I helped organize a trip through the GVN and my fiancé was sexually assaulted and her friend was also raped by one of the staff that they were placed with. Her trip was suppose to be 7 weeks. The last 2-3 weeks were not spent in the program, instead spending her own money for medical exams, filing police reports, and finally rescheduling her flights out of her own pocket as well. Of the $2500 paid to GVN, they kindly refunded her $395. What an absolute disgrace and a sick and terrible organization. I'm very supportive of volunteer organizations and whole heartedly believe in the good work that the local program was doing despite what happened. The disappointment lands in the handling of the matter by GVN. Beware. The larger GVN clearly does not care about their volunteers. The local programs that have little to no money did everything they could do to help with the situation. Shame on you GVN.
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Global Volunteer Network
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) offers volunteer service opportunities in community projects around the world. At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organizations in each country. We provide a wealth of experience, resources and dedication to both our volunteers and partners.
GVN were knowledgeable and efficient when we dealt with them. Their communications were timely and helpful. My wife and I were pleased to have used them for our month in the Philippines with the local agency CERV.
Very well organized and reliable. I felt safe and confident going into a situation far from home and in a very different culture.
I signed up to volunteer abroad with GVN to learn how to serve. GVN exists to help support people step out of their comfort zone and follow their dreams of making a very real and positive difference in the lives of others. That is just what GVN did for me. Their transparent nature and helpful support staff empowered me to take the first step in realising my dream to serve others. Both before I set off to Guatemala and now, as I am still here, their support has been both necessary and empowering. Throughout my volunteering experience I have felt that any concerns or queries I voiced to GVN were dealt with professionally, and that GVN wanted nothing more than to support me on my journey to learn how to work for the people they work so tirelessly with. As GVN works with local charities, when placed with one of their projects, it is possible to learn about the culture of the country you are in which is so important as you learn to work in a culturally sensitive way, helping to make any changes or ideas you may have sustainable and comprehensive to the people you are working with in-country. I feel as though GVN understands that the work they do could not continue without volunteers. Volunteers are their front line staff. We are their eyes and ears across the world. As volunteers are of the utmost importance to GVN, they do their best to make your volunteer experience safe, supported and life changing. I was too scared to take the leap into the unknown myself but with the support of GVN I am now in Guatemala, working for a wonderful charity for children through GVN's partner organisation Maximo Nivel and I can say with a smile on my face that I feel as though I am making positive difference to the lives of the children I work with everyday. This journey has changed my life and it has helped me achieve my goal of learning how to serve. Not only have I learned a new language, but I have learned about NGO operations, social change, cultural sensitivity and sustainable development. All these new skills and experiences I will take away and I use in my future as I am motivated to continue to work to make a real and positive difference in the lives of others. If you have been unsure whether or not to sign up with GVN, I hope from reading this you will be encouraged to take the leap into the unknown and have GVN as your safety net! You will not regret it!
The Global Volunteer Network has given me no reason to post any positive feedback regarding their program on this forum.
I would like to state that I was a great volunteer, I worked very hard at making sure my experience was documented and lived to its fullest. It was, but it was all due to the partnering agency, Maximo Nivel and due to my own attitude. I was not going to allow the GVN to make my experience a bad one. Unfortunately for them, this review is going to detail what they did to me, and how they have done nothing to resolve it, how they have not provided me with requested documentation, and showed nearly no appreciation for their volunteers.
I want to be very clear - my volunteer mission was the most rewarding and eye-opening experience I have ever had. I would not take it back for any amount of money. However, I would have used a less expensive and more volunteer friendly organization. Like a previous reviewer said "You know those glowing reviews on the GVN site? Will you see a review from me? No. The organization doesn't want to hear 'bad news'. Give a bad review and you are obviously a disgruntled volunteer."
That is precisely how I feel I was treated. My blogs were not rainbows and butterflies while handing cookies to orphans. I saw criminal child neglect, drug abuse, and abhorred sanitary conditions. So? They censored my blogs. I was a patient volunteer until my questions or concerns went unanswered or avoided. So? I am now a disgruntled volunteer. I want them to know that I'm not disgruntled. My experience was priceless. The GVN had nothing to do with me except collecting my money, and making themselves look good.
My blogs were edited (which they deny, but they cannot get their stories together) for 'foul language.' Well, that's fine. It is a blog and all, so I agreed that if there was language they deemed 'unfit' they could edit it. They deleted one whole entire day of my blog. Whether it was accidental or intentional, THEY DID IT. My blogs were real, emotional, and factual. Many of my friends were following it. I took it down after they called me "culturally superior" and "offensive." Obviously, they don't want anyone investing any time or heart into their experience.
Am I wrong here, or am I volunteering? Did you just insult your volunteer who was not being either of those things, but just writing what they honestly saw? They did. Apparently, the staff was 'followed up with' and that is all I have heard.
I asked for an official monetary breakdown of what my funds went to. I was given this (yes, copied and pasted from the CEO's official e-mail):
**Mark Amero - online fundraiser (Peru)
Total Raised $2,704 (Gross) = 2,599.53 Net
Peru Program Fee
AHI Insurance (35 days)
Flights (Star Peru)
Remaining funds - donation to GVN Charitable Trust
36.31 (tagged to 'greatest need')
You will find a breakdown of your Program Fee in your Peru Program Guide: http://guides.globalvolunteernetwork.org/vloe7dug5/program/program-fee
Program Fee Breakdown
This graph represents a program fee breakdown for 1 month in the Peru volunteer program.**
This is not a proper breakdown of financials.
Maximo Nivel, my contracted volunteer placement provided me with a financial breakdown, and it doesn't add up. There is quite a bit of money that doesn't fit into the pie chart.
I want an official response from the GVN on company letterhead stating what fees I fund-raised, what they paid their contracted agency Maximo Nivel, and where the rest of my funds were placed.
I know that there will be a quick response from the GVN because that is their typical behavior when anything negative reaches these forums.
It's too bad that I had to take this approach to get answers from them.
My advice, go through IVHQ. They are less expensive, more volunteer friendly, and transparent.
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