Outreach International Terms & Conditions.
Outreach International (OI) requires its volunteers to be clear about particular terms and conditions that concern the time they spend with OI overseas. Please read the following document carefully, alongside the Safeguarding Policy and Responsible Volunteering Code of Conduct. Unless specific issues are raised before paying the deposit and returning your confirmation form it is assumed that you agree and comply with these policies and the following terms and conditions.
1) Booking arrangements
If after interview you are selected to be an OI volunteer the placement on your chosen project can only be reserved from the time that we receive your deposit. This will be non-refundable. Confirmation of your acceptance must be done in writing. If you are under 18 at the time of departure the confirmation form must be countersigned by a parent or legal guardian, and their relationship to you should be stated. The payment of the deposit and return of the confirmation form will be deemed to be an acceptance by you and your legal guardian of our terms and conditions. You may be asked to be cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for certain projects.
2) Liability for payment and age of volunteers
If you are over 18 you are responsible for the total cost of your project. If you are under 18 at the time of booking the parent or legal guardian who signed the above letter (paragraph 1) is responsible for the payment and compliance with these terms and conditions. If we do not receive your final payment by the due date, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled. To avoid this volunteers should keep the UK office informed of any difficulties with payments, flights or travel plans.
3) Project Cost
The invoice that you receive when you are accepted onto an OI project will indicate the total cost for the project in respect of the time period chosen by you. OI reserves the right to increase the price of your project to the extent that:
Transportation costs increase (international & local), compulsory taxes are levied or dramatic changes in currency exchange rates alter outside our control or there is an increase cost in maintaining volunteer support on the project.
In this unlikely event, the UK office would always inform you and explain any changes in this regard. We would also consider options to reduce project costs, for example, by cancelling a weekend trip. From the moment that your invoice is paid in full OI will try not to make any additional alterations. OI cannot act as bankers to volunteers and will not lend money to volunteers when overseas.
4) Accuracy of Information
We take every care to ensure that the accuracy of information we provide is detailed and correct. All information is given in good faith and believed to be correct at the time of going to press. We are committed to advising all volunteers of any changes in either the projects, transport or accommodation as soon as they become known to us. Flights and other modes of transport are particularly outside our control. We consider it important to brief volunteers and hold a pre-departure briefing prior to departure. Important up to date aspects about your project and any logistical changes are explained at this briefing. We place great importance on this. If you do not attend it we will not be responsible for misunderstandings or disappointments that may arise. OI seeks to offer all volunteers a rewarding and fulfilling time but it should be recognised that individual experiences and the perception of conditions on your project are subjective and will vary according to expectations of individual volunteers. We urge volunteers to make contact with returned volunteers and to read evaluations which are detailed on our website. Evaluations can provide accurate project descriptions. We cannot accept responsibility for an individuals’ expectations not being met.
5) Personal Changes and Amendments
We do our best to cater for any personal circumstances which necessitate an amendment to your booking. However, any costs, including administrative costs, which are incurred as a result of these changes must be met by the volunteer.
6) Cancellation and early departure from project
If you wish to cancel a booking you must do so in writing. Your deposit will not be returned. Any additional money that you might have paid may be refundable if 90 days notice is given and if OI can find a person to replace you on the project. The amount of refund will depend on whether or not expenses have already been incurred on your behalf. If the reason for your cancellation is covered by the insurance and you have taken out the policy that we recommend you may be entitled to compensation (less the excess charge and less the deposit). We will reserve your project place for an agreed period of time and you will be expected to volunteer for the whole of this agreed period. If you leave your project early OI will not be able to give you a refund unless there are exceptional circumstances. For UK volunteers the medical insurance included in your package will cover the cost of repatriation in certain circumstances such as serious illness or the death of a close family member. (Please note that Grandparents are excluded)!
If your trip starts and ends in the UK then your travel insurance is provided for the duration your project. It is the responsibility of every volunteer to take out insurance. The price of insurance for UK volunteers is paid for by OI. Periods in addition to the actual project time must be paid for separately. You will not be permitted to participate in any OI activities without it. You are responsible for adding your personal details, checking that the details such as dates of the policy are accurate, and for making sure the policy is in place before you leave the UK. OI do not take responsibility if your details are entered incorrectly. The policy provides £5m emergency medical expenses and personal effects (baggage) cover up to £1,500, with a single article limit of £250. Under some circumstances such as a serious accident or illness the policy will reimburse volunteers if you cancel the trip prior to departure. You must read the terms and conditions of the policy before departing from the UK. Changes cannot be made to the policy after departure. Volunteers are always liable for the initial excess. The policy is currently provided by Mind The Gap Year. Mind The Gap Year will provide the policy details not OI. Volunteers must read the insurance details and make sure the cover is adequate. OI will not lend money to cover the costs of any expenses that might be incurred prior to a claim being made. Volunteers with professional qualifications working on projects pertinent to their profession must have their own professional indemnity and personal liability insurance.
