1. Applications Now Being Accepted for May-August 2017 Departures! Apply Now
  2. Applications Now Being Accepted for May-August 2017 Departures! Apply Now

ISV Mission Statement

ISV's mission is to support sustainable development initiatives around the world through life-changing student volunteer and responsible adventure travel programs designed to positively change our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

ISV Partnerships with Local Host Organizations

ISV partners with more than 100 local and international organizations to provide meaningful, hands-on volunteer experiences that really do make a difference! The many challenges of sustainability are daunting, but voluntary partnerships between organisations and communities are proving that together we can accelerate change towards a brighter future for our planet and its people.  The collective contribution of our areas of expertise and strengths mean that together with our local project partners, ISV is achieving significantly more globally than we could if operating independently.
 
In each host country, ISV project managers carefully research and hand-pick local host organization (project) partners so that we can work together to facilitate life-changing conservation and community development volunteer programs.

Our partners range from large, international groups to local, grassroots community organizations, government and non-government agencies, research institutions and many others.

We have close working relationships built on the principles of teamwork, open communication and respect. ISV conducts thorough site inspections and risk assessments of our projects.  We have strong systems for feedback and evaluation, and we meet regularly to assess the progress made toward achieving the project’s goals, and the impacts on the local communities or environment.  

With more than 100 partners worldwide, ISV is able to offer a diversity of volunteer projects that are locally-driven, have community buy-in and take advantage of local knowledge. We believe in working with local communities and host organizations to customize programs for ISV groups according to the needs of the local community.  

We use a set of at least eight criteria (as below) to develop effective partnerships with host organizations and provide high quality volunteer projects.

ISV Requirements for Volunteer Projects

Safety

Safety Like ISV, our host organizations must prioritize volunteer safety in their planning, risk management, and program delivery.

Need

Need Projects must have a genuine need for ISV volunteer assistance that goes beyond simply financial aid or manual labor. We must ensure that volunteers must never replace paid local employment opportunities and our partnership contracts clearly state this requirement. ISV Project Managers have to apply their expertise in sustainable development to ensure that projects tasks and goals have community buy-in and support, and help to build local capacity.

Appreciation of Volunteers

Appreciation of Volunteers Project hosts and locals demonstrate their own commitment and appreciation by working alongside ISV volunteers.

Education

Education ISV volunteers learn about the importance of project goals and associated tasks, as well as related cultural and environmental issues that are important at the local, national and international level.

Leadership

Leadership ISV ensures that all partner hosts, communities and organizations have demonstrated leadership that is professional, positive, and organized.

Achievable Goals

Achievable Goals Projects have clearly defined short and long-term goals to which the volunteers contribute. Short term goals must be tangible and achievable for ISV groups during each program season, and ISV assesses each host organisations’ long-term management planning to ensure that our contributions will be sustainable and long-lasting.  

Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development ISV Project Managers critically assess a project’s proposed tasks and goals to ensure they align with our mission statement and understanding of sustainable development. Social, environmental and economic values are considered in the decision of whether ISV wishes to support a project partner’s vision for a better planet.

Fun

Fun Projects must be fun despite demanding tasks or challenging conditions. Positive leadership, teamwork and task diversity keep volunteers motivated for the duration of the project. At the end of each project, all ISV volunteers should look back on an experience that was rewarding and FUN!  

 Australia: "All I can say is ISV is absolutely awesome and we couldn't have achieved what we have without you. The amazing ISV participants have made a big difference to our local environment and contributed directly towards healthier habitats for some of our country's most rare and threatened plants and wildlife. There's nothing like having a group of young people who have made the effort to come halfway around the world to work on our little patch alongside local volunteers to give them and the wider community the boost they need and help them realise that we can all make a difference in some form ISV is the ultimate way to see the world, make a difference and from a host organisation perspective helping us achieve meaningful on ground and community environmental outcomes-yay and thanks so much!" - Habitat Recovery Team, Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources


 Thailand: “ISV is one of our most valuable partners and we will not be where we are today without ISV. The generous support and encouragement has allowed Mae Kok Foundation to provide better living conditions of our kids who are less fortunate and already facing many difficulties in life. We’re forever grateful for ISV support and involvement.” Mae Kok Foundation.

New  Zealand: “ISV has made an outstanding contribution to the Native Nature Kaitoki program having planted 27,500 eco-sourced natives on our ancestral lands for the 2015 planting season.  The ISV staff and students have been a pleasure to host and work with.  Through this venture a more personal relationship has evolved with students and staff alike.  They have stayed in our ancestral house, under the shadows of our sacred mountains, shared our traditional stories and consumed water from our sacred streams.  They came as visitors from afar and will leave not only as friends but as our whanau hou (new family) who have played a major role in the revitalization of our natural environment and assisted us to practice our Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) over our natural resources, on our ancestral lands.” - Native Nature Kaitoki

South  Africa: “ISV doesn’t just contribute to our project, without ISV, we simply wouldn’t be able to do any of our work at Masebe.  ISV students make a real difference to conservation in and around Masebe Nature Reserve.  They do this through their financial support as well as hard work and long hours collecting data in the field.  We have always found the ISV volunteers to be passionate while bringing along an abundance of enthusiasm to assist WEI with their Environmental Education programme.” Environmental Management and Education Masebe, WEI

South  Africa: “There is so much more that can be said. Suffice to say that ISV deserve more than a standing ovation for their foresight and their efforts in providing this unique programme which creates employment for ISV staff, provides much needed finance and labour for the Host Organisation and immense learning experiences and adventures for students worldwide. We will be eternally grateful to each and every person who has assisted De Wildt Shingwedzi and remember each person’s uniqueness.” Wildlife Conservation, De Wildt Shingwedzi Cheetah Reserve

Note - We have numerous testimonies from our project partners. If you would like to see more, please contact our office.

 BUILDING CAPACITY:  HOST ORGANIATION WORKSHOPS Over  the years ISV has held numerous workshops at ISV’s expense for our project organisations to help build local capacity for facilitating safe, effective and meaningful volunteer programs. These workshops provide an incredible opportunity for local community groups to come together, discuss and plan how to maximize the volunteer experience of ISV participants. Not only that, the skills learned and shared are transferable to any other volunteer that they may host in addition to ISV teams.

ISV has also provided funding for some of our local Costa Rican partner organisations to enable them to travel internationally and participate in the World Youth and Student Travel Conference, most recently in San Diego.

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