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Workcamps as Paths to Peace

Why does IVP choose International Workcamps as its main tool in building paths towards peace?

In organising international workcamps, IVP, and SCI more generally, tries to work on three different levels at the same time:

On the first level, a group of individuals with very different geographical, cultural and social backgrounds are brought together as a workcamp-group. They will form a temporary community of their own for the entire period of the workcamp. They will have to work together on a project and they will have to live together; getting to know each other, cooking food, organising their recreation time, agreeing on how the project work should be done and so on. In many circumstances the living conditions are very simple and often do not allow a great deal of privacy. One can easily imagine that in such a setting and with such a variety of participants, conflicts arise. They usually do! Participating in a workcamp is about learning how to solve these conflicts in a peaceful way, using and exercising methods of non-violent conflict resolution and learning to respect different views and cultural backgrounds.

On the second level, the workcamp group also interacts with the local community in which the project is based. In this way, they will have an impact on the community where they will temporarily live. In most countries locals are often very curious about people who have come from abroad to work voluntarily on a project. It is not always easy for them to understand why anyone would do this. In this way international workcamps help to broaden the perspective of local people. In most cases, the group will work closely with the local community, talking together, exchanging ideas, discussions and enjoying the local culture together.

On the third level, the workcamp reflects SCI’s slogan throughout the years; ‘Deeds, not words’. In this regard, the practical work done is of the utmost importance. Though it might be our primary goal to bring people from all around the globe together to give them the opportunity to practice peaceful co-operation and non-violent conflict resolution, this is not necessarily the main goal for the local project partner or organisation. Often, their first concern is that a specific project is completed so it can benefit the local community. So it is important that volunteers are dedicated to carrying out the work that brought them to that particular local community.

On each of these levels there is the opportunity to build friendships and IVP believes that the long – sometimes lifetime – international friendships which begin on workcamps are an important contribution to international understanding and concern.

Workcamp Philosophy

An international workcamp is such an open-ended experience and depends so much on the input of its participants that it may seem to lack definition. So rather than providing a definition, we would like to give prospective volunteers some guidelines for thinking about workcamps so that the decision to take part in one is better informed.

Participation in an international workcamp requires:

A commitment to a group experience

Workcamps provide an opportunity to explore the potential of an international group not only living and working together but also having fun and sparking community interaction. Workcamps should not be seen as a means for accomplishing individual goals, touring a particular area, learning a language or having a cheap holiday.

An important part of the group experience involves reaching beyond the comforts of your own language and familiar culture. Workcamp volunteers should be aware of the importance of assisting everyone by speaking in the stated language of the camp as far as possible. Volunteers with English as their first language should try to be aware of when they are excluding other volunteers by speaking too quickly or using too much unfamiliar slang. It is also important not to forget about the possibilities of body language or other means of communication.

A commitment to working out decisions and problems together

In a workcamp, orders are not issued from above (i.e. the workcamp leaders); rather, decisions are made through a group process, which includes discussions and guidance from the workcamp leader. Even so individuals are still required to make their own decisions. For example, if a workcamp participant wants to pursue some interest which falls somewhat outside of the workcamp plans, it is a decision which is properly discussed by the group, even though it remains the individual’s own decision. It is important to be willing to take part in this process, which sometimes takes time and requires considering the different perspectives that arise within the group. IVP believes this process is important as a way of practicing peace and reconciliation on a personal level, as well as on a practical level throughout the camp.

Attending the entire workcamp

It is strongly recommended that you do not arrive late or depart early at a workcamp. A person arriving late misses the crucial period of orientation and friendly awkwardness as group members get to know one another and a group spirit builds. A person departing early erodes the feeling of solidarity in a group and leaves the remaining volunteers with a sense of having been left behind for something more important. No matter how successful a workcamp is, early departures can create among the volunteers a feeling of waiting for the workcamp to come to an end.

