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Volunteering

We kindly ask for your understanding that Malteser International only employs volunteer aid workers in the special circumstances of large emergencies, disasters, and crises of an international scale.

The increasing complexity of humanitarian aid makes great demands on the skills and commitment of our staff. We therefore expect a multitude of qualifications and competences that can only normally be gained from long-term practical experience. In many countries, we cooperate with local organizations and local staff who know the needs and structures on the ground best.

As an employer, Malteser International has a duty of care for its staff, who are often exposed to extreme and high-risk working conditions. We strive to minimise these risks though training and by providing  appropriate equipment and insurance coverage. Target-orientated and professional processes for the selection, preparation, supervision and support of our international and national staff are essential considerations to ensure the quality of our humanitarian aid.

We adhere to the following principles with regard to the role of volunteers in our work:

  • Local people and staff already on the ground are the first responders in any disaster.
  • Only qualified experts with long-term practical experience working in disaster zones and in possession of the necessary qualifications are to be dispatched, and only then in the case of acute emergencies.
  • Supporting the dignity, responsibility, and self-help capabilities of affected people is a primary consideration for humanitarian relief during emergencies.
  • Where they are available, local staff with the necessary qualifications should be employed in relief efforts as far as possible.

Often, offering cash for work programmes – e.g. employing local people to remove debris and ruins after an earthquake – are preferable to employing foreign volunteers, as they give local people an opportunity to earn money to feed their families after disasters and contribute to the broader economic development of the country.

In the particular cases where volunteers are sent to crisis regions following severe emergencies, selection will be undertaken based on the following criteria:

  • There is a large need for aid workers that cannot be met by the available international and local professional staff.
  • The deployment of volunteers does not create excessive travel costs given the circumstances.
  • The employers of the volunteers do not claim costs for loss of pay.
  • The time in which the volunteers are available corresponds to actual demand.
  • The volunteers are in full possession or the required qualifications.
  • The volunteers have a good knowledge of the required foreign language(s) to ensure smooth communication with the international team, local partners and beneficiaries, as well as an appropriate degree of intercultural sensitivity.
  • The volunteers have the required physical and mental ability to work under extreme conditions.

As the worldwide relief service of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid, we receive enquiries from people all over the world seeking to volunteer. Our choice of volunteers will be based above all on the needs of the people affected by a disaster. The nationality of the persons concerned are not amongst the many considerations that this choice entails.

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