Friday, November 02, 2007

Who is wearing a white hat

I have been meeting with a few different people at NGO's here and there is one thing that they all agree on: most NGO's here are scams to enrich the people who founded them. I feel like I can not trust anyone. Bad people do not care, good people are offended because you do not trust them. Such a shame.


Kate M. said...

Steve & Sandy,

I am an RN in California and I have been lurking for some time at your blog. I have been enjoying seeing a part of the world through your eyes! I envy your courage and adventurous spirits!

I have been wondering about just this sort of thing. How do you know when choosing an NGO to volunteer with that it is one that is committed to serving the community more than their own interests?

I'd love to hear more about Sandy's experiences teaching at the school. Also, I have been reading much about global slavery lately, and I wonder what your experiences have been with that in your travels?

Kudos to you both for what you do--and what you try to do as well :o)

Kate M

steve said...

My own personal lurker...I am quite pleased!

Choosing an NGO is really difficult as I have noted. The one that we came here to volunteer with was recommneded to us by a friend who has been involved with them for years. I think the NGO is basically doing good work, but I can not say I am certain that I trust even them completly.

We had volunteered in Thailand with an organization we found through the JET program which is the program we were working with in Japan. The organization was excellent. We volunteered in Cambodia for a couple of months a couple of years ago and found the organization on the internet. We wrote back and fourth for months before I felt comfortable. It turned out they were excellent also. We spent a year volunteering in Ecuador with WorldTeach, an NGO based at Harvard. They were quite good.

Ideally, I think that finding an organization through people you know is the best way. If you can't do this, look at the fees they want to charge. It is not unusual to charge short term volunteers money since they take a lot of energy to manage and, because the length of their stay, can not accomplish a lot. If the fees seem high, there may be a problem. I also try to look at organizations they are working with to see if they are legit.

That said, it is still a crap shoot. As the next blog entry shows, I have decided to leave TOIT.