Being sensitive to the camp’s place in the community

The workcamp represents a group of people who have come together for a relatively short period of time. They are guests within the community and are unfamiliar with the intricate and subtle patterns that exist within the community of which their project sponsor is a part. Consequently, there is a challenge in having the workcamp gracefully blend in with the community, especially when local customs differ from the volunteer’s own. Volunteers should regard the differences as opportunities to learn, not as sources of conflict.

Being open to learning

SCI appeals to a broad range of people because an open mind is a far greater qualification than a particular skill. Volunteers unskilled at certain jobs are encouraged to learn new skills. Often cultural stereotypes need be broken to ensure an equal representation in jobs traditionally labelled women’s work or men’s work. In this learning process volunteers may have to seek a balance between good, efficient work and allowing mistakes to be made due to inexperience. A workcamp is also an opportunity to learn from people of different ages. Generally, volunteers are aged between 18 and 35, however, there is no upper age limit. Volunteers may feel challenged to work with others outside of their peer group, and yet find it refreshing to be part of a group unified by a common purpose.

Contributing fully to the work

The work is important. It may not always be to a volunteer’s liking, nor is it merely concocted as a vehicle for bringing people together. There are expectations by the workcamp sponsors that the work will be done, and all volunteers, though directed by workcamp or project leaders, should feel a responsibility toward doing it well. If there is a study component of the workcamp, volunteers should inform themselves before the workcamp in order to add to the discussion.

Having lots of self-motivation

A workcamp is what each volunteer makes of it. It requires seeking out opportunities, looking to see what needs to be done, taking responsibility. A volunteer should feel equally a part of shaping the workcamp as the leaders do. Workcamps thrive on the initiatives of individuals.

And, of course, having fun!

Introduction to Workcamps

A workcamp is a place where people of diverse race, ideology, nationality, and age live together for two to four weeks while working on a community project. The workcamps are initiated and organised by community groups and are designed to be of tangible benefit to the local community. They enhance local initiatives and do not replace paid labour. Workcamps usually take between 8 and 20 international participants who work and socialise with the local community. Workcamps take place all year round but in Europe most occur during the Northern hemisphere summer.

Through workcamps, IVP incorporates and sustains visionary aims. Workcamps provide an opportunity for individuals to combine their energies and together address problems vital to our shared global future. Internal decision-making, problem solving and a sense of group identity are promoted. Workcamps aim to increase tolerance and facilitate the questioning of values. Whether working at a children’s centre in Paris, on an environmental project in Colorado, or helping with relief programs in Thailand, the volunteers help establish paths to peace.

In this section you will find more information about workcamp philosophy, workcamps as paths to peace and what to expect on a workcamp.

What to Expect on a Workcamp

Duration

In Europe, international workcamps can last from ten days to three weeks. The international workcamps in Africa normally last from two weeks to almost a month and workcamps in Latin America generally last from three to four weeks. Asian workcamps can have a very different length, ranging between three days up to three weeks. Usually, the work will take place from Monday to Friday except for Muslim countries where the official free day of the week is mostly on Fridays. The weekends are normally free to enjoy and plan leisure activities.

Language

English is the most common camp language. If you need another or an additional language, this will be stated specifically in the workcamp description.

Activities in Workcamps and Projects

Generally the local organisation defines its own way of working and this sometimes reflects the work that will be expected from the international volunteers. It can involve:
Animation and social training
Leisure time activities with children
Construction, renovation and manual work
Path cleaning, reforestation and agricultural work
Arts (e.g. music, theatre)
Raising awareness
Archaeology

Other workcamps can be more directly related to basic community development such as the building of roads and clearing parts of the jungle for bringing clean water to the village. Often the work can be physically strenuous and different to what some volunteers will be used to. Usually care is taken that there will be several refreshment breaks during the day.

Accommodation

During the work camp the volunteers can be hosted in a variety of accommodation: in family houses or in a building provided by the local co-ordinators, in a youth hostel, or in tents. Although anything is possible, it should be kept in mind that accommodation is nearly always simple and sometimes primitive. It is preferred that people bring their own sleeping bags unless otherwise written in the work camp information sheet.

