Development volunteering is not about posting the photos for “likes”

Development volunteers often have the tendency to present themselves as ‘white saviors’ to local people in need in low-income countries. Many of these young people mix their volunteering with ‘voluntourism‘ phenomenon in Global South countries. The campaign  created by Radi-Aid (a project of the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund / SAIH fighting stereotypes in aid and development), and by Barbie Savior (an Instagram parody account) offers brand new guidelines to first-time travelers or young Western volunteers eager to capture every moment of their vacation or mission on social media.


The guide is not intended to take the place of more elaborate ethical guidelines of already existed aid organizations’ Code of Conducts or ethical standards. Some non-governmental development institutions might have developed their own set of rules and principles for their field workers and volunteers which is absolutely essential.

The creators of this new guide hope that it will make young volunteers and travelers more aware of what they’re posting on social media. Very important is ten-point checklist including the rule: “Be respectful of different cultures and traditions, avoid sweeping generalizations, challenge perceptions.” Development volunteering is certainly not about posting the photos for “likes”…


Written by: Boba Markovič Baluchová (Media about Development / #MediaAboutDev)

About Media about Development

Writing hope-based stories and reporting about global challenges, international development topics, community development projects (in Slovak, Czech and English language)
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