Sunday, July 8, 2007

Seeking Solutions –Exchange visits and conference policy

Objective : Clarify Exchange and Conference visits approval.

Outcome : Devise an equitable policy for VSO support of exchange and conference visits


Fund allocation (both local and international visit)

1. No guidelines for how to organise or who will pay

2. Differing PM support for visits

3. No budget for visits

4. Cost of air trips from Dornod discourage visits

5. Devising a fair policy

Process suggestion:

  • Create a form (similar to PC05 one?) that identifies purpose, participants, brief description, evaluation criteria and funding requirements. (amendments to current form). Current form will be required to be filled by partners as well (Mongolian translation required).
  • It would be requirements for vols to submit at specific times of the year for budgeting purposes.
  • There will be two deadlines (based on the two arrival periods of vols each year). These deadlines are suggested to be end of July and October (based on budget cycle)
  • Following exchange an evaluation of exchange would be completed by vols and submitted to the PO. This report will be based on the original request form.

How does the program office choose?

Based on scheduled submission dates it will not be first come first serve

  • Option #1: Is there a per volunteer budget reservation like PC05? If not all volunteers request then this ‘pot’ of money can be made available to those you have applied.
  • Option #2: There is a finite amount budgeted – it is a competition for these funds. The PO would be required to evaluate and choose the exchanges that will receive funding. Suggestion to have a transparent rating mechanism so that vols can understand why some exchanges are funded and some are not.
  • Option #3: PO staff are able to adjust the budget based on the number of request. Therefore justified requests can be funded.
  • Option #4:Partial funding of an application is an option for PO staff.

International Exchanges

  • VSO Mongolian does not budget for the support of international exchanges.
  • International exchanges will be handled differently (budgetary) with more involvement from VSO UK. Guidelines are available for those wishing to make a request for an international exchange.

Shadowing during ICT

  • Suggestion: shadowing volunteers for one or more days as part of ICT – this would require an increase to the ICT budget.

Differences in program areas:

  • Each program area will receive a finite amount of money for exchanges – not all PA receive the same amount
  • Over time the amount of funding given to each PA will change based on the needs of those placements and the goals of VSO.

Broad suggestion – Budget transparency. Each PA would make budget available for all to see. (then we can understand why some funded and some are not)

Policy on visiting conference

- Long distance travels by plane for conferences will be paid by VSO, but anything arranged for between vols (like exchanges) will be cheapest transportation

- Don’t change policy in current group of vols. If changes in policy are made, introduce these to the new vols in ICT. Then, everybody knows what to expect from the PO.

Follow up action : Work these ideas into a policy document

Action by : Programme Office

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