It is expected that the volunteers will participate in the daily life of the hosting community with the aim to maximise the exchange with the people concerned with the project. This is even more so in the exchanges, which take place in Latin America where the international volunteers are mostly hosted individually with local families.

Extra Costs

In addition to the IVP membership and application fees, Australian volunteers pay their travel costs from Australia to the work camp location, insurance cover (see insurance section) and in some countries, there is an extra project fee which is paid to the hosting organisation. Food and accommodation are provided and paid for by the project host. In the case where there is an extra project fee, this covers not only the costs of board and lodging for the programme period, but more substantially, it is used to support the organisation and its programmes. In countries where this fee is charged the host organisation depends in most cases entirely on the voluntary income to run their programmes. Organising workcamps costs money, as it needs a fair amount of preparation and co-ordination throughout the year. The fee paid will help cover these pre-programme costs.

Study

Workcamps offer an excellent opportunity for exchanging ideas about social, political and other issues about the local situations. Apart from the daily work of the project, it enables volunteers to have the opportunity to participate in debate, propose visits and meet with other local organisations. Every work camp does not have an organised study programme. Often the informal talks with other volunteers, project workers or local people give the scope for debate and learning. However, on many workcamps an effort is made to organise a more structured study participation, either closely linked with the social aim of the project organisation or linked to national or international campaigns SCI is implementing at the time.

Work Camp Leader or Coordinator

In most camps, though not in all, a work camp leader or camp co-ordinator will be appointed to facilitate the camp. A large part of the role of the co-ordinator is simply being the point of communication between the camp organisation, the host project and the volunteers. It is the primary task of the leader to try to meet the aims and expectations of all three. This should be done in the most harmonious way so that all are satisfied and so the maximum numbers of objectives are achieved.

A camp leader’s function is threefold: to lead, organise and mediate as appropriate. But above all, a camp leader is a member of the group and the relationship with the volunteers should never be hierarchical, even if participants expect him/her to play a decisive part in the course of the camp.

What can volunteers expect the camp leader to do?

– Organise orientation and evaluation meetings
– Include volunteers in decision making processes
– Liaise between volunteers & project partner
– Co-ordinate work and rosters
– Consider the needs of different cultural backgrounds and help with overcoming language barriers, but not being a translator
– Lead the theoretical discussion about the project’s work & goals
– Help with conflict solving
– Initiate discussion about political, social, cultural affairs related to the camp
– Represent SCI in public
– Inform the volunteers about the work, structures & aims of SCI
– Keep track of the entire program

Group Dynamics

How will the group interact?

Each group you work with on an international project will interact differently. Good internal group dynamics are ensured if there is awareness of each other and the forces in operation.

The activities necessary for effective group operation can be learned. It is usual for people to automatically assume ‘roles’ and take on ‘functions’ within the group that can help or hinder cohesion. It is important to encourage behaviours that help a group to function well. When one or several people seem to be having a negative influence on the group dynamics, Non-Violence theory encourages us to separate the ‘person’ from the ‘behaviour’. In other words don’t blame the person but address their behaviour. Sometimes having a provocative person in a group can lead to real issues being aired, leading to greater understanding and help group-building.

One of the main tools to better group dynamics is to learn and practise ‘listening skills’. This involves really listening to what the other person is saying, trying to understand where they are coming from rather than just having a conversation. We find this easy to do when we have a rapport with someone, but need to make sure we practise it with those with whom we perceive differences.

Each workcamp group will go through stages as the volunteers get to know each other better. One way of understanding these stages is to use Bruce Tuckman’s theory of group development. Tuckman described four stages of group development: forming, storming, norming and performing. The descriptions which follow have been adapted from Wikipedia.

Forming

In the first stages, the team meets and learns about the volunteer project, the work, the living arrangements and will decide how to share tasks and may set up cooking and cleaning schedules. Team members tend to behave quite independently. They may be motivated but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives of the team. Team members are usually on their best behaviour and interested in getting to know each other better. Mature team members model appropriate behaviour. Workcamp leaders will usually be directive, setting up meeting times and facilitating the development of work schedules and leisure activities.

