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    Assessing international youth service programmes in two low income countries

    Jones, Andrew M. (2005) Assessing international youth service programmes in two low income countries. Voluntary Action: The Journal of the Institute for Volunteering Research 7 (2), pp. 87-100. ISSN 1465-4067.

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    Abstract

    Within the ambiguously defined 'gap year' phenomenon, it has been argued that certain forms of activity are of greater benefit to young people's personal development than others. Of particular interest has been the debate around the value of structured overseas volunteering placements, as offered by a number of leading gap-year provider organisations in the UK and Australia. This article presents research into education placement schemes in two low-income countries - Vietnam and Tanzania - offered by two leading providers. In contrast to previous studies, which have suggested that little positive benefit is derived from this kind of 'volunteer tourism', it argues that young volunteers do derive a range of benefits from the transformative experience these placements offer. The beneficial impacts include the acquisition of 'soft skills' (communication, organisational and interpersonal capabilities) and also the wider learning associated with a cross-cultural experience and immersion in host-country communities.

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