi. It aims to promote long-term change in the way children are viewed, cared for and treated. CRF endeavours to build local capacity and ownership of duty-bearers to respect, protect and guarantee these rights and as well as to empower rights-holders to exercise and demand their rights which are essential elements in Bangladeshi’s progress, democratic and sustained development. CRF expects that volunteers working with the organisation will seek to contribute to that same mission.
2.4 Code of conduct
CRF’s code of conduct is stipulated in the child protection policy. The code of conduct must be adhered to at all times as volunteers will be assisting vulnerable communities and will access these communities as a guest of CRF. CRF encourages conduct from volunteers that shares skills, and we seek to provide volunteers with meaningful work after being orientated.
Volunteers at all times must ensure their work complements but does not disturb the work of the CRF employees. If a volunteer has a complaint about a CRF staff member, they should raise this in a professional manner.
As per the child protection policy, taking photos of children is discouraged.
CRF does not have discretionary funding to reimburse volunteers for any money they wish to contribute to resources for the program. Therefore volunteers are advised that if they choose to contribute goods to the program, this will viewed as a donation.
2.4.1 Dress code: Volunteers of CRF are representing the organisation, are required to present a good image to the children and communities in which our programs operate. Volunteers must dress appropriately for the conditions under which their duties will be carried out.
2.4.2 Drugs and Alcohol, Gambling: CRF does not condone Volunteers working for them under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and volunteers are not to engage in gambling with community members while working in the communities CRF visits.
2.4.3 Receiving and giving gifts Sometimes communities form a close bond with volunteers and the volunteer may be offered a gift as a thankyou. It is best to seek the advice of the CRF staff member supervising your volunteer shift, prior to accepting gifts. The staff member will advise you if it is ok for you to accept the gift. CRF appreciates donations to assist in its delivery of programs. Should any volunteer wish to make a donation to a particular family that they meet through CRF, they must make this donation via the CRF office and not directly to the family. CRF reserve the right to refuse the donation, or to advise of a better way to assist the organisation so it can more fully meet that particular family’s needs.
2.5 Rights, responsibilities and expectations
CRF reserves the right to recruit and refuse volunteers based on their discretion and the matching of qualities of volunteers with organisational needs.
Volunteers are not covered by employment conditions that CRF staff are covered by, however CRF will aim to ensure volunteers:
- Be given accurate information about what duties they will be performing so that their skills or attributes can be matched to the needs of CRF programs
- Be provided with an orientation welcome where they can be introduced to staff
- Can volunteer in a safe environment
- Be accepted as a valued team member of CRF
- Have access to the volunteer policy
- Have a clear description of what their duties will involve, what time they are working and what they need to bring for themselves when volunteering. For example: water, food and appropriate clothing such as sun hat, covered in shoes if needed, toiletries, poncho for wet weather.
- Are valued for other donations they may wish to make such as resources for the programs.
Volunteers’ responsibilities include:
- Read and sign the CRF child protection policy as acknowledgment of their intent to abide by the policy
- International volunteers in Siem Reap offices: preferred to have attended the Child Protection Training offered by Concert ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). This training covers general information about child abuse, an overview of Bangladeshi, Western/Bangladeshi’s culture differences, the link between poverty and human trafficking & volunteers child protection duties and responsibilities while in Bangladeshi
- International volunteers: provide a photocopy of their passport to the Manager of the CRF office to maintain the security and safety of the children and families volunteers will be going into
- Be reliable, volunteering at the times and places agreed with CRF and taking directions from the staff
- If any aspects of the duties are unclear, to seek assistance from CRF staff
- To always be respectful of Bangladeshi’s and Khmer culture and observe the cultural rituals CRF staff perform for example: removing shoes before entering a building (unless you are advised by staff that it is ok not to do so)
- Confidential information must remain confidential and at all times CRF staff will be possess the authority to act on situations, this role is not to be assumed by the volunteer for example: reporting suspected child abuse or neglect
- Work as part of a team.
Any team works best when expectations of team members are similar to what the team goals are. Therefore CRF expects that: volunteers will respect the policies of the organisation, respect other staff and community members, work to the duties agreed, and offer ideas for improvement in a tactful way so as to not try to ‘save’ ‘take over’ or ‘impose’ international culture upon Bangladeshi’s way of life. Volunteering in Bangladeshi can be exhausting so ensure your expectations are realistic.
CRF also expects that it can review a volunteer’s status and terminate their involvement if their performance is not what was agreed, or if their behaviour is considered inappropriate and/or illegal and/or offensive.
Volunteers can expect CRF to:
Provide them with a solid orientation to the organisation, including a tour of buildings for things like latrines/toilets, fire escapes, staff room and where resources are kept. For example if paper is required to complete a project, where that paper will be located, how much paper can be used (resources are scarce). CRF will respect volunteers for their contribution and act in a professional manner to volunteers at all times. Volunteers are discouraged from engaging in romantic relationships with CRF staff members, and commitment to this expectation is appreciated.
3 Implementation Procedures
3.1 Recruitment and Orientation
Recruitment to volunteering with CRF will initially occur via word of mouth and may then be developed and advertised by other electronic and paper advertisements.
As a substitute to verify identity, volunteers working with Bangladeshi’s children are normally asked for a photocopy of their passport or citizen ID card. This is an important protection for the vulnerable communities that our programs operate within. CRF will not knowingly recruit any volunteer who poses an unacceptable risk to children or vulnerable family members.
Orientation will include a description of what the volunteer will be doing, what skills they will need to do that job, who they will be supervised by, and the conditions of the role such as attendance times, return times.
3.2 Communication and access by external visitors (Donors, Media and Others)
CRF staff are the only employees who have the power to authorise external communication on behalf of the organisation. All requests for communication from potential Donors, the Media, or other parties must be brought to the attention of a CRF staff member who will process the request appropriately. Volunteers should not provide comment to the media unless they have been authorised to do so in writing by the Executive Director.
3.3 Reporting of issues
In line with CRF’s Child Protection Policy and its commitment to the protection of children, volunteers must advise their supervisor if they have been involved in any recent situation that would reflect badly on CRF, or if they have recently been charged with a relevant criminal offence.
Volunteers must also monitor their own health as insurance is not provided. Volunteering is undertaken entirely at the volunteer’s own risk. If the volunteer has a health condition that would put themselves or others at risk, they should advise CRF of this. Volunteers to CRF should aim to be in good health so that they can enjoy their volunteer duties and do not transport ill health into the vulnerable communities in which CRF works.
3.5 Response to issues
Any program issue should be raised with the Manager of the CRF office in which the volunteer is based. Issues should be resolved in the quickest and most appropriate way possible and it the decision of the CRF office manager is final in all dispute matters.
3.6 Responsibility for implementation
CRF and all CRF staff have the responsibility to understand and enact the guidance provided in the CRF Volunteer Policy. CRF staff should observe the policy’s implementation and ensure that auditing occurs to ensure the smooth operation of the volunteer policy. Auditing activities could include: counting the number of volunteers who volunteer per month, reviewing the written feedback from volunteers and discussing this at staff meetings, ensuring that all volunteer application forms have a photocopy passport with them, and a signed child protection policy.
4 Volunteer feedbacks
CRF is grateful for volunteer time, donations and effort. We appreciate feedback on your experience as a volunteer with us, so that we can improve the experience volunteers have with our organisation. In providing feedback, for international volunteers, please provide feedback written in English either to our email address or to the Manager of the CRF office at which you volunteered. In your feedback you could reflect on what we did well, what we can do better and whether you would volunteer with CRF again, or recommend our organisation to your friends, family and work colleagues.