Frequently Asked Questions

About participation fees and insurance

Why do I have to pay to volunteer?

For SCI branches the participation fees paid by volunteers are a very important source of income. The fees enable these organisations to run the projects and to pay for the costs of office rent, equipment, and staff who do all the administrative work of publishing and promoting projects, communicating with the volunteers and partner organisations, organising preparation – and evaluation of the camps. What is very important to understand is that SCI offers a ´learning experience´ which is much more than just voluntary work. We make sure the volunteer is placed in an international group, with a coordinator who guides and supports the group, with trainers who provide study sessions during the camp, and often with organised study trips included. Volunteers who return from an SCI camp feel that they have learned a great deal and that it changes their perception on life. Considering the impact these projects have and the personal gains of the volunteers, the fees can be considered as very reasonable.

How much do I have to pay to volunteer in a short term project?

SCI branches determine their own fees. Mostly you pay a fee in the range of 100 – 150 euros. For this price you are insured and receive food and accommodation at the workcamp. Sometimes additional fees are charged in Africa, Asia or Latin America. These fees range between 30 euros and 200 euros and are used to cover the costs of organising the project, food and accommodation. In the Global South our branches and partners do not have the kind of funding possibilities that we have in the Global North. Therefore the fees are essential to them in order to be able to organise their core activities (workcamps). Whenever there is an additional fee, this is mentioned in the project description, so you always know before applying how much the workcamp will cost.

Do I have to pay for my own insurance during a short term voluntary project?
  • If you apply through an SCI branch:

For all workcamps (short term voluntary projects) in Europe, USA, Canada, North Africa, Near East, Central Asia, East Asia (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan) and Australia you are automatically insured upon registration for the project. This insurance covers illness and injury during the workcamp, but not any material losses, like your luggage. For the workcamps in sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia or Latin America this is not automatic and we would suggest you to contact your local branch to get this information.

  • If you apply through an SCI partner organisation:

For all the SCI workcamps in Europe, Australia, USA, Near East and East Asia (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong) you are automatically insured upon registration for the project and SCI covers the insurance. For the other workcamps you need to contact your sending organisation (the organisation in your country) for the specific information.

About requirements for participation

Do I need any experience or skills to participate in a short-term voluntary project?

Most short term projects do not require any specific skills or experience. A basic level of the English language is however needed, and for some camps other local languages are required (e.g. French, Spanish, Portuguese, German). Sometimes volunteers are asked to submit a motivation letter for the project. In UK and Ireland volunteers who want to work with children need to submit a certificate of good conduct if they want to work with children. These special requirements will always be mentioned in the description of the project which you can find in the Online Database.

How old do I have to be to join a short term voluntary project?

Volunteers must be over 18 for workcamps, except for workcamps in Africa, Asia or Latin America where the volunteers must be over 20. There is no upper age limit.

What language requirements are there?
The working language of most camps is English, but some camps may have specific language requirements. Whenever there is a specific language requirement, this is mentioned in the project description.

About mid- and long-term volunteering

What is ESC and LTV, are they the same thing?

LTV stands for Long-Term Volunteering. In SCI it refers to voluntary projects and exchanges with a duration of one month up to one year. SCI’s Long-Term Volunteering (LTV) programme provides volunteers with the opportunity to stay abroad from 1 to 12 months. Long term volunteering exchanges are considered as an essential activity in SCI which is complementary to short term voluntary projects or “workcamps”. More information about LTV can be found here.
ESC stands for European Solidarity Corps and is a programme of the European Commission. SCI branches can receive a grant for their Mid- and Long Term voluntary projects from this European programme. Voluntary projects that are financially supported by the ESC programme have certain advantages. For example, volunteers in an ESC project do not pay any fees for their voluntary service. The grant covers travel costs from and to the project, insurance, pocket money and the costs of a language course. For ESC projects there is an age limit: they are open for volunteers between 18 and 30 years from the EU member states, the neighbouring countries of the EU and from other EU partner countries in the world. More information can be found on the website of the European Solidarity Corps.

Does SCI organise ESC exchanges?

About half of the LTV positions in SCI are currently financed by ESC. Take a look in the Long-Term Database to find out what projects are currently financed by ESC.


I am active in an organisation and we would like to cooperate with SCI. Whom should I contact?

Please have a look at this page first and find out what is your nearest SCI branch or partner organisation. If SCI is not represented in your country, you can contact a branch or partner organisation in a neighbouring country. Another possibility is to write an email to the SCI International Secretariat and they will forward your suggestion to the relevant persons. Please, consider that most of the people who work in SCI are volunteers, and therefore it may take some time to get a reply. See how to become a partner here.

When do most short term voluntary projects take place?

Most workcamps take place between June and September, but there are also many camps that are organised throughout the rest of the year. You can search for workcamps in the Online Database by date.

What is a camp leader or coordinator? What does he/ she do?
The camp coordinator is the contact between the project partner and the volunteers. They organise and coordinate the activities and sometimes also take care of finances and logistics. Even though there is a camp coordinator, decisions during workcamps are made according to democratic processes involving all the participating volunteers.
What do project partners do?
There is normally a project partner, most often at the venue of the workcamp. The responsibilities of the partners are often related to the organisation of the workcamp. In addition, the partners provide background information on the project and often take care of accommodation and food for the volunteers.