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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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5. Project Planning

5. Project Planning

It often takes up to two years to organise a project. Difficulty is encountered in communicating with overseas partners and there may be problems related to organisation and management. This can be frustrating, but requires sensitive diplomacy with hosts. It is not realistic to expect all detailed plans to be cut and dried before departure as if you were planning an event in the United Kingdom. Cultural differences and misunderstandings are common and must be allowed for. Flexibility is very important and you need to expect the unexpected!

For these reasons it is usually considered vital to have a coordinator who knows the people and the job in hand and who is available on the ground throughout the term of the project. The availability of advice and assistance from somebody who has lived and worked in the area before is also of importance in the planning stage. This might be a leader of a previous expedition or a development worker.

A reconnaissance visit is almost always necessary, as it is not really possible to assess fully how preparations are advancing without meeting the people and having an opportunity to evaluate practical problems and resources on the ground.

A small advance party, to arrive a few days ahead of the main group, may be a useful way to ensure that essential arrangements are made.

Some expeditions have a firm selection procedure for those who will take part. Others have favoured a form of self-selection or involved a whole Unit.

Each of these methods has worked well with different groups, but the Leader will wish to ensure that participants are capable of working well together in difficult circumstances and have the basic health requirements.

Given the educational aims of Scout projects, it's important to raise awareness of the party before they go on an expedition. They can be encouraged to discover more about major factors which cause developing countries to suffer poverty in addition to learning about the area they are visiting. Here is an opportunity for members to examine their own attitudes to other people and cultures.

In many cases, particular technical or practical skills will be required. Other skills will be needed within the group such as report writing, photography, and catering. Training exercises should also aim to build team skills if the group is to function well in sometimes difficult circumstances.

In view of the isolated locations of many development projects emphasis should be placed on first aid and medical training. A Wilderness First Aid Certificate should be considered.

It’s important to use an expedition to inform others about life in the developing world and to stimulate involvement. These projects have achieved much coverage in local and regional media. It may also be possible to consider a "join in" programme or information pack to encourage local Scouts and other community groups to support your project and learn more about the issue involved.

A certain level of personal financial contribution is usually set, often equating to the air fare involved. Participants should be committed to raising the additional funds required by the group. Support has often been given by aid page 9 of 17 agencies, local community groups and companies. Policy, Organisation and Rules should be consulted regarding fund raising, particularly in relation to appeals for funds which require County/Area or Headquarters approval. Appeals may only be conducted within the District/ County boundary with the approval of the appropriate Commissioner.

Approaches to individual companies within the expedition participants' catchment area should be mounted and tied in to the local publicity.

Approaches to bodies such as Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Round Table or the Soroptimists may be beneficial as community work and work with young people are areas they frequently support. They may also grant bursaries to individuals who have difficulty in meeting individual contributions. Approaches to individual companies can be made both for possible financial support or support in kind. If the expedition is undertaking practical work it may be possible for materials to be supplied or possibly sponsored, e.g. a building company sponsoring the purchase of locally manufactured bricks or prepared timber.

It would be in order to approach National Companies that have their headquarters in the particular catchment area but care should be taken that this does not cut across support already being given by that company in the United Kingdom or possibly prejudice approaches to the overseas element of the company in the project country.

Assistance with specific fund raising problems can be obtained from the Director of Finance at Gilwell Park.

Please make sure you contact the International Office at an early stage of your planning.