Storming

Once the volunteers have got over their initial politeness, they will start to get to know each other on a deeper level and this is usually when differences begin to arise. The group is usually figuring out how they will interact with each other, how they will function independently and what leadership model they will accept. Team members open out to each other and confront each other’s ideas and perspectives. Individuals may become competitive or overly attached to their own ideas. In some cases, this stage can be contentious, unpleasant and even painful to members of the team who are averse to conflict. Tolerance of each team member and their differences needs to be emphasized. Leaders of the team during this phase still need to be directive in their guidance of decision-making and appropriate behaviour.

Norming

At some point, members adjust their behaviour to each other and develop work habits that make teamwork seem more natural and fluid. Team members often work through this stage by agreeing on rules, values, professional behaviour, shared methods, working tools and even taboos. Team members begin to trust each other and motivation increases as the team gets more acquainted with the project.

Performing

High-performing teams are able to function as a unit as they find ways to get the job done smoothly and effectively without inappropriate conflict or the need for external supervision. Team members have become interdependent. By this time they are motivated and knowledgeable. The team members are now competent, autonomous and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision. Dissent is expected and allowed as long as it is channelled through means acceptable to the team. Workcamp leaders during this phase are almost always participative, but the team will make most of the necessary decisions.

Adjourning and Transforming

Tuckman later added a fifth phase, adjourning, that involves completing the task and breaking up the team. Others call it the phase for mourning. This can be quite a difficult phase of a workcamp. You may have developed quite strong bonds with your fellow volunteers. Goodbyes can be very upsetting and tears are quite usual. You may feel it hard to get back to ‘normal’ after such an intense two weeks, but keeping in touch with each other after a workcamp can help ease the transition.

In the next section we discuss managing conflict in groups

Application Procedures for Short Term Projects

Application Procedures for Short Term Projects

Once you have finished reading through your Volunteer Guidebook and have a better idea of IVP’s goals and philosophy it’s time to consider which volunteer projects you would like to apply for.

Step one:
Check that you fulfill all necessary criteria:
• You must be a current IVP member to participate in a workcamp.
• Applicants must be 18 years or over for workcamps in Australia or Europe and 21 or over for workcamps in Africa, Latin America and some Asian countries. There is no upper age limit and older volunteers are encouraged to apply as we aim to have a diverse age range on camps. Please note that a small number of partner organisations have a maximum age limit of 28-35.
• You must be willing to contribute to the team life, including sharing the cooking and cleaning duties, and to integrate with other volunteers on the workcamp.
• Volunteers should be fit enough to carry out the work of the project and be prepared for the additional emotional challenges that arise when confronted with new people, cultures and environments.
• Some camps specifically require volunteers to have previous workcamp experience. This is usually for countries where contacts are new, where conditions are especially trying, or where there have been difficulties in the past and volunteers are needed who can use their experience to develop future work.
• Volunteers need to be flexible and adapt to their local environment. Following local customs and respecting local behaviours and beliefs is generally expected.
• At all times volunteers must comply with both local laws and minimum Australian standards in regard to the consumption of alcohol and the use of illicit substances.
• Check the official language of the workcamp and make sure you have a strong knowledge of the required language.
• Finally, please make sure you are aware of our cancellations and refunds policy found below.

There are also special conditions for volunteers applying for workcamps in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America, since volunteers face extra challenges when working in less developed countries with very different cultures. For these workcamps volunteers should:
• Be at least 21 years old
• Have prior workcamp experience with IVP, SCI or a similar organisation or relevant social work experience
• Demonstrate commitment to IVP, volunteering in the office or assisting the organisation in other ways, eg, writing an article, editing the newsletter, running an IVP Infonight in your area.
• Undertake to remain active in IVP on return to Australia, and to provide a report of the workcamp.
• Demonstrate knowledge of development issues and respect for other cultures.
• Most camps in Latin America will require a good knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese, and some African camps will require French. Many of these camps may require extra documentation. This information will be on our website.
• All volunteers attending workcamps in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America are advised to read this Guidebook thoroughly to enhance understanding of IVP’s work and to assist in preparing you for living in a culture and conditions very different to your own.

