Hosts were extremely pleased with the volunteer support they had received to date. Host and staff alike agreed on a number of qualities that made volunteer assignments successful, including: simple; flexible; patient; professional; interactive; encouraging; participatory; skilled to work with ‘ordinary’ people; open-minded; does not “direct” or “order”; good communicator; good listener; someone who does not bring “old thoughts” or out-dated approaches; and able to respond to the needs on the ground. One host talked about FTF volunteers as people who can “come down to this level”.These excerpts come from our different country programs. Recurring themes are flexibility, value of the repeat volunteer who is already familiar with the local context, value of volunteers who remain in touch with beneficiaries after returning home and helping make linkages to resources or materials, local language skills, and good interpersonal/intercultural skills.
...FTF volunteers are unique in that they “really listen” to the people, and explain to them why they need to make specific changes in their practices; a necessary approach for transferring knowledge in a contextually relevant and sustainable way.
...being specialized in their field of work (i.e. “experts”); able to articulate information in a language that rural farmers can understand (using simple, less technical terms); friendly and open to sharing their skills; flexible (e.g. someone who doesn’t complain about not having air conditioning in his hotel room); culturally sensitive; able to transfer knowledge in a contextually relevant way; previous international experience; and having Spanish language skills [for Spanish speaking countries].
Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers!