Frequently asked questions
How does IVO select and train volunteers?
Candidates complete an application form. Telephonic interviews are conducted to shortlist candidates for assessment day in New Delhi. We also speak to non-volunteering partners if they want to come along to the placement country.
Shortlisted candidates attend a one-day assessment day with IVO. Candidates must follow up with their referees to submit the reference forms to IVO before the assessment days. Confirmation of selection hinges on medical clearance. IVO’s medical adviser in New Delhi is responsible for conducting a thorough physical examination. Police clearance is also required for volunteer placements with children, the disabled, and other vulnerable groups.
Once volunteers have accepted a placement, we sit down and review what their learning needs are and how best they can prepare to take up the post overseas.
The whole process from application to departure takes about 4-6 months.
Are there any special requirements in order to qualify?
First and foremost, applicants must possess a valid passport with at least three years validity. Applicants must have an excellent command of the English language. The assessment days and training courses are all conducted in English, and you must be very confident that you can comprehend and participate well in activities where several people may be speaking simultaneously. Unless you have a high degree of English language skills, you may end up feeling frustrated and disappointed, and this will surely affect your performance and our decision on your selection.
How do I prepare for assessment day?
It is important that you think through what volunteering means to you. It may help to talk to people who have lived or worked overseas in another developing country, but you should also recognise that each person’s experience may be different. Think about how you would cope with the situations they describe, or times when you had to cope with similar situations in the past, and how their accounts affect your intention to volunteer.
As preparation for the assessment day, you are expected to have got in touch with the serving/returned volunteers. Please note that on the assessment day we will be talking about whom you contacted and what was discussed. Serving/Returned volunteer contact details. [link]
It is also important that you share the same goals as we do. For more information see About us.
Can married couples apply to volunteer?
Yes, married couples are welcome to apply.
Where will I be posted, can I choose where I will be sent?
At this stage, we cannot say where you will be posted. Like other volunteers recruited from all over the world, IVO volunteers will be offered placements in Asia (except India) and Africa - it really depends on where there is a request for someone with your background and qualifications. We expect volunteers to go where they are most needed, where there is a demand for their skills and not necessarily where they want to go. Please note that we will not be able to entertain request of going to particular country or region unless we believe that volunteer has a very good rationale.
How do I find out what the job will be like?
Once you have been selected as a volunteer, we will show you a placement description that sets out
details about the local organisation including:
- its staff
- its programmes and resources
- its needs
We'll also tell you what are the volunteer’s responsibilities, what you are expected to accomplish over the next two years, and the professional qualifications as well as personal qualities needed to perform the job.
Other information provided includes a description of the town or village where you'll be based the local VSO programme, advice from other volunteers in the country and more.
How soon will I be posted overseas? How do I know when I should resign from my current job?
Being selected does not automatically assure you have placement overseas. This doesn’t happen very often, but it’s good for you to be aware of all possibilities. Please don’t hand in your resignation unless we advise you to do so.
Who takes care of arranging a work permit or visa?
We do. We liaise with the VSO programme offices overseas and apply for a visa or work permit with the relevant authorities. We will let you know what documents or certificates you will need to provide so that we can process the papers. Volunteers are responsible for obtaining their own passports and for the costs associated with that.
How much is the volunteer allowance, what other benefits are provided by the IVO?
The allowance really depends on where the volunteer is posted. The monthly volunteer allowance is set against the cost of living in each country, which varies greatly. Whatever the amount, it is sufficient to allow you to:
- have a healthy diet
- dress appropriately
- live comfortably in a modest way.
The monthly allowance is often comparable to what your local colleagues are receiving; in many cases, it is more than the salary of your colleagues who may have to take a second job to augment their income. However, you cannot expect to save enough to send home on a regular basis. If you have any outstanding debts or if you are supporting dependents at home, we urge you to re-assess your application, because the allowance may not meet your requirements.
The IVO volunteer support package includes:
- a pre-departure grant of that you can use to purchase things you need that are not available in your country of assignment
- the full cost of travel to your destination overseas and the airfare to go home at the end of the two years
- language and in-country orientation training
- medical insurance overseas.
For more information see our volunteer support section.
End-of-service grant to help you re-settle back into India. If you resigned from your previous job, this grant will help to tide you over until you find a new one.
Where will I live?
This varies on placements and countries. We normally ask the local organisation to provide the accommodation. It could be a house of your own, or you may have to share with a local colleague. Not all houses will have electricity if there’s none in the entire village! But we always try to ensure that there’s a source of water nearby and provide a water filter. We also provide a small fund to enable volunteers to purchase basic household supplies.
Can I extend beyond two years?
Wow, you really sound enthusiastic! Yes, many volunteers extend beyond the standard two years. However, the request for an extension is initiated by the local organisation that will determine whether they need the volunteer to stay on in order to complete the job or to extend its benefits and impact. The VSO programme office will assess the situation, and a decision is reached by consulting all parties involved, including the IVO office in New Delhi.
If you enjoyed the volunteering experience so much, we could examine other options such as taking another volunteer placement in the same country or elsewhere. If you require further information, please write to email@example.com or contact us at:
D-134, 1st Floor
East of Kailash
New Delhi, 110-065, India
Phone +91 11-26217460.