AN EXTRA PARTICIPATION FEE – often applies to workcamps in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. These countries have limited resources and the extra payment is a contribution towards the development and continuation of workcamps. This fee is payable to the host organisation on arrival at the workcamp. Generally, this fee is payable in Euros or $US currency and ranges between $US75-200. For workcamps in Mexico, the fee is between $US200-450.

Other things to be aware of:
On the workcamp
• Volunteers must cover their own costs to and from the workcamp and are responsible for passports and visas.
• Accommodation and food will be provided for you during the workcamp.
• There is usually at least one workcamp leader, who helps co-ordinate the day-to-day activities of the volunteers and liases with the project sponsors and local people.
• Conditions vary from camp to camp and country to country, but volunteers usually stay together (in a village hall, community centre or similar) and prepare their own meals.
• Accommodation is usually simple, a sleeping bag is often required and volunteers should be prepared for less privacy than they may be used to.
• Volunteers are generally required to work a 30-35 hour week. However, it is the right and the responsibility of the volunteer to refuse dangerous work while on a workcamp.
• Mostly, evenings and weekends are free and can be used to develop the study part or organise leisure activities. Leisure programmes and cultural activities may be organised by the host, workcamp leader, or the volunteers. Some projects require the work to be done during the weekend and in such cases volunteers will get time off during the week.
• Don’t overdo it! We recommend that you don’t do a number of workcamps in a row. Apart from possibly being physically tiring, your contribution to group life will be weakened through over exposure to intensive group work. Rest periods of at least two weeks are recommended between camps. Also, it is recommended that you don’t do more than 3 workcamps in a season.
• It is a good idea to learn about the country/situation you are applying for. If requested, we will try to assist by putting you in touch with an experienced volunteer who has been to the country or done the same type of workcamp you are interested in.
• Experienced volunteers are always needed as workcamp leaders. If you are interested please let us know. IVP holds a Workcamp Leader Training most years. For details please contact the IVP office.

VISAS
When planning your overseas trip, make sure you check the visa requirements of all the countries you plan to visit. If the country you are visiting requires a visa, apply for a tourist visa. If necessary, use the term “cultural exchange” instead of “volunteer work”. Leave plenty of time for the processing of visas, as this can sometimes take weeks or even months. Conditions of entry into some countries may change suddenly, so keep in contact with embassies for the latest information.
Some countries require a ‘letter of invitation’ before visas will be granted. This will be supplied by our contact organisations in these countries.
It is advisable to apply for the visas while in Australia. To avoid long queues and hours of frustration, ring the embassy first and find out:Do I need a visa? Do I need a special invitation? How long can I stay in your country? What documents do I require? (e.g. photos, medical certificate etc)? How much does it cost? How long does it take to process? Opening hours of embassy?

SPECIAL DOCUMENTS
A small number of workcamps require extra documentation. These could include a reference, medical certificate or a more detailed motivation letter. If you are volunteering for a workcamp involving children, or if children will be involved in activities relating to the project, you may also need to complete appropriate background checks.

INSURANCE
IVP strongly recommends that volunteers obtain their own comprehensive insurance coverage before leaving Australia.

The SCI/IVP insurance scheme provides cover for volunteers in cases of illness, accidents or death for the duration of the camp for all our workcamps. Conditions NOT covered by the insurance policy include: Volunteers with pre-existing physical or mental conditions. Travel to and from the workcamp. Exhaustion or nervous and psychiatric disorders. Volunteers over 70 years of age. Cancellation of workcamp/project. Personal belongings.
The SCI/IVP insurance scheme is limited and should only be viewed as additional cover.

VOLUNTEERS WITH DISABILITIES
IVP encourages volunteers with disabilities to participate in workcamps and we try to make this possible wherever we can. Conditions vary from camp to camp, but generally workcamps are considered wheelchair accessible unless stated otherwise. In Part 5 of the Application Form, please give details of your disability, so that we can confirm that the workcamp is suitable.

