FAQs

ABOUT US

  • When were you founded?
    • We started placing volunteers in September 2003.
  • How many volunteers do you send abroad each year?
    • 120-150.
  • How does 2Way Development differ from other agencies?
    • 2Way Development does not run its own programmes - we link our volunteers to existing development organisations that would make the best use of their skills. 2Way Development receives no government funding, which means the cost of organising placements is entirely funded by the volunteer - with no precious government aid budgets being eaten up. This means we're flexible over location, start date, the length of each placement, and particularly the skills and experiences volunteers need.
  • What’s the difference between 2Way Development and Gap Year agencies?
    • Our volunteers work on capacity building activities vs. service delivery roles, such as teaching and building, which does not have as much value for communities or volunteers long term. We are one of the only private agencies organising skilled, individual placements rather than generic off the shelf experiences – we provide a match of our volunteer’s objectives to the needs of our partner charities overseas.
  • How does it work?
    • We are connected with over 150 partner charities in 5 regions worldwide – all local development organisations. We recommend 3 partners or placements to our volunteers, drawn from our database of partners, based on a volunteer’s skills and objectives.
  • Are you a non-profit?
    • We are a UK registered company and a recognised social enterprise. We operate on a not for profit basis.

SERVICE

  • Who are Regional Placement Managers?
    • Regional Placement Managers are previous volunteers now employed by 2Way Development that are based full time in one of our 5 region areas. Their role is to assess new partner organisations, keep in close contact with existing partners, and support our volunteers - from organising a role outline to supporting our volunteers socially overseas.
  • What support do you offer overseas?
    • We have a great support network for our volunteers overseas through our Regional Placement Managers who monitor placements on a regular basis intervening wherever necessary with advice. We keep all our volunteer’s insurance and essential information on file so we can assist in an emergency where possible.
  • Do you give careers advice at the end of a placement?
    • Our volunteers receive a CV re-write, personal careers advice, a careers and job hunting guide, free access to our careers conferences and access to our mailing list which includes job posts and sector information.
  • Do you need to meet me face to face?
    • Our service is mostly delivered online so you do not need to meet us - we work with lots of non-UK based volunteers.

PARTNERS 

  • Who are your partners?
    • Our partners are mainly local charities, nationally run and vary in size from start-ups to international charities.
  • How do you choose your partners?
    • All our partners undergo a comprehensive vetting process. Our staff have a unique knowledge of the sector, and have close links to organisations that would be otherwise inaccessible to volunteers. We look for exceptional charities working in development.
  • What size are your partners?
    • We work with a balance of small organisations local/national in focus and also large international networks.

FEES & BUDGET

  • How much do you charge?
    • £850 flat rate administration fee - no matter the length of a placement or location. We charge a set fee for our time and expertise. £850 covers all our work before during and after a placement. This is not a package fee – we ask our volunteers to organise flights and living costs.
  • Why should I pay?
    • We have a fee that covers our costs – we are not a charity or government funded.
  • Where does the money go?
    • All fees go on administration, as this is our only source of income. Our partners do not pay to receive volunteers, allowing you access to a variety of otherwise neglected charitable groups. 2Way receives no government funding so we don't eat up precious government aid budgets.
  • When do I pay?
    • A £350 deposit is required to begin our service. The remainder of the fee is due once you have selected your placement choice, and reviewed detailed placement information.
  • Are flights included in the fee?
    • No.
  • Can I fundraise?
    • You will receive a fundraising pack from 2Way Development to assist you in generating your own money to help you cover the costs of your placement.
  • Can you give me a rough budget for the total cost of a placement?
    • You can work out a more exact budget once you know where you are going, and by using our country fact sheets, but here are some general costs associated to placements, to help guide you:
      1. Our fee £850
      2. Flights variable depending on location
      3. Accommodation is sometimes provided free of charge but in cases where it isn’t you should budget between £50 and £200 a month depending on whether you are in a rural or urban area, excluding food and utilities
      4. Cost of living also varies by country and your own personal choice, but as a rough guide most of the countries we work in, apart from big urban centres and more developed countries £150-200 a month should be about right in covering your personal living expenses including daily travel, food and entertainment
      5. Vaccines are variable in price but you should budget £100 roughly if you haven’t travelled extensively before
      6. Insurance is roughly £20 each month you are overseas
      7. Visas also vary but generally £50-100 will cover any consular fees
  • Do you give refunds?
    • If your options do not match your placement criteria, you will receive a full refund of your deposit. This is very rare as we only invite volunteers to pay their initial deposit when we are sure we can provide them with 3 options that match their criteria.

