While all of our projects have a travel component, not all EWB volunteers travel. Travel for project assessment or implementation is dependent on current project needs, level of involvement with the project, capacity and desire of the host community for guests, and the EWB volunteer’s individual desire to travel.
Travel dates are dependent on the type of project, local weather, and the availability of community members.
Extensive involvement with project development is a requirement for travel. Part of our philosophy is to build long-term relationships with communities, and long-term commitments to our projects is part of that effort. All traveling team members must be members of EWB-USA.
Living conditions during project traveling are generally basic and project dependent. Funds are used to support the engineering project, not luxury for volunteers. Volunteers may camp, be put up in homes in the host community, sleep in a local school or community center, or stay in a basic hotel/hostel (if there is one in the community). The communities we partner with are often many hours from conventional medical attention and stores.
Food is generally cooked by local families and is whatever the community commonly eats. Dietary restrictions cannot always be accommodated, and in some cases, refusing food may be culturally insensitive.
Trip length is project dependent, but is typically between four days to two weeks. Often, project teams have several groups that are staged with a day or two of overlap to extend time in the community.
There are inherent risks and discomforts involved in traveling on Project Trip. Please consider these factors carefully when deciding if you want to travel with us or not – and remember you can still get involved if you don’t travel.
EWB-USA does not accept projects in locations where volunteers would be placed at undue risk. Restricted locations includes countries where Peace Corps volunteers have been recalled, International SOS has declared the location a high risk for travel, or where EWB-USA national leadership otherwise feels the situation is unsafe.
Travel medical and emergency evacuation insurance is mandatory of all members traveling on our projects.
Most employers have been very supportive of employees participating in our projects and recognize the benefits of EWB (for example, the recruiting, marketing, and training of their engineers). Support from employers has ranged from donations towards material expenses, supporting employee time off, and allowing use of computers, meeting space, and other office necessities.
Sometimes employers will play employee salary while they are traveling; other times time off will be without pay. EWB volunteers commonly use vacation time for at least a portion of project travel.