6.2) Excursions and free time
Many volunteers travel for a period of time before their project, after completing their project and occasionally for free periods in the midst of their project. You must extend your insurance policy at your own cost to cover these periods. OI does not accept any responsibility for incidents or accidents during periods of independent travel. During your free time you may participate in excursions and week end activities. OI will provide guidance and can help organise these. We may also arrange a trip as part of your familiarisation programme. However we only act as an agent of the actual supplier and not a principal.
7) Amendment by us
We try to never change your project but reserve the right to do so where, in our opinion, circumstances require it. The countries in which we operate are not as stable as the UK. Due to their nature our projects cannot be guaranteed. Our country representative makes every effort to monitor and secure the status of all listed projects. The details of an individual’s programme and placement may be subject to change at short notice for reasons outside our control. Volunteers will be informed of these changes as soon as possible. A refund will not be provided if a change is made.
We may be required to change your project by reason of Force Majeure, meaning unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of OI. If this happens OI will endeavour to make suitable alternative arrangements.
8) Cancellation by Outreach International
We expect only to cancel a volunteer’s booking in extreme circumstances. If we do have to cancel it we expect the volunteer(s) concerned to agree to accept an alternative project which will be as similar to the original project as possible, or an alternative departure date. Failing our ability to find another project all money less the deposit will be returned. Your project placement may also be cancelled by OI in-country if volunteers behave in a way which the UK or overseas representative of OI deem to be improper, illegal or dangerous, and thereby endangering yourself, members of the project, other volunteers, or the good will and reputation of the organisation. Our Safeguarding Policy and Responsible Volunteering Code of Conduct set out our expectations. If you behave inappropriately, do not perform reasonable duties expected of a volunteer or cannot cope with the demands of the project and or host country you may also be requested to leave the project and return to the UK. You would be given full and proper warning of this in advance. You would be expected to meet all costs involved in the dismissal and repatriation.
During your time overseas you will be staying either with a host family, in a volunteer house rented by OI for the use of volunteers or in a selected guesthouse. OI will endeavour to make sure that this accommodation is suitable and safe and whenever possible provide you with details of it prior to your departure from the UK. Due to local constraints conditions may be rustic, compatible with local standards and not comparable to those found in the UK. Standards of health and safety are unlikely to conform to British standards. The OI experience is about volunteering in challenging conditions and not comparable to an overseas tourist holiday. Equally with food, depending on what accommodation arrangements are made for specific volunteers you will be given meals by host families or be expected to buy and cook your own food if living in a volunteer house. Money for this may be given to volunteers on a monthly basis in-country. The amount given is considered adequate to eat healthy and full meals and is comparable to the allowance given to host families.
10) Language, professional and academic expectations
Volunteers sometimes participate in OI projects specifically to learn a foreign language, enhance their careers or obtain professional and academic experiences. OI will always try to place volunteers accordingly and give them full exposure to relevant activities. When we select projects in consultation with volunteers we will take these requirements into careful consideration and try to place you accordingly. However, OI cannot guarantee that these expectations will be met, not least because the nature of your project will depend on your energy, level of commitment and personal relationships that will build up as the project develops. We will not provide compensation if they are not met.
11) International Flights
The OI charge does not include the cost of flights. International flights are recommended by OI through an ATOL and ABTA registered agency and volunteers pay them directly. Conditions are available upon request from the agency. We are flexible with your departure and return dates but prefer to send you out together as we have found this enhances volunteer’s experiences and espirit de corps. OI can offer flight advice but you will be responsible for making your own booking and confirming the details with the OI office.
12) Our liability
We will endeavour to ensure that all aspects of your project are safe. Your booking however is accepted on the understanding that you appreciate the risks inherent in overseas work and travel. We will not accept responsibility for any injury or illness that you might experience whilst on your project.
A part of your project may utilise transportation such as flights, buses and private vehicles. The relevant transport company’s conditions of carriage will apply directly and do not form part of the contract between you and OI. We undertake to use our skill and judgement in the preparation of your project, the choice of providers of services, equipment and accommodation. We cannot accept liability for the actions or omissions of third party providers of any services, transport, housing and / or equipment. We cannot accept any responsibility if you suffer death or injury from an activity which is not part of your project.
The amount of compensation we will pay you for any default by us will be limited to a reasonable amount having regard to the price of your project. In no event will any claim exceed such price. Any claim must also take into consideration the cost of items such as insurance, administration, accommodation which do not form a direct part of your ‘project’. The cost of such items cannot be refunded in the form of compensation. Compensation will never be paid for items that can be claimed through the OI suggested travel insurance policy. If you take out your own policy you should check that it provides equivalent cover.
13) Your liability to us
Check the details of your project, our terms and conditions, our Responsible Volunteering Code of Conduct and any briefings you are provided with carefully. It is important to check that we have interpreted your instructions accurately. The projects listed on our website are run independently of OI and are not managed by OI. We can therefore only offer guidelines about your role. Prior to departure you should contact the in country project manager to verify your duties. OI have good knowledge of the projects but are not liable for the activities and duties that volunteers may be asked to perform. You must be particularly clear about the dates you wish to travel. You must ensure that you notify us in writing of any changes that you wish to make. You must also notify us of any special personal requirements, particularly medical.
Volunteers are personally responsible for any damage or injury they cause to third party possessions or persons, (as they would be as adults wherever they are in the world).