VOLUNTEERS WITH CHILDREN
We welcome applications from volunteers wishing to bring their children. In general, many workcamps can accept children, but please specify this clearly on your Application Form so that we can confirm that this is the case. (NB: Under 16-years-old are not automatically insured by SCI’s insurance scheme).

MIXED AGED
The idea of these workcamps is that half the participants will be over 30. This is to encourage older volunteers who may be wary of attending a workcamp where all the other participants are 18-20yo.

STEP TWO:
Select your Workcamp options
If you satisfy all the required criteria and feel able to fulfil what is expected of you as a volunteer then it’s time to decide which workcamp/s you would like to apply for.
Understanding the Workcamp Listings
Most workcamps can be found through a link on our website. Workcamps in countries that are not part of the SCI network can by found in a separate document on the IVP website. This can be downloaded and printed off for easy reference.
• The workcamps are first divided by continent and then arranged alphabetically according to the country in which they take place.
• Each workcamp is given a code which begins with abbreviations denoting the country and the organisation.
• Subsequently, camps are divided into themes which are denoted by code numbers, which are listed below. These codes are only a guide and sometimes categories overlap. Finally if there is more than one camp on a particular theme, they will then be numbered sequentially. So for example the second environmental camp in Finland would be numbered FI-SCI 6.2.
NB: While SCI is moving towards having a consistent code system between all partner organisations, some partner organisations may use a different numbering system or none at all.
• After the workcamp code, there will be the location of the camp or the actual name of the project, and then the dates and number of volunteers required.

THEME CODES
1. Anti-racism, anti-fascism, refugees and ethnic minorities
2. North-South solidarity
3. Peace and disarmament
4. People with disabilities
5. Children, teenagers, elderly
6. Environment
7. Sexuality and gender
8. Socially disadvantaged (homelessness, poverty ) 9. Arts, culture and local history
10. Ideological and spirituality
11. Other

Please note that new camps will be organised throughout the year. Check our website for updates.

STEP THREE:
Fill out your application form
The Application Form is available on our website or by contacting the IVP office. If you wish to attend more than one workcamp, you will need a new form for each camp. On each form you should indicate your workcamp choice, giving at least three and up to six choices in order of preference. This will help your application to succeed.

Fill in the Application Form on both sides, with a black pen. Nominate the camps you wish to attend in order of preference. Attach extra sheets for the motivation section (Part 8) as well as a photo, and don’t forget to sign the form.

STEP FOUR:
Return completed forms and application fee
Applications must be received at least 6 weeks before you travel for applications to workcamps in Europe, North America or Thailand, or 8 weeks for workcamps in other overseas countries. Applications for workcamps in Australia must be received at least 3 weeks before the camp start date.

APPLICATION FEES
$350 full price, $300 concession
$250 early-bird application for Australian workcamps (at least 6 weeks prior to start of camp)
$200 for each additional workcamp application processed concurrently
In order to receive a concession rate you must send a copy of your concession card.
In the event of genuine hardship, there is one scholarship available to subsidise an Australian workcamp application. Ask about it by emailing admin@ivp.org.au
Volunteers who have contributed to IVP for at least 3 months or 40 hours are eligible for a special rate of $120 per workcamp.
Workcamp leaders on Australian workcamps who have completed a Leader Training Course with IVP or SCI will be exempt from paying the Application Fee.
IVP is run predominantly by volunteers and relies on contributions from members to keep the organisation running. Your Application Fees go towards administration of exchanges, communication charges, managing the information database, volunteer insurance, and developing and organising Australian workcamps.

An EXTRA PARTICIPATION FEE often applies to workcamps in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. See information on previous page under Special Conditions.

PAYING YOUR APPLICATION FEE
You may pay you application by cheque or postal order (payable to IVP) or by electronic transfer (EFT).
If you choose to pay by EFT, the details are:

Account Name: International Volunteers for Peace Inc
Bank: Bendigo Bank
BSB: 633000
Acct No: 156815888

Please use your surname as the reference code so that we can track your EFT. Please add any extra information that might be necessary for us to understand what your deposit is for. Eg, if you are a concession and wish to pay for a workcamp AND membership, please put this information in the reference field with your surname.

