Responsible Volunteering

Responsible volunteering involves developing projects that address actual local needs and have the communities’ needs at their heart. All our programs focus on benefiting local people and communities. Understanding and respecting the host community is paramount to the success of any project. Long term commitment, support and adoption of sound environment, economic and social practices are just some of the ways of carrying out responsible volunteering.


Responsible volunteering also involves having an open mind, preparing well before hand, being ready to learn from the host community, respecting and taking time to understand those you work with and taking time to understand local culture and customs. We orient all our volunteers to respect local people, culture and customs.

Volunteers must read about issues relating to place they are visiting, issues such as poverty, social inequality, infrastructure and politics in the country so that you are prepared and know what to expect. Though upon your arrival we prepare you through orientation session, though a detailed study of all information and resources given to you, as well as your own research will be of great help. Preparing yourself well to live in a developing country will have a positive impact on your contribution.

We request all our volunteers to buy local produce and not to prefer imported goods or items. This helps local producers earn bit more and at times increase employment for local people. We suggest our volunteers to buy local souvenirs of that particular region and avoid buying animal products and wooden products.  

Volunteers must actively participate and understand what is being asked of them as their role of being a volunteer and be ready to take on the challenge. Go through the details thoroughly with your coordinator and ask necessary questions to prevent any disappointment or misunderstandings. Incase of any confusion, one must feel free to ask coordinator again and clarify rather than assuming a particular way of working which is predominantly adopted in west to be the only way of working.

One must hire local guides as they are the best people to tell about their land, lives, culture and customs. This also increases income sources in the local area and local people benefit indirectly from this opportunity.

Be prepared to adopt the role of learners and guests. Gain knowledge and respect local customs/ traditions by familiarizing yourself with the local culture, learn a little of the local language and adhere to dress code. Try and learn as many words of the local language, even a few stumbling words in the local language will be appreciated, and will help open doors to conversations and friendships. Adapting to local dress code is another way of winning hearts. Indian culture being conservative, adapting to proper dress code makes it easy for volunteers to inter mingle with locals. It is also important to have an open mind and be prepared to learn from the local communities, which is a large par t of volunteering, rather than adopting the “I know best” attitude. Volunteering should be a mutual exchange and NOT a personal gain. Share a little of your knowledge but be prepared to add a lot to yours and gain a meaningful experience.

India being a developing country, most resources are scarce and hence extremely precious. We from time to time remind our volunteers to use scant resources like Water, Electricity with great care. We also advice them to be conscious of not wasting food, and inculcating certain habits which can be adopted for general good of the human community, even when they return back home.

Being flexible is an important aspect which needs to be remembered. Being flexible in one’s approach and being ready to adapt to changes in one’s itinerary or work requirements are important. Be open to how things are done in other countries, they may be very different to how things are done at home and it is important to respect this.

We encourage our volunteers to travel in groups or use public transport or walk when convenient. This not only helps in reducing pollution and carbon emissions, but also increases opportunity to many day today life enriching experiences which otherwise may not be possible.   

We expect volunteers to act in a professional manner throughout their placement. Volunteer placement at IECE is not a holiday but a chance to contribute to development projects, therefore it is essential that volunteers conduct themselves professionally, turn up on time and carry out their duties as expected.


Take care of your personal health and safety; follow procedures and health and safety guidelines at all time. Things are done differently, simple looking things may mean different things and taking care of simple guidelines provided by IECE team at the time of orientation will help you have a wonderful healthy trouble free time. Take out suitable health insurance for your time in India. Ensure you seek professional medical advice on health and relevant vaccinations before coming to India.


There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. India, considered as one of the oldest living civilizations, with traditions dating back to back to 8000 BC and a continuous recorded history since the time of the Vedas for over 5,500 years, is the birthplace of the four major religions of the world Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. With so many years of history and culture, local people have their own way of thinking and believing. They have different experiences and lifestyle which is influenced from past generations and their current circumstances and opportunities. It is important to realize that people, customs, traditions, way of life, concept of time are just different in India, because they are different it does not mean that they are wrong. Rather the contrast makes India a must place to visit.


Your experience of living and working in another country can provide invaluable information for those thinking about doing a placement; hence participate in feedback at the end of the placement. By participating in feedback you will be able to bring up any issues you had and suggest any improvements allowing us to make positive changes that will further improve the quality of life and experience for upcoming participants.