What’s the trouble with voluntourism?

Every time I give a talk about our work in Pemba the question comes up.

What do I think about voluntourism?

It's a hard question. I know that I've received more than I've given from the Pembans we work with. We at CFI learned all we know about community building from our partners abroad. When I first went to Pemba I didn't really believe in development, didn't think it was my place as a foreigner to work for another community. Since then my thinking has changed but the question still remains. What are the pros and cons of voluntourism? Does it help or hinder?

If the model is broken can we fix it?

Please share your experiences working and volunteering abroad. Each year thousands of individuals travel the world looking to make a difference. We at CFI never like to criticize unless we have a positive alternative - so what do you think? What's wrong with voluntourism and what can we do about it?


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