PROCESSING YOUR APPLICATION
The following describes IVP’s processing time-line. Feel free to contact the IVP office if you have any queries regarding the application procedure or wish to know how your application is progressing. Please bear in mind that the IVP office is staffed entirely by volunteers.
• Once your complete application form is received (including signature, any extra documents and applicable fees) you will be sent a receipt and an email of acknowledgment.
• We will then begin processing your first choice by sending your application to the appropriate partner organisation.
• They should reply within two weeks of receiving the application. If you are not accepted on your first choice, your application will be immediately forwarded to your second choice, followed by your third choice if necessary.
• You should receive notice of which camp you have been placed in within three weeks.
• With your acceptance will be a confirmation form, which needs to be completed and returned as soon as possible. Please note that your place is not secure until this confirmation form has been received.
• When you have confirmed your participation, you will receive the workcamp information sheet which will contain more details on what to bring, travel directions and meeting place.

CHANGES, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS
IVP is a small, not-for-profit organisation. It cannot accept any liability for inconvenience caused or costs incurred, other than the application fee, in the event of cancellation, either by you or of the workcamp itself. (Please see the section on Insurance).

The following Cancellation and Refund Policy applies to all workcamp applications. Please note that these are the policies for 2008, but could change in subsequent years.

Workcamp preferences unavailable:
If IVP cannot place you on any of your workcamp preferences, you are entitled to a full refund of your application fee, minus an administration fee of $15.

If the volunteer cancels after being accepted into a work camp:
• giving notice more than 4 weeks before the workcamp start date – 50% of the Application Fee will be refunded
• giving notice less than 4 weeks before the workcamp start date – no refund of Application Fee

Situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, if extraordinary circumstances can be established.
Workcamp cancellation:
In very few instances, workcamps may be cancelled after volunteers have been accepted. If this does happen, we will make every effort to find a suitable alternative workcamp for you. However, if the workcamp is cancelled close to its scheduled commencement, we may not be able to offer you another camp. If we cannot offer you another camp, we will fully refund your Application Fee minus an adminstration fee of $15.

Conflict on a workcamp

If the situation in a workcamp develops into conflict, the next chapter on conflict resolution skills will be helpful. Conflict could range from dealing with someone who refuses to take any domestic chores to sexual or racial harassment. The way conflicts develop in a camp and how they are dealt with and resolved depends on the motivation of the camp participants and the conduct of the camp leader.

The basis for the conflict solutions is to treat the views and feelings of the camp community with equal respect. During the programme the relationships between people concerned are generally at least as important as the issues at stake. That is why volunteers should always try to find a positive “win -win” solution, which is the basis of the non-violent approach to conflict resolution: without drawing lines and creating a “them and us” situation. Of course they should never resort to force, either in the sense of physical violence, verbal intimidation or any other kind of coercion.

In order to achieve a constructive solution to a work camp conflict, the following items need to be clarified:
– The issues at stake
– The “wants” of those involved
– The feelings which have arisen as a reult of the conflict

Often, conflicts can be heightened or even caused by differing perceptions as to what the issue is and by a lack of awareness of people’s feelings. Once these are acknowledged and expressed, then people, if willing to, are able to see more clearly the root of their problem. Cases of personal dislike, antipathy or cultural misunderstanding should be treated in a way that they do not affect the main common interests of other volunteers.

Some common sources of conflicts:
– Difference of opinions on work & leisure
– Leadership style (too much or not enough co-ordination)
– Work (too much or not enough)
–  Misunderstandings and rumours
– Lack of flexibility and adaptability
– Group interactions and outsiders
– Conflicts between the sexes
– Language problems

Some Solutions:
– Proper planning of the work camp
- Training for volunteers & camp leaders
- Orientation at the beginning of the camp
- Open discussions, meetings, mid-evaluations
- Individual responsibility, clearly defined goals
- Games and role plays
- Information about the local culture
- Motivating volunteers
- Constructive thinking
- Affirmation & positive approach
- Co-operation and understanding

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict is the Stuff of Life

This section will introduce you to some of the basic concepts of non-violent conflict resolution. Being aware of these possibilities will help you play your part in making your workcamp experience a path to peace.

