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FAQ

The International Volunteer Program (IVP) is a program of Service For Peace that involves youth and professionals in voluntary service programs designed to increase international cooperation and to break the cycle of poverty in nations throughout the world. At the core of our programs is the belief that sustainable community development is possible through active citizenship, collaborative leadership, and intercultural exchange. 

We work exclusively with volunteer groups. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in volunteering with a group.

 

HOW IS THE SERVICE FOR PEACE IVP EXPERIENCE UNIQUE?

There are several key unique features of the SFP-IVP experience:

1.International Volunteer Programs only take place in communities where local SFP chapters have a strong presence and long-standing partnership. Our commitment to sustainability invites volunteers to experience local collaboration and be a short but valuable part of a much greater change in their host community.

2.SFP specializes in sustainable community development. SFP is not simply a travel agency or trip provider. We are an international community development organization with established chapters that work long-term with specific communities. 

3.Projects are designed by communities. Typically, IVP groups will not be the first nor the last volunteers to pass through their host communities—though each group effects a unique, valuable, and significant positive change. Our volunteers contribute to an impact far deeper than their individual experience.

 

TO WHAT EXTENT IS SERVICE FOR PEACE INVOLVED IN THE IVP EXPERIENCE?

Regular pre-trip communication through email, phone, video, and social media will prepare group leaders and volunteers for the experience. Service For Peace acts as a host organization for group programs. Service For Peace will organize all of the logistics for your project (worksite details, lodging, food, transportation, etc.) and will be living and working with the group participants 24 hours a day, as well as collaborate with group leaders to coordinate group activities and reflections. Service For Peace strongly values shared leadership, so we will not make any decisions about your schedule or experience without consulting with you and our community leaders. Our job is to facilitate a safe, fun, comfortable, and unforgettable experience for our groups.

 

WHERE CAN YOU GO?

Service For Peace currently offers volunteering opportunities in the Dominican Republic

 

WHAT KINDS OF PROJECTS ARE AVAILABLE?

Because projects are developed based on needs identified by host communities, projects can vary as communities undergo development at their own pace. While communities may be involved in a variety of initiatives at a given time, our international volunteers can usually expect to engage in construction or renovation projects to support infrastructure in education, health, or community spaces. This kind of project leverages the assets of short-term, largely non-Spanish speaking volunteers while still affording the opportunity to engage in dialogue with community members about their larger plans for change.

 

WHAT DOES THE PROGRAM FEE PAY FOR?

The program fee covers housing, meals, in-country transportation, drinking water, local excursions, all the materials for the service component and program, 24-hour staff accompaniment, 24-hour US-based emergency assistance, insurance costs, and all program planning (site visits, phone calls, etc.).  A small percentage of the volunteer program fees also help the local staff in each local chapter continue the work of the visiting volunteers in the communities with local partners and volunteers.

 

WHAT ARE THE SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS?

In El Cidral, living conditions are relatively rustic. Participants stay at local rented homes within the community of El Cidral. Participants will each be provided with a mattress to sleep on the floor divided in rooms by gender, and will share bathrooms with limited but enough clean water and working toilets. Mosquito nets will also be provided. Electricity will be extremely limited and unpredictable. Staff members are fully equipped to manage the program during times when electricity is not available. Depending on the house, there may or not be a not a working shower, and volunteers will experience what it’s like to live in El Cidral using cold showers – maybe with a shower, maybe with a bucket. It’s refreshing in the Caribbean heat—we promise! We do not offer homestays, but rather provide the opportunity for volunteers to live together in a local home.

Volunteers who are working and staying in the capital city of Santo Domingo can expect modest hotel accommodations including rooms of 2-4 people each with private bathrooms for each room – each with a working toilet and shower.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ENTRY REQUIREMENTS, MEDICAL INFORMATION, AND UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?

Service For Peace monitors changes to entrance/exist requirements for the Dominican Republic as well as the sociopolitical and health climates. Still, we recommend that volunteers research their host country and monitor trends. We recommend the US Department of State website for Passports and International Travel as a resource for visiting the Dominican Republic: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/dominican-republic.html. All participants are registered by their group leader for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the US Department of State to receive travel notifications and in-country emergency embassy services.

We also recommend that volunteers consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for relevant health information in their host country: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/dominican-republic.

 

SHOULD I BUY TRAVEL MEDICAL INSURANCE?

Yes, all international participants must have valid emergency medical insurance. It is required that participants provide their primary medical insurance information, and participants should check with this insurance carrier regarding emergency travel medical coverage. In the event that the participant is not covered for emergency medical expenses abroad, separate emergency travel medical insurance must be purchased. Service For Peace cannot be liable for emergency medical expenses incurred during the program.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY FLIGHT IS DELAYED?

We will be monitoring the arrival times and will be there when your flight arrives.

 

WILL SOMEONE MEET ME AT THE AIRPORT?

Yes, Service For Peace staff will be waiting for you, wearing Service For Peace shirts and carrying a large Service For Peace sign.

 

SHOULD I REGISTER AT THE US EMBASSY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?

Yes, we require that all volunteers register with the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic prior to departing. This is a free service offered by all US Embassies and provides access to emergency evacuation services and other assistance in the event of an emergency during your stay in your host country. Volunteers can register with the STEP program at: https://step.state.gov/step/.