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terms of VOLUNTEERING
1.0 The Volunteers’ Policy
2.0 Who is a Volunteer?
A Volunteer is a person either from Uganda or abroad; who willingly decides to offer free services to SMILE MISSION and or SMILE MISSION partner organisations, and does not expect any payment for the services offered. At SMILE MISSION, we welcome volunteers who are willing to appreciate our policies and offer their best.
3.0 Employment and Likely Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering with SMILE MISSION is not employment with the organization, and does not entitle one to any benefits of SMILE MISSION permanent or salaried staff. However there are some indirect and direct benefits such as getting experience, having an opportunity to serve humanity in a developing world, learning Ugandan culture, interacting with different professions, exploring employment opportunities and sowing a seed.
The main purpose for most people in the past has involved giving back, giving time, skills, knowledge, experience, energy, caring, etc. Whatever you can bring to your volunteer experience will stay behind long after you leave. But there is also a lot to gain. You can widen your perspective and see how the developing world lives. You can stretch yourself, explore your identity, share your passions, challenge your beliefs and positively change lives of others. You can learn another language, get to know a different culture, and gain insights on the local ways. You get the unique opportunity to hang out with the locals, and your co-volunteers might well turn into lifelong friends. Your experience as a learner, a teacher, a worker, a giver, and a friend will stay with you too, after you depart.
4.0 Selection and Recruitment
The criteria for identifying a need for a volunteer are based on the following:
4.1 If there is willingness and ability to support SMILE MISSION humanitarian mission through volunteerism.
4.2 If there is need for specialized skill or additional activity to support on-going work. Prospective volunteers either apply or are contacted. The volunteer state the reasons for wanting to volunteer with SMILE MISSION. Selection is made on the basis of the volunteer’s choice of what to offer/project and its relevance to SMILE MISSION. The volunteer’s qualification, skills and experience are all considered. The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is requested and potential volunteers are interviewed or talked to.
4.3 The number of volunteers per project depends on SMILE MISSION’s needs and that of partner organisations, office space, and capacity to cater for the volunteers. The volunteer’s placement can in no way jeopardize or interrupt the already planned on-going activity.
SMILE MISSION Directors approve volunteers enrolled on the project and formally accept the volunteers in writing. Relatives (spouses, children, parents, sisters/brothers, in-laws) of staff already employed with SMILE MISSION are not eligible to work as volunteers unless specific exception is given by the Directors.
5.0 Costs of International Volunteers
International volunteers meet their own costs and liabilities to come to Uganda and no international travel expenses are reimbursed. Volunteers can come to Uganda through SMILE MISSION partners or by contacting SMILE MISSION directly. In that case, the partner or SMILE MISSION management works out the necessary modalities of hosting volunteers in Uganda.
6.0 Volunteering with SMILE MISSION
International volunteers are picked from either the Airport or from their hotels on arrival by SMILE MISSION staff and driven to SMILE MISSION house and are briefed. Ugandan volunteers are directed and asked to come to SMILE MISSION office. An induction and orientation plan is given. Every volunteer undergoes an orientation/induction training to be exposed to the staff, partners, stakeholders, work dynamics and policies of SMILE MISSION. During this process the volunteer is assigned a key staff to supervise and support them on their placement. This is the time to come up with a job description for the volunteer in question and set targets for the placement. The induction/orientation may last from two days to one week and involve visiting SMILE MISSION offices, activities, introduction to local authorities, language, and getting acclimatized. It is very important that the volunteer does not start any work before the induction programme is accomplished.
7.0 Representation of SMILE MISSION
Volunteers are neither representatives of SMILE MISSION nor are they authorized to make public statements on behalf of SMILE MISSION. A volunteer can only talk on behalf of SMILE MISSION after getting the Directors’ written permission. This permission also gives a volunteer a new status, “Friend of SMILE MISSION”
8.0 Working Hours and Period of Placement
Working hours consist of a minimum of 40 hours a week, made of five days of 8 hours per day. Normal working days are Monday to Friday. Volunteers may be full time because of the nature of their role, or part time with more flexibility with hours. Equally the length of volunteer services varies; the minimum period of placement will normally be two (2) week unless otherwise stated.
9.0 Public Holidays
Officially recognized public holidays are granted to volunteers as holidays. Reference is made to the public holidays as observed by SMILE MISSION employees.
Volunteers are not authorized to drive the organization’s vehicles or motorcycles, unless permission is granted by the Directors.
11.0 Health and Safety Policy and Insurance Cover
Volunteers on SMILE MISSION premises have an obligation to ensure that no action they take endangers them or others. There is a duty to protect themselves as well as others. Volunteers are only eligible to work in areas ear-marked by their managers or supervisors. Please read the SMILE MISSION Health and Safety policy.
Volunteers are restricted from working in insecure areas, and are always informed of field sites with levels of insecurity. Furthermore, international volunteers are advised to take the necessary steps in ensuring their own safety. For security reasons and planning purposes, volunteers provide SMILE MISSION with prior information on where they intend to reside and travel/visit. While the SMILE MISSION may help in arranging travel and accommodation, volunteers are responsible for meeting the costs for such arrangements.
SMILE MISSION informs the family of the volunteer in case of serious illness or emergencies. Hence, on arrival at the engagement period, volunteers are expected to provide or notify SMILE MISSION staff to be prepared in case of emergencies or in case unexpected situations arise. SMILE MISSION does not provide insurance for volunteers. Volunteers wishing to work with SMILE MISSION are advised to undertake their own personal health and accident insurance.