Have you ever had a conflict and wished you could have handled it better?

We all have differences – in needs, values and motivations. Sometimes these differences will complement each other, but sometimes they will conflict. Conflict is not a problem in itself – it is what we do with it that counts. Taking positive action to resolve a conflict is important, because whether we like it or not, conflicts will demand our attention. In fact, an unresolved conflict can call on tremendous amounts of our attention. We all know how exhausting an ongoing conflict can be. It is not always easy to fix the problem but a great energy boost can come when we do. Being able to resolve conflict is not dependent on being a ‘nice’ person, rather it is a skill we can develop.

What are Conflict Resolution Skills?

Conflict resolution skills allow us to find ways of bypassing difficult personal differences so we can open up new possibilities of relating to others. Rather than polarising people, using the skills of conflict resolution can draw people closer together as they attempt to balance needs and search for fair solutions. This can create a beneficial shift in the way we interact – instead of seeing each other as adversaries, we can become co-operative partners.

Often we are quite unaware of the way we argue. We may most often use knee-jerk reactions to operates within difficult situations. When challenged, we experience separateness, disconnectedness from those around us – a feeling of “you versus me” – a sense that there isn’t enough for both of us and that if one person is right, then the other person must be wrong. Often we haven’t taken even a moment to consider what is the best approach in the circumstances. One of the first steps to reacting more positively to conflict is to understand that there are often many different levels to such situations.

In the following sections we will discuss the components of conflict, responses to conflict and some methods of conflict resolution.

Four Main Components of a Conflict

Often it is hard to tell what a conflict is ‘really’ about, assuming that it is only related to the most obvious point of difference might obscure a deeper problem – so one of the first things to think about in any conflict is the possibility that it is made up of different components such as;

1. TEXT – Operates at the conscious level. This is the explicit aspect of the conflict, what is being spoken, or argued about. Example: “we want to kick Luis out of the program”.
2. SUBTEXT – Operates mostly at the conscious level, sometimes at the un-conscious level. The subtext is often not spoken about, or is part of a hidden agenda. Example: ” I’m tired of being ignored and I’m going to show that I have a part in decision-making too”.
3. DEEP TEXT – Operates at the un-conscious level. It is also unspoken, but the difference is that the actor is not conscious about it. Eg: Achievement of basic needs: power, security, food, love.
4. SUPER TEXT – Operates at the social level and includes propaganda, political ideologies, cultural ideas of what is acceptable or unacceptable. These are the behaviours or beliefs that you must hold in order to fit into a particular culture or society. Example: Liberal democracy is the most moral method of government.

Styles of response towards conflict

While a conflict may operate on a variety of levels, we can also respond to conflict in many different ways. These styles often vary along two different scales – from assertive to passive, and non-collaborative to highly collaborative. This leads us to four main styles of responding to conflict:

1. Competitive (assertive, non-collaborative)

This style often involves “fighting it out” and will focus on achieving the result the actor wants for themselves. There is little or no concern for the relationship with the other person. Responses might include; physical/psychological attacks, criticism, put-downs, arguing, threatening, or making black and white claims such as; I’m right-you’re wrong, I’m good-you’re bad.

2. Avoidance (non-assertive, non-collaborative)

Avoiding the conflict suggests that neither the results nor the relationship are sufficiently important to work on. Responses might include; walking out, ignoring the other person, distracting them, joking or changing the subject.

3. Adjustable (non-assertive, collaborative)

Often this style will result in one party surrendering to the demands of the other. In this case the participant may believe that the relationship with the other person is more important that the particular issue at hand. Responses might include; agreeing, apologizing or giving in.

4. Collaborative – (assertive, collaborative)

The collaborative style is often the most positive method of resolving conflicts as it attempts to solve the issue, but also seeks to keep the relationship intact. The aim is to find a satisfactory resolution for both sides.