The innovative Visiting International Professionals (VIP) Program was started in 1998 when volunteers were sent to work on CHF programs in Jordan, Poland, and the Philippines. Today, volunteers in the VIP program have contributed almost 3,000 days of work to Global Communities projects in 28 countries around the world. VIPs have come from a variety of backgrounds and typically have at least five years experience in their fields. Areas of expertise have ranged from IT professionals to youth coordinators to construction managers to microfinance specialists. Among the volunteers that have offered their time and skills to benefit Global Communities programs are a former congresswoman, bank officers, private sector corporate executives and graduate students.The nearly 100 volunteers to date have worked overseas and in the US on a variety of assignments, which can last from two weeks to twelve weeks. VIPs work side by side with local employees to transfer and contribute their skills. Each VIP is highly valued as a contributor to CHF projects worldwide, bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm in addition to their skills and experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering
Q. What type of work does Global Communities do?
Global Communities currently has programs in community and economic development, construction and infrastructure, microenterprise development, global health, non-governmental organization capacity building, urban and municipal development and local governance.
Q. What is the VIP Program?
In the Visiting International Professional (VIP) program, Global Communities recruits experienced subject-area experts for a variety of short volunteer assignments.
Q. How long do VIP assignments last?
VIP assignments are usually three weeks long. However, a particular assignment may last from two weeks to three months, depending on the needs of the host agency.
Q. Where are VIP assignments located?
Potentially, VIPs can be placed in any country where Global Communities operates. Global Communities has active programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central and
Q. What types of VIP assignments does Global Communities have?
Our field offices initiate VIP assignments to meet specific needs of local partners. The host agency may be a governmental agency, nonprofit, or community-based organization; depending on the strategic mission within a specific country. A VIP may be requested to help an area meet specific development needs, including banking, environment, small business development community development, housing, microenterprise development, or organizational development.
Q. What qualifications does a VIP need?
Global Communities is looking for technically skilled volunteers who have a minimum of five years experience in the requested area. The host agency has the opportunity to request specific skills in a Scope of Work. Ideally, we prefer that the volunteer have some experience working overseas; however, we will not limit our choices to only those individuals.
Q. Do I need to speak a foreign language?
Speaking a foreign language is not a requirement of the VIP, but is beneficial. As a condition of hosting a VIP, the host agency is required to have an English speaker available to work with the volunteer.
Q. What expenses does CHF International cover?
In most cases, Global Communities will cover applicable expenses related to the VIP assignment. This can include round trip airfare, visa fees, in country transportation relating to the assignment, housing, meals and incidentals.
Q. Who finances Global Communities programs?
Our work is supported in part by grants and contracts awarded by host governments and international development agencies. In addition, private foundations, corporations, organizations, and individuals make contributions to support Global Communities' activities around the world.
Q. What is required of me as a VIP?
VIPs act as professional representatives of Global Communities. They must work side by side with the local employees to transfer particular skills. Upon selection, VIPs will receive a Scope of Work defining the specific needs of the host agency. Any requested outputs in the Scope of Work must be completed; this may include training designs, a strategic plan, a business plan, etc. The VIP will also create a list of recommendations for the host agency that will be reviewed with the organization before leaving the country. A final report will be given to Global Communities within 30 days of the completion of the project. Working in the developing world can be challenging, you may be working and living in conditions that you would not normally be in. We expect volunteers to be realistic about their expectations of the VIP assignment and creative in applying their area of expertise.
Q. Will I go alone or with a group?
Currently, our program is placing individual VIPs. However, we will consider placing more than one VIP if a field office requests a team of professionals with specific skills.
Q. What is the recruitment process?
The first step in the process is to email your resume to the VIP Coordinator. This information will be stored in our VIP database. The process is demand driven. Sending in a resume does not guarantee a VIP assignment.
When a Scope of Work is received from the field requesting a VIP, we search the database for the specific skills required and call candidates for interviews. At this point, we discuss availability, and check references. Once a VIP is selected, we send a copy of the resume to the host agency for review. Once approval is received, final project dates are determined and Global Communities sends the VIP a handbook that includes policies, assignment instructions and other helpful information.
Q. Is there a way to contact previous VIPs before I leave on the assignment?
Yes. Contact the VIP Coordinator for possible references.
Q. Can my spouse join me on assignment?
At this time we are limiting the assignments to the VIPs only. If a VIP’s spouse wished to join the expert, Global Communities cannot cover any of the spouse’s expenses. We suggest that if a spouse does wish to join the expert on assignment, they visit toward the end of the assignment.
Q. Can I travel while I am on assignment?
We request that travel during the VIP assignment be limited to local sight-seeing trips, and that you do not leave the country. Additional travel can be done upon completion of the VIP assignment at the volunteer’s expense.
Q. What do I need to do to prepare for the VIP assignment?
Upon selection, the VIP Coordinator will be in contact to offer guidance and step-by-step instructions as well provide the VIP Handbook. A medical clearance letter must be signed by your doctor and provided along with proof of international medical insurance. You must also have a passport and obtain the required visa and vaccinations preparing you for travel. The purchase of a travel guide is also recommended to assist you in packing for the assignment. Professionally, we request that you review the Scope of Work, and compile any materials needed for training, reference or instruction. Once you get in country, reference materials may be limited.