Volunteering Abroad


The definition of  a 'volunteer' working overseas in development or mission can be very muddy; A'volunteer' could be someone who;

  • works for an organisation without a salary or payment of any kind and the volunteer finances recruitment, preparation, travel, insurance, support, accommodation and food  all from their own pocket. Mission placements are often like this. Of course, a local church or relatives may help the volunteer with these costs.

  • is recruited by a UK volunteer sending agency where some of these costs are met by the supporters of the agency or by grants to the agency.  There may be an expectation of a financial contribution but this may be  no more than a token contribution to some of the costs of any placement.Some volunteer sending NGOs are like this.

  • works for an UK agency or international placement provider and is provided with a sufficient allowance or local salary to meet all local costs and even maybe an air ticket for international travel to the placement. The 'volunteer' would still consider themselves a volunteer if the volunteer felt that they were 'sacrficing' a good salary back in the UK in order to help the placement with the skills or experience that the volunteer offers.VSO, for example, is like this.


Aims and Objects
Christians Abroad is a faith based organisation and we make no bones about that.  We do not require anyone who wishes to be a Christians Abroad volunteer to be a Christian or a person of faith but we do require the volunteer to be willing to work  in a placement overseas which is managed by a Christian trust or a local Christian church or agency. There will be some placements where being a Christian helps or is necessary but generally our placement providers know that we do not normally recruit on that basis.  Your counsellor can advise you and help you with  your choice of placement. Our purpose is to encourage and support the Christian community overseas in its care for its community. We know that it will be a life changing opportunity no matter how experienced you are and that is exciting. We hope to encourage and support you so that you can make the best use of the experience. Although we will do everything we can to assist you and support you and ensure that the placement is appropriate and enables you to make the kind of contribution that you would like to make, we cannot guarantee anything as we are not the providers of the placement. Managing risk and negotiating difficuties as they arise is part of the preparation that you will receive and to a degree is part of the experience. 

Christians Abroad is a support agency. We provide information on short term projects overseas that we have verified by application form and personal reference.We provide support to a volunteer at all stages of application, placement and return to encourage the best use of the experience.

Among those finding the experience life changing and thoroughly worthwhile in the last eighteen months were Emily in Sri Lanka;  Mandy in Tanzania;  Hazel in India, Rachel  and Glynn  in Ghana, Ann in Zambia and Simon, Sarah. Jordan, Jeanette and Fanny in Kenya; these volunteers were at all stages; students, mid career, early retired, long retired. 

Click on any of the windows in the Opportunity Matrix on the home page (front page) to explore volunteer possibilities. All the information about how to apply is in the right hand coloumn next to this text. 


Associate Volunteers
Some travellers and mission partners like to tread the middle ground. Associate Volunteers are those experienced travellers who approach Christians Abroad to make arrangements for them to work in a project but do not want to have the preparation, support and debriefing package.  We are prepared to accept such experienced travellers as associates and help them make the arrangements that they need to make through us. This usually also includes insurance provision as well as placement. Once the arrangements are made, these associate volunteers are  on their own but know that they can come to us for advice if problems arise.It is understood that Christians Abroad would not have the same responsibilty as the organisation would feel for its own volunteers. For further information contact David at recruit@cabroad.org.uk

Associate Mission Partners
Similarly some Mission Partners have independent arrangements through church connections and do not have the support of a mission agency. There may be good reasons why agency connections have not been part of the picture. There could be historical reasons. Maybe it is because the church wishes to feel a more immediate link to an overseas project and for that relationship not to  be mediated through an agency. It maybe also that the mission partner needs more freedom to act experimentally in his or her placement and finds relationships with a mission agency confining..For further information contact Colin at support@cabroad.org.uk

For more information about Associate status click on the CHRISTIANS ABROAD ASSOCIATES title above.