12.0 Rules, Regulations, and Responsibilities of a Volunteer
12.1 The volunteer shall maintain good and acceptable conduct and relationship with staff, communities, partners, and the general public.
12.2 The volunteer shall not indulge in immoral or indecent behaviour such as taking drugs, alcohol abuse/ excess drinking, smoking, sexual harassment, intimate relationship with SMILE MISSION project staffs, exploitation, destructive gossip and backbiting.
12.3 The volunteer shall not divulge false information about SMILE MISSION or discharge confidential information to unauthorized parties.
12.4 The volunteer who is planning to be away from SMILE MISSION House shall inform SMILE MISSION officials especially the supervisor in writing on intended visits or travels and how to be contacted in case of a problem. The volunteer should ensure that s/he is back to the SMILE MISSION House before 11:00 PM, unless an arrangement is made to spend a night outside.
12.5 The volunteer will handle with extreme care, all equipment and materials provided in the course of the placement, and will return such equipment or materials provided in by SMILE MISSION at the end of the placement. Prior to using the organization property or equipment, the volunteer shall seek permission from his/her supervisor. These include keys, computers, laptops, etc.
12.6 The volunteer is expected to seek clarification and guidance in all SMILE MISSION policies given and abide by the same. He will sign the policies and a copy retained for reference purpose. Failure to abide to the policies leads to termination of this volunteer-ship.
12.7 The volunteer shall provide an end placement/assignment written report; highlighting findings and recommendations. A copy will be shared with the Director, the Program Coordinator and other senior staff.
12.8 The volunteer will not bring in any person to SMILE MISSION premises without prior permission from the Director or his designate.
12.9 Volunteers are not allowed to bring animals into the SMILE MISSION houses. This may be of harm to others.
12.10 Volunteers are not SMILE MISSION employees: they are therefore not allowed to report cases of civil or criminal nature to the courts of law or the police on behalf of SMILE MISSION. In case the volunteer is aggrieved or wronged, they should immediately seek to meet the Director or SMILE MISSION Management for redress or advice.
12.11 Volunteers should ensure that their belongings are kept safe to avoid theft. Ensure that the curtains, windows, and doors are properly locked before leaving the volunteer house. The volunteer shall report and register any electronic device he/she has come with to the organisation. This includes phones, cameras, laptops etc.
13 0 On the side of SMILE MISSION
13.1 SMILE MISSION will provide volunteers with assignments, tasks and responsibilities that are relevant to SMILE MISSION and at a time specified by the organisation. SMILE MISSION will not give assignments just to please volunteers at the detriment of SMILE MISSION’s plans and vision. SMILE MISSION will need to be sure of the resources to carry out the assignments.
13.2 Where possible and relevant, SMILE MISSION will enable the volunteers access the organisation’s property or equipment to enable them perform their duties. This will be done with prior authorization from the supervisor.
13.3 SMILE MISSION will assign a clearly identified person to oversee the volunteer during the placement period. This person shall be available to the volunteer for consultations and advice.
13.4 SMILE MISSION shall provide accommodation and meals to volunteers authorized to work with the organization unless otherwise stated.
13.5 SMILE MISSION will always do what is deemed necessary and within her means to see to it that volunteers are safe and secure. Volunteers shall always be encouraged to participate and support efforts that enhance their security and safely.
13.6 SMILE MISSION shall provide volunteers with policy guidelines which they will sign for and help them appreciate the same.
13.7 SMILE MISSION may decide to terminate the placement of the volunteer if the policies are not followed or deliberately ignored.
13.9 SMILE MISSION shall organize periodical meetings with volunteers to dialogue and improve operations to the benefit of parties involved and to the detriment of none.
13.10 SMILE MISSION shall look for opportunities for volunteers to experience Ugandan life, learn more about Uganda and utilize available skills as they offer their very best during the placement period and beyond.
The volunteer’s performance shall be appraised at the end of the project/ placement and SMILE MISSION may decide to give a special certificate of recognition/appreciation to a successful volunteer who will get another title, “Development Partner” or “Friend of SMILE MISSION”.
15.0 End of the Project/ Termination of services
At the start of the placement the volunteer states how long she/he is to stay and at the end of this period the volunteer presents a report and signs an exit form. Alternatively, SMILE MISSION may, at any one time decide to terminate the volunteer’s services and stay. This may depend on reasons that negatively affect SMILE MISSION’s reputation and operations and the failure of the volunteer to follow the policy guidelines. Like-wise, a volunteer may, at any time, for whatever reason, decide to end their services and stay with the SMILE MISSION. The volunteer will inform his/her supervisor in advance of his/her intention to leave his/her role and then the supervisor will ensure the relevant section head is informed to ensure a smooth exit from the organization.
16.0 Handing over, clearance, and exit
Volunteers are required to produce and leave a written hand–over report before their departure. This report should include tasks accomplished, observations made, outstanding work yet to be completed, and suggestions for the future volunteers. It is important that volunteers fill in evaluation/ assessment forms to help the organisation make improvements where possible. Out-going volunteers will also be required to hand in equipment, assets and any other item that belongs to SMILE MISSION.
17.0 Future Plans
Volunteers should leave their addresses for future contacts with the Directors and the Program Coordinator and should get the contacts of the organisation. Volunteers with plans to fundraise for SMILE MISSION should have clear strategies agreed upon by SMILE MISSION management. Volunteers planning to come back need to discuss their possible return with their respective supervisors who will inform the management accordingly.