Voluntourism in Cape Town: Mother City’s complete offer unpacked
To officially end Project Cape Town in style, the Volunteer Correct foundation presents her research report. In order to produce their films and articles, the foundation investigated all offers of voluntourism in Cape Town. Read the full report right away, or read the headlines here below.
Cape Town is immensely popular as destination for international volunteering. Nowhere in the world are luxury and sqalor that much part of the same everyday reality. The city is often branded as ‘the most beatiful city in the world’: sun, sea, culture and affordable hotels with swimming pools. On the other side is the daunting socio-economic challenges that are being faced in the sprawling townships of the Cape Town Metropolitan area.
These coinciding realities create an effective market for ‘voluntourism’: the irresitable pull of ‘doing good’ and ‘having fun’ at the same time. And this need is being catered for. Over a 100 websites offer voluntourism in Cape Town alone.
But what do these organisations actually do? How much do they charge for their services? Who profits from the payments that the volunteers make? Are the underpriviledged locals even being assisted? These questions inspired the research Volunteer Correct undertook for Project Cape Town. Niko Winkel combined all the data and concluded the following:
- Qualifications are irrelevant. By far the majority of the organisations do not require any qualifications from their volunteers they recruit. Everyone, regardless of age or qualifications, can take a trip to Cape Town to volunteer.
- Local is usually cheaper. Locally based, South African, smaller and non-profit organisations are considerably cheaper than international, large and for-profit organisations.
- Reason for pricing differences unclear. The differences in price between the different organisations offering volunteer opportunities is extremely large. A closer inspection of the details that the organisations make available online do not explain the cause of the differences.
- Pie charts offer fake transparency. The way in which organisations disclose their finances (for instance by using pie charts) in reality help to actually obfuscate their financial structure.
These findings offer are the beginning of a road that will lead to more transparency. To be more authoritative on the subject, more research is necessary. But in these findings Volunteer Correct finds encouragement and identifies a right to exist. The report that Niko Winkel compiled from the online research about voluntourism in Cape Town, including the organisations and their pricing structures, can be read in full detail (including the figures) on Volunteer Correct’s website: read the full report now.
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This post is also available in nl_NL.