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LTV projects

Working as an LTV means more to me than just 'working'. I have the possibility to learn a lot of new things, to see new countries, people and cultures, to live with people from different nationalities, to work together and to help each other. By making this new step in my life, I broaden my mind and learn more about myself.

Joost Witdoeckt, LTV in Switzerland.

Beyond the workcamp

If you have participated in a workcamp, but you are still hungry for more, long-term volunteering (LTV) is worth trying. LTV projects enable sustainable work for peace and tighten the bonds inside of SCI network. On the other hand it is an opportunity for the volunteer to get deeply involved in SCI's work and to make vast contribution to the mission of the organization. Together with workcamps, LTV projects are recognized as essential activity of SCI. In fact, first workcamps in 1920 were kind of long-term committments, as volunteers were staying and working together for many months. So in a way the concept of LTV was born together with the idea of international workcamps in the very begining of SCI's existance.

What is LTV?

LTV stands for Long Term Volunteering project, which is an exchange of volunteers between SCI branches (and/or partner organizations), where volunteer commits to the project for longer than 1 month. It is open to any volunteer without a limit of age or any other. There is wide variety of projects and you can have a taste of it by taking a look at the Vacancies List here.

All the projects are non-profit and do not aim to replace paid labour in the organization.

Who can participate in LTV project?

Although positions are open to people of all sex, age, race, religion and ideology, it is necessary to point out some criteria for the selection of volunteers. It is important to find the “right” volunteer for the “right” project - this is important for both the project AND the volunteer.

These are the recommendations for finding suitable volunteers for projects:

• There is a minimum age of 18 for a volunteer becoming a LTV. Volunteers are expected to have a certain amount of “life experience”, meaning that s/he can look after one’s self, work independently and be able to deal with problems that might occur during the time the volunteer is abroad.
• The applicant should be open-minded towards the project and motivated for the WORK of the project (not only a travelling experience).
• The applicant should know what volunteering is about, preferably by having participated in SCI workcamps.
• Preferably the volunteer should be interested in SCI and wants to be involved in the SCI branch of the hosting country (if one exists).
• SCI leaves it to the project to decide about specific requirements, for example age limitations, language skills or other special skills. This is in contrast to workcamps, where special skills are generally not required.

How to find a project?

To get the list of LTV projects, contact your SCI branch or simply download it here.

How to apply for the project?

If you are interested in applying to the project as a volunteer, contact the SCI branch or partner organization in your country. If there is no such possibility, you can send your application directly to LTEG group.

How much does it cost?

In general, doing long term voluntary work should not cost the LTV more than travel and visa costs between the country of origin and the country where the volunteer works. Project organisers need to be aware that some basic requirements should be provided for volunteers.

Accommodation, food (or money allowing to volunteer to arrange meals) and insurance (in the country of the project) are provided to the volunteer. Sometimes there is a possibility to receive some pocket money as well.

At the moment, there are about 20 branches and partners regularly exchanging LTV’s. Most of the posts are still in Western Europe and USA, but there is a growing interest to develop Long Term Volunteering in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The LTV project in SCI can be roughly divided into two categories:

More than half of the positions are in various kinds of communities and centres. Some of the projects are so-called “living communities” where the volunteer lives and works together with the people of the community. But there are also projects where the work is in a centre or institution, but the volunteer doesn’t share the daily life with the inhabitants and colleagues. The work in communities and centres can be organising activities for physically or mentally disabled children or adults, teaching English for orphans or participating in running the community by doing various tasks from gardening to renovation.

Mainly during the summer time, many LTVs work in SCI offices doing the placements of workcamp volunteers. The work is quite administrative, fairly hectic in the first months of the placement season, but working in a SCI office gives the volunteer a chance to learn a lot about SCI and participate in the activities of the branch. There are also some other office volunteer posts in the SCI and partner organisation offices and Secretariats and in other NGO’s outside the summer season and focusing on other office work.

What is the difference between LTV and EVS projects?

Sometimes European Voluntary Service (EVS) projects are considered to be part of LTV program. Nevertheless, there are some special regulations applied for EVS program.

First of all, EVS program is directed to young people between 18 and 30 years old. Secondly, it applies only for youth living in European countries. The reason for this situation is that Youth in Action program, which EVS is a part of, is financed by European Commission within the YOUTH project. Differently to EVS, LTV projects are open to everybody. Also amount of administrative work around EVS projects is considered to be much higher than in case of LTV programs.

But the visible advantage of EVS is that European Commission covers all the expenses of the volunteer, from travel and visa costs, through accommodation and food expenses to language classes. But the truth is that not all needs of SCI offices can be covered within aims and objectives of Youth in Action Projects.

Mainly for the cause of inclusion and global dimension of SCI projects, EVS is considered as a supportive tool and the number of EVS projects within SCI structure is regulated by spacial recommendations.
More detailed information about EVS projects you will find here