The well-being of volunteers on our trips is paramount and we pride ourselves on our Safety Management System (SMS), which ensures the highest possible standards of safety in-country.
Our experienced and knowledgeable in-country staff are experts at delivering our volunteer trips, and are one of the primary reasons why we have a proven track record of providing safe, memorable experiences.
Thanks to our vast international network, we know what is happening on the ground. We have regional offices in operation in Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar, allowing us to build strong relationships within our host communities.
We have organised trips for over 6,000 volunteers and hold a wealth of experience. From pre-departure support and in-country orientations, to knowing nearby hospitals and medical centres, we know how to deliver a safe and exciting experience. We are accredited by reputable travel bodies (see Trusted and Experienced) and we follow Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice at all times.
There is, of course, some risk associated with any form of travel, which is why we are happy to share our knowledge and planning with you.
Once volunteers book with us, they are supported by an experienced Trip Co-ordinator who is on hand to answer any questions they may have about their trip, from visa applications to vaccinations advice, and everything in between. Our exclusive online portal – My African Adventure – contains everything volunteers need to prepare for their experience; all the information provided can also be downloaded to support our volunteers’ preparations. Once on their trip, volunteers are supported throughout their stay by a dedicated Trip Host who is responsible for delivering a safe and enjoyable experience.
We regularly monitor the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to ensure that we are aware of any potential issues which may affect volunteers’ safety, and our in-country staff advise us of any geopolitical changes that could affect the delivery of our trips. We risk-assess every aspect of our trips, mitigate potential risks, and clearly communicate these outcomes prior to departure. Our Crisis Management Plan sets out the steps we would take in the event of an emergency, and our 24-hour emergency number means that our staff can be reached whenever needed so that they can respond quickly to any issues.
Volunteers also help ensure the safe delivery of our trips by following the advice provided by African Adventures staff prior to departure and whilst in-country, and by adhering to our Volunteer Code of Conduct. This advice, developed from 10 years of delivering our trips, ranges from simple tips like hand washing and avoiding tap water, to personal behaviour and more complex cultural nuances. All volunteers are covered under our specialist volunteer insurance. We ask volunteers to disclose all pre-existing medical conditions and dietary requirements so that we can make the necessary preparations for their trip.
ABTA is the UK’s largest travel association representing travel agents and tour operators. They offer advice and guidance to the travelling public, as well as working with its members on health and safety.
As a BS8848 compliant provider, African Adventures demonstrates its commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of those who travel with us by meeting the code’s qualifying standards.
STF Assured Members understand and facilitate the needs of educational travel; manage safety effectively; offer fair terms and conditions, and the best financial security; and are fully inspected every year by independent experts.
Pharos provides access to a range of integrated specialist services and experienced crisis management professionals. Their services combine together to provide an effective incident support system for our trips.
Safety Management System
Our comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS) covers all aspects of safety regarding your trip and details all steps we take in respect of your well-being.
Our SMS is independently audited on an annual basis by the School Travel Forum (STF), which means that you can rest assured that all necessary checks have been made, signed off and are regularly monitored. In fact, the SMS covers the same areas of safety that are expected for educational travel throughout the EU.
Your safety is our priority, and we ensure that all requisite measures are in place to protect you, so that you can focus on enjoying the experience. Occasionally, things don’t go to plan; that is, in part, the nature of travel. Our experience tells us that it is unrealistic to expect a perfect safety record, and that it is more important to have the right systems in place to respond quickly and effectively if things don’t go to plan.
We are here to support you and make your job easier, so please do contact us if we can help you.
As part of our SMS, each project, accommodation and vehicle we work with is comprehensively risk assessed on an annual basis.
All our trips provide volunteers with a comprehensive personal travel insurance policy that explicitly provides cover for volunteering. Furthermore, it features all of the conventional inclusions you would expect whilst travelling abroad, including lost baggage, medical expenses and personal equipment.
All volunteers are also covered by African Adventures’ public liability insurance.
During all trips, volunteers have access to 24-hour emergency support, both in-country and the UK.
Our UK team is on call throughout all seasons and you have access to both emergency and non-emergency contacts.
As part of our SMS, all vehicles must comply with our strict Vehicle Safety Policy. All vehicles are privately hired, have seatbelts and are regularly serviced. Whilst it is unrealistic to expect the same standard of coaches that you may be accustomed to in the UK, all vehicles must be fit for purpose in order to be used on our trips.
All drivers who work for African Adventures must adhere to a strict Code of Conduct in respect of their driving style. This is to ensure the highest possible standards of service. Our drivers are experienced staff who are familiar with the areas we work in and the routes we take.
We employ the best people for the job! Our In-Country Directors are Ghanaian, Kenyan and Zanzibari – bizarrely, this is rarer than you might imagine. Employing locally means our highly trained staff know the projects and the region far better than our UK staff could. However, a large proportion of our UK-based staff have volunteered in Africa so their experience will help support you through your journey – our aim is to provide you with the best possible experience.
As soon as volunteers arrive at their accommodation in-country, our staff deliver a comprehensive orientation that covers:
- Cultural expectations
- Volunteer expectations
- Volunteer support
- Information about the local area
- Forthcoming itinerary
- Travel tips
- How to make the most of the trip
This is in addition to a pre-departure briefing that is delivered in the UK.
All of our partner projects are within 20 minutes of well-equipped regional hospitals and are able to deal with most medical requirements.
Should a volunteer require more significant medical care, they will be taken to a better-equipped facility in order to be treated.