OPTIONS

  • How many placements will I have to choose from?
    • You will be presented with 3 options that match your criteria.
  • Why 3 options?
    • In this case, less is definitely more! We use our expertise to screen our database of partners, to make sure that options are the best match of a volunteer’s skills and criteria – which includes long-term career goals. Often volunteers can make their choices within days of receiving their options.
  • When will I be given my placement options?
    • We present you with 3 placement options within 2 weeks of paying your deposit. Information is delivered via your online profile. At this stage you will receive information about the charities and the work you will be doing, as well as practical information about location, accommodation options and costs.
  • What if I don't like any of the placements you've offered me?
    • We only offer placements that are suitable to your preferences and criteria. We will generally not go beyond 6 placement options unless you can clearly demonstrate why each choice has not fulfilled our original agreement. It is extremely rare that volunteers don't easily select a placement choice from their options. There may sometimes be merit in providing you with 2-3 more options. For instance if you realise you would prefer to be based in an urban vs. rural area, or if an area of work you hadn’t thought about before suddenly appeals to you. We ask you to provide feedback to us in writing demonstrating why your initial options are not suitable before providing additional options to you.

PLACEMENTS

  • Where do you send volunteers?
    • We have partnerships with over 150 development organisations in 5 regions of the world – Africa, South and South East Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
  • Do you set up your own projects?
    • No, we provide a link to already established grassroots organisations that we have partnerships with. We believe this is a far better way to match the skills and ambitions of our volunteers to the needs of a community. 
  • Will I be based with other volunteers?
    • We rarely place more than 1 volunteer within a partner charity at a time so that volunteers get the support they need from their host. However we do have about 15 partners in every country we work in, and if you are happy to be based in a town or city, you will be able to socialise with, and possibly share accommodation with other volunteers.
  • Will I work full time?
    • Our placements are skilled and professional experiences, and volunteers work full time and gain a variety of skills and field experiences in the process. Part time work can be negotiated in certain cases.
  • Do I need to speak a language?
    • As a rule if you don’t speak almost fluent Spanish (Level 4/60% fluency) we will not be able to place you in Latin America. Even though all the other countries we work in work in English, we strongly encourage you to invest time to learn a local language (conversational skills mainly).
  • Do you place volunteers to work in relief or emergency situations?
    • It’s rare we place our volunteers in an emergency situation – we leave that to the relief workers and humanitarian organisations. Volunteers can work in associated fields of development or disaster preparedness. 
  • Are the countries on your list the only countries you work in?
    • Generally speaking yes although across the 5 regions we work in we do have additional countries as we are expanding our partner network all the time. The 12 countries mentioned in this site are core countries where we have staff and a high number of partners and where we can guarantee options.

