“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”
– Saint Augustine
This is a guide for the parents and next of kin (NOK) of all SKIP volunteers, or anyone who is interested in learning more about SKIP. It has been written to answer some of the questions that family members and friends often have, when a student becomes a SKIP volunteer and ventures out to project. As each branch runs projects in different countries, this guide does not give branch specific information, but more a general overview of what being a SKIP volunteer means.
Often, a SKIP project is a volunteer’s first experience of travelling abroad without family and working in a developing country. It can be a culture shock and we hope that this guide will help reassure and prepare the volunteer and their family.
SKIP is student run charity which supports child welfare in communities throughout the developing world whilst developing empowered, internationally aware and empathetic professions of the future. We have 9 fully formed branches at universities throughout the country; these include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, HYMS, St Barts, St Georges, UCL, Cardiff and Southampton. We also have a 3 new branches; Belfast, Lancaster and Sheffield.
Each branch has an elected committee of students who are responsible for running the project in their chosen country. It is these students, who set up the SKIP branch, decide on the country, run the research project and launch the full project. From start, to finish, SKIP is student led.
SKIP branches work with Non Government Organisations (NGOs) in each country. Following the initial research trips, a needs assessment will be carried out in the community and interventions can be developed from this. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the interventions ensures that the project continues to have a positive and sustainable impact on the community. Details of branch specific NGOs partners can be found under the branch section of the website.
The branches are overseen by the National Committee, a group of students/new graduates who have experience of branch committees. The Trustees are a small group of 8 people who have oversee the long term direction and development of the charity. SKIP is entirely volunteer-led, so everyone gives up their time and energy for free. This helps reduce our running costs and means more fundraised money can go directly to projects.
Benefits of volunteering on a SKIP Project
- Volunteering can be a life changing experience for young people
- Developing confidence and independence while gaining a better understanding of the world
- Opportunities to get involved in pre-project planning, research on project and evaluation of project when back home – gaining numerous skills in the process
- Encouraged to join university committee to develop the project
- Brilliant experience for CV/future career developments
- Travelling with a group of friends
- Amazing projects in incredible countries
How to become a fully fledged SKIP volunteer?
Each branch has their own application process, where students from the university can apply to be volunteers. This may include application forms and interviews. Branches can also accept volunteers from different universities through our external volunteer scheme (EVS). These students go through the same recruitment pathway and training as branch volunteers.
Once through the initial selection phase, the 2nd selection phase will commence. The 2nd selection phase is coordinated at national level, unlike the initial selection phase which is coordinated at a branch level. In this phase, we will require registration with SKIP and the completion of certain forms before the place on project can be confirmed. These forms include an up to date DBS/PVG check (previously known as CRB), a health declaration form (includes information on illnesses, allergies etc) and NOK contact details.
Once we have received all the information, the place on project will be confirmed and travel arrangements can be made.
For further resources and information on volunteering click HERE
Pre-project check-list for volunteers
Ensure the volunteer has:
- Visited a travel clinic – to ensure vaccines are up to date and malaria prophylaxis is purchased (if required)
- Check the FCA website to monitor any security updates (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) or our travel advice updates
- Obtain a visa (if necessary)
- Order foreign currency
- Purchase personal travel insurance
- Alert the bank of travel plans – allows usage of cards in the destination country
- Photocopy everything (several times) – this includes passports, visas, travel insurance…
- Start packing….
How we support the volunteer
- SOS system during project time
- Contingency Fund
- Insurance policies
- Organised branch debriefs post project
- Experienced National Committee and Trustees
- Provide thorough training at branch and national events
A PDF of this information is available HERE