14) Private, Hired and Public Transport
OI strongly discourage volunteers from hiring or borrowing cars or motorbikes whilst overseas. We accept no responsibility for accidents that may occur as a result of using such vehicles. If mopeds, motorbikes or bicycles are used it is compulsory to wear good quality helmets even though this may not be a legal requirement in the host country. OI do not own or lease vehicles. Travel that may be undertaken in a local vehicle including public transport is done so at your own risk.
Any serious deficiency in your project should be reported immediately to your project supervisor and as soon as possible to the OI director. Failure to do this will extinguish your right to claim compensation. Compensation will only be considered if remedial action is not taken by the supervisor. In the unlikely event of the problem not being resolved while you are on your project, the matter should be taken up with us within 28 days of the end of your project. After that time we regret that we are unable to guarantee any further investigation into the matter. Correspondence regarding a complaint will only be entered into with the volunteer initiating the complaint and with no third party acting on your behalf. There is a procedure for complaints. As members of the Year Out Group (YOG) we have agreed to abide by the terms & conditions of the Groups independent dispute settlement service. In the event of a dispute not being resolved directly with OI we will ask the YOG arbitrator to intervene. Both OI and you as an OI volunteer are required to abide by the ruling of the arbitrator and no other body.
16) Health & Fitness
You will need to be healthy and fit to undertake an OI project. If you are not physically or mentally fit enough to work on your project we reserve the right to remove you from it. If an alternative cannot be provided you may be asked to leave the OI programme without compensation. You must inform both OI and your travel insurance company in writing of any pre-existing medical condition prior to departure. You may be asked to pay an insurance excess fee to cover the condition or you may be asked to take out a special policy at an extra cost to yourself. OI must see a copy of this policy prior to your departure. The OI policy does not cover you for pre-existing conditions without special agreement. We offer medical support to volunteers but are not liable for difficulties that may arise as a result of ill health. You may be asked to leave our programme at your own cost if you do not tell us of pre-existing conditions prior to departure from the UK.
17) Passports and Visas
You must be in possession of a full, current passport valid for at least six months longer than the end of your project. You may also need a visa and work permit. Volunteers who extend their project once overseas can only do so if they are granted an appropriate visa. You will be asked to pay an in-country visa extension fee and you must meet this cost. OI will provide guidance and documentation to support your visa application in the UK. Our overseas co-ordinator will help you with your visa renewal when abroad. OI cannot be held responsible or intervene if a host country refuse a visa application or renewal. Volunteers are independently responsible for making sure their visas are current and valid. OI can be of limited assistance if a visa expires. We will not pay for any fines that may be incurred as a result of such an irregularity.
You are responsible for letting OI have your name, date of birth and passport number. This information will be used for all bookings. If you provide us with incorrect details you will be liable for the cost of any alterations.
18) Photography and Publicity.
OI staff regularly take pictures of the projects and volunteers. OI reserves the right to use images taken during project activities in their publicity as an agency. It is hoped that volunteers will participate in this and enjoy being part of the growing image-bank of volunteers who have enjoyed OI gap year projects. We also encourage volunteers to write evaluations. Unless a request is made to the contrary we reserve the right to use these on the OI website / OI publicity material.
19) Departure from Outreach International projects.
Many volunteers choose to travel following their time on their designated projects. OI cannot be responsible for any aspect of ‘ex-volunteers’ activities or travel once anyone has left their projects. This applies for the whole period between the end of their project and the date you choose to return to the UK. Equally you will need to be responsible for your own visas and legal status after the last day of your project unless you are returning to the UK directly. If you leave your project and travel directly back to the UK you will be under the protection (in terms of insurance) of OI to the point of your arrival in the UK.
Should volunteers travel independently at weekends or breaks from normal project work you must inform your project manager and OI co-ordinator of your itinerary. At these times you travel at your own risk. Money will never be given to volunteers for periods of independent travel or time taken away from a project including the costs of food, accommodation& transport. This expense will be met by the volunteer in addition to the total cost of the project.
OI will endeavour to keep volunteers informed about any possible changes to their projects. Volunteers must recognise that they have a moral obligation to their project. As such they should keep OI informed about any changes that may affect their commitment. OI will always communicate directly with a volunteer and not through a parent, legal guardian or any other third party. Volunteers must keep the UK office up to date with any changes of address or changes of contact details. Volunteer information is safeguarded by the Data Protection Act. We reserve the right however to contact next of kin in emergency situations. Many volunteers like to be put in touch with each other. Please inform us if you do not wish your contact details to be circulated to other volunteers.
21) Returning to Projects
Volunteers normally have a positive experience. It is a temptation to return and work on the project independently of OI in future holidays as a volunteer or as a paid staff member. OI encourages volunteers to keep in touch with their hosts and offer their support where possible. It is not possible however to operate as an agency if volunteers return to their projects and work independently of OI. For this reason we ask anyone considering this option to first obtain permission from OI.
This document is deemed to be accurate at the time of writing. OI reserve the right to periodically update these terms and conditions. This document supersedes all other OI documents such as the brochure and website.