PRACTICAL 

  • What if I get sick while abroad?
    • We will be able to advise you on local medical facilities. We also strongly recommend you take out adequate travel insurance before you leave, as well as all necessary injections and medication for your trip. You will receive practical guidance from us in our manuals for volunteers. We give you literature on health and safety overseas including a Lonely Planet guide on Travel Safety and the FCOs overseas support pack. 
  • What if there is a political emergency?
    • We only send volunteers to destinations that the foreign office deems as safe. However in the event of unforeseen difficulties, our partner charities, a volunteer’s insurance company, 2Way Development’s Placement Managers and the relevant High Commission or Embassy can help volunteers in a range of scenarios. We are partners of the foreign office and receive regular notifications if security warnings change to any of our country locations. Generally speaking we wouldn’t place people into high-risk security zones. 
  • Who organises my accommodation?
    • Accommodation is something that we ask our volunteers and partners to take responsibility for - although we gather appropriate options and give guidelines on certain minimum standards that should be met. Sometimes accommodation and/or food will be provided free of charge by an organisation and will be arranged in advance. Our Placement Managers give advice to volunteers on how to organise accommodation, depending on location.
    • Common types of accommodation:
      1. Home stay – with a family. This doesn’t suit everyone but is a good way to learn a new language and really integrate into a culture and community.
      2. Guesthouse – guesthouses can sometimes be cheap enough for a 3-6 month placement and can be convenient and sociable.
      3. At the office – some organisations have their own self-contained accommodation you can stay in free of charge.
      4. Your own flat – if you prefer the independence of having your own home. Think about the implications of cost with rent, utilities and even new furniture, and the commitment you may have to make. This is a good option for a longer-term placement.
      5. Sharing – you can share with other volunteers or expats. A relatively cheap and sociable option, and a good balance of having independence and the support of others.
      6. Living with colleagues – some organisations may invite you to stay with staff and their family.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Do I have the skills to volunteer?
    • We work with people from the age of 21, right up to people taking career breaks after 20 years experience or more. Our service is about helping people use volunteering to make important changes in their career - either by gaining work experience in the field, or by transferring skills from the commercial to the charity sector. As long as you are over 21 and have at least 3 months to volunteer please contact us. We work with individuals from all sorts of backgrounds and have a range of placement opportunities that match different skill levels. We can work with graduates with limited work experience as well as more experienced professionals planning to take a career break or make a career change.
  • Do you have a minimum age?
    • Yes, we only accept applicants fro volunteers aged 21 or over, unless in exceptional cases. We don't have a maximum age.
  • Do you work with non-UK based volunteers?
    • Yes.
  • What percentage of your volunteers are UK based?
    • Our volunteers are mostly from the UK (80%) but we work with volunteers from Australia, USA, Canada and Western Europe.
  • What’s the average age of your volunteers?
    • The average age of our volunteers is 28 – but service suits any age above 21.
  • Am I too old?
    • The service is fantastic for people taking a career break, wanting to transfer their skills into a different sector. The average age of our volunteers is 28 although we work with people from age 21 to age 65.
  • Can I volunteer with my partner/friend?
    • Yes, we work with couples and groups of 2 people. The only difference with a couple is that we make sure your 3 options are in the same locality so you can live together. We often need more planning time for couples – we recommend allowing 6 months planning time as a minimum.

DATES & DURATION 

  • How long do placements last?
    • We like our volunteers to commit 3 months to a placement as a minimum. Beyond this the timeframes for a placement depend on a volunteer.
  • Can I shorten or extend my placement?
    • The duration of your placement is flexible, and it is not necessary to choose a definite end date right from the start of your application. When we work on your role outline we need to have an indication of your timeframes, to develop a set of activities appropriate for the duration of your placement. But during your placement you can decide whether you want to extend or shorten your stay.
  • When do your placements start?
    • With 2Way Development you are not choosing an off-the-shelf placement, so there are no fixed start dates. We will provide you with placement options based on your preferred start date.
  • When do you need a definite start date?
    • We like to know your start dates to the nearest 2-3 months in order to start the service going. You don’t have to commit to specific start dates until you have made your placement choices.
  • Can I change my start date?
    • Generally if you want to change your start date, even after your role outline is arranged, this can be done with little trouble.
  • How far in advance should I start planning a placement?
    • We recommend you get in touch with us 3-6 months before you want to start a placement – but the more time you have the better.
  • Is 1 year too far in the future to start planning a placement?
    • We work ahead of time with lots of people. There is a balance – if you know this is what you want to do you can never have too much time to plan. What we can do straight away is go through the options process, narrow down your choices and get everything in place so that you can start organising the practical side of your placement. What we can’t do is finalise your job description so far in advance as we have to make sure it is up to date. You will know exactly where you are going and have guidelines for your role straight away but we will update your role outline 3-6 months before your start date.