Volunteer Technical Assistance FAQ
Volunteer opportunities for non-U.S. citizens are limited.
Q. Are you looking only for experience in agriculture and farming?
A. No. The purpose of Winrock’s volunteer programs is to support Winrock’s global initiatives to empower the poor and disadvantaged, increase economic opportunities and food security, and sustain natural resources. To achieve this mission, volunteers provide expertise in a wide variety of areas, including:
- Technical areas: agricultural sciences, farming, pest management, irrigation, livestock development, aquaculture, agribusiness, enterprise development, entrepreneurship, food processing, marketing, international trade, credit and financing, nutrition, natural resource management, water management, climate change, community development, renewable energy, gender, information communications technologies, pedagogy, youth facilitation
- General capacity building: organizational development, institutional assessments, business planning, management, finance and administration, human resource development, fundraising
Q. What is required of a Winrock volunteer?
A. You must be willing to donate your time and expertise. Most of Winrock’s volunteer programs are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but we do not have funding to pay any consultancy fees for volunteers. As a Winrock volunteer, you will be representing both Winrock and the United States. Therefore, you must be flexible, patient, willing to learn about other countries, and respectful of others.
Q. What does Winrock provide for its volunteers?
A. Our programs provide for round-trip economy airfare, en route expenses (including the costs of passports, visas and required immunizations), and per diem to cover housing, meals and incidental expenses. A travel advance will be provided via a wire transfer to your bank account about one week prior to your departure. Winrock also provides volunteers with a pre-departure orientation and briefing materials and in-country support from Winrock staff.
Q. Where do you send volunteers?
A. Winrock sends volunteers to a variety of developing countries worldwide. Country selection varies over time, according to project locations and needs. Click here for a list of current volunteer opportunities by country.
Q. Do I need to speak the local language?
A. That certainly may be beneficial, but it is usually not required. Some of our hosts speak English or have someone available who speaks English. If not, an interpreter is provided.
Q. How long do assignments last?
A. Volunteer assignments typically last two to three weeks, including travel time. A small number of assignments are longer than this.
Q. What days and hours will I be working?
A. That depends on the country you are in and the practice of your host. Most hosts and volunteers work together six days per week, with one day off.
Q. How do I find time to go on an overseas assignment?
A. Winrock volunteers use their vacation or their employer will often give them time off to complete a career-enhancing volunteer assignment. Many of our volunteers are retired as well. Individuals who cannot travel can potentially volunteer remotely, engaging via Zoom and matched with a counterpart volunteer or staff in the country.
Q. How soon will I be chosen to provide assistance?
A. That’s hard to say. Winrock’s volunteer assignments are demand-driven. Local firms and organizations request assistance, and then we choose the expert most appropriate to fill the host’s needs from our roster of experts.
Q. Can my spouse or another family member accompany me?
A. We do not have funding to pay travel expenses for a spouse or other family member. In a very few cases, we have been able to match a spouse to another volunteer assignment during the same time period. If you would like to schedule a vacation following your assignment, we encourage family and friends to meet you after you have completed your volunteer assignment. This is because, based upon the host’s needs, activity schedules may change during your assignment, and it is difficult to coordinate with people who are not participating in the assignment.
Q. Is insurance provided?
A. While on assignment you will be enrolled with Winrock’s Travel Assistance Program which gives you direct access to prompt assistance in the event of a medical emergency while traveling abroad. You will receive a brochure detailing the benefits and services. Please note that Winrock International provides only limited Accident and Sickness Medical Benefits that are in excess of all other valid and collectible insurance indemnity. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. This insurance coverage is effective while traveling outside your country of permanent residence while on the business of Winrock International.
Q. Can I make my own travel arrangements?
A. No. We contract with one travel agency for all volunteer assignments to ensure that we meet our donor regulations and obtain the best value for the program as a whole. This is because our donor regulations require the use of the most direct routings and the use of American carriers to the final destination, or as close to the final destination as possible.
Q. Is it possible to add stopovers before or after my trip, or stay in-country longer after the assignment?
A. In some cases, we are able to accommodate simple requests related to personal travel after a volunteer assignment, but we may not always be able to do so. If there is an increase in the airfare due to the volunteer’s request, the volunteer must pay the difference in price. The volunteer would also be responsible for his/her own personal expenses after the assignment end date.
Q. Can I take a personal vacation on the way to the assignment?
A. We ask that you schedule any personal vacation following completion of your assignment.
Q. What about weekend trips?
A. This is sometimes possible, and is left to the discretion of the program’s field staff and hosts. However, we encourage you to remember that the purpose of your trip is to assist the host, who needs your skills.
Q. What kind of housing is provided?
A. This varies from country to country and depending upon whether you are based in an urban or rural region. In urban regions, volunteers are typically housed in moderate-quality hotels or guesthouses that the program leases. In rural regions, you may be asked to stay with the host, or in more rustic settings. Lodging information is provided in the scope of work for each assignment.
Q. How are the assignments paid for?
A. Most assignments are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Based upon ability to pay, each host is asked to contribute support such as the volunteer’s in-country transportation, translators, lodging, and/or meals.
Q. I’ve never provided volunteer technical assistance. What if I need some guidance on how to implement a volunteer assignment?
A. Winrock can match new volunteers with a Volunteer Champion, who can serve as a resource for new volunteers as they undertake a first-time experience traveling or volunteering abroad or conducting a virtual assignment with participants on the other side of the world.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.