Joining the Code

Joining the Code of Good Practice

The Code of Good Practice is open to all not-for profit Volunteer Sending Agencies which are legally registered in Ireland or Northern Ireland and have been actively sending volunteers abroad for over a year. The organisation must have a clear development aim and impact; and work to integrate development education within their volunteer programme. The agency must also be committed to child-safe volunteering including Garda/PSNI vetting of all volunteers. 

Above all the organisation must show a real and meaningful commitment to integrate the Code’s values and principles within their volunteer programme by actively working towards implementing the standards, by participating as a member of the Code of Good Practice Network and by exchanging learning and expertise. Code Volunteer Sending Agencies are also encouraged to avail of training and other supports and are required to undergo annual self-auditing and regular external auditing processes in order to assess their progression.

The Benefits of Joining

The benefits of joining the Code of Good Practice as a Volunteer Sending Agency are multiple and include: 

Clear demonstration of commitment to good practice standards

Greater credibility and legitimacy with potential volunteers, funders and the public

More effective international volunteer programmes which work to develop a critical understanding of global issues and support volunteer engagement

More sustainable partnerships with local partners enabling greater positive outcomes

Increased organisational learning and capacity

Irish Aid require that volunteer sending agencies applying for funding under the Civil Society Fund be part of the Code of Good Practice.

Criteria for joining the Code of Good Practice:

  • Are not for-profit;

  • Are legally registered as either a company or charity in Ireland or Northern Ireland for over a year;

  • Have an international volunteer programme in place, have been actively sending international volunteers for a year and continue to do so;

  • Have a development focus in their aims and impact of their programmes;

  • Have Development Education as an integral part of their work;

  • Are committed to child-safe volunteering including:

    • Garda/PSNI vetting of all volunteers;
    • Are not intending to start sending volunteers to work in orphanages;
    • If already working with orphanages, are committed to transitioning away from sending volunteers and to support de-institutionalisation in a responsible and sustainable manner that is in the best interests of each child.
  • Show a real and meaningful commitment to integrating the values and principles within their volunteer programmes and actively work towards attaining intermediate compliance within 3 years following the first external audit; and the advanced compliance standard within 3 years after that;

  • Have an international volunteer programme in place, have been actively sending international volunteers for a year and continue to do so;

  • Show the above commitment through:

    • Including visible links to Comhlámh’s logo and the specific Code award icon and descriptor on their website and organisational documentation; and visible links to Comhlámh’s website;
    • Engaging meaningfully with the self-audit and external audit processes, including developing agreed action plans following each external audit;
    • Attending both biannual Peer Support Meetings and stay for the duration of meetings;
    • Participation in trainings, issue based meetings and Code working groups; and availing of outreach and other supports;
    • Complete a Volunteer Sending Agency Information Form annually to inform Comhlámh analysis on international volunteering from Ireland.

The following steps are required: 

  • Meet with Comhlámh staff to discuss information about their organisation’s volunteer programme and to identify if the Volunteer Sending Agency meets the minimum criteria for joining the Code of Good Practice;

  • If the organisation is deemed to meet the minimum criteria, complete and submit a Code of Good Practice application form attaching proof of registration as a company or charity;

  • Complete a first Code self-audit providing commentary and evidence of the Volunteer Sending Agency’s practice against the values, principles and indicators of the Code;

  • Submit organisation’s contact details and logo to Comhlámh for uploading to Code of Good Practice website and include visible links on the Volunteer Sending Agency website to Comhlámh’s logo and Code award icon and descriptor.

Code Award Icons

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Guaranteed ROI

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Always Online

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All Code volunteer sending agencies are on a journey of continuous improvement in implementing the Code standards. Progression is awarded by a Code icon which reflects an organisation’s growth and stage along this journey

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