Volunteer Guidelines

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This document is not authorized yet! It is the final version to be submitted from OPAC-IC to OPAC during the Meeting end of August 2012 in Madang. Until that it is considered as working/draft document.

For further information see the attached discussion page(MPau)


The Volunteer

In these guidelines, the term "Volunteer" indicates people sent to Papua New Guinea by one of the Lutheran Overseas Partner Churches of the ELC-PNG in order to either work or gain experience within ELC-PNG with a maximum term of one year.

This includes

  • Homeschool Tutors
  • Volunteers sent under the "Weltwärts/IJFD"-scheme
  • Volunteers sent under the "der andere Blick"-scheme (cultural experience)
  • Volunteers sent under other schemes similar to the above mentioned
  • Senior Experts
  • Guest Lecturers
  • other short term staff

General Guidelines for Volunteers

The general guidelines for all overseas staff apply for Volunteers as well. Therefore it is recommended that they read the ELC-PNG Handbook 2 - Working with ELC-PNG and OPAC & OPAC-IC thoroughly. Especially the following issues may be considered.

PNG culture is very different from western culture and this dictates that Volunteers are restricted in many ways when living in PNG. Volunteers are required to dress modestly and for girls this means wearing loose fitting clothing as worn by local women.

All Volunteers are ELC-PNG Church workers and as such are members of the community and therefore it is appreciated that they attend Sunday worship services on a regular basis and participate in local congregational life.

Friendships should be made with locals of the same sex as friendships with the opposite sex may be misinterpreted. It is recommended that Volunteers form friendships with local families and individuals as they then get to experience PNG life and build a network which aids their security.

Generally volunteers are not allowed to have guests of the opposite sex stay overnight with them unless they are officially married.

The ELC-PNG expects all overseas staff to be role models. If a volunteer drinks alcohol he/she must do so in a responsible manner. Drunken behavior will not be tolerated.

Within their first six months in the country Volunteers are in general not allowed to drive a pool car. After that, permissions may be granted case by case, approved by the Pool Car Coordinator in advance. They may drive other cars when they have a valid driving license for PNG. The decision is up to the Supervisor, Mentor and the sending Partner Church.

Recruitement and Entitlement of a Volunteer

In addition to ICR Policy 4: Procedures for Recruitment of Overseas Staff - Procedure 6: For a Short Term Volunteer the following applies:

Recruitment and Initial Phase

The issues of selection/appointment, suitability and term are subject to arrangements between ICRE, Partner Church and the Institution/Place of Work.

Communication during the planning period is vital within those levels and the subsequent parties:

  1. Home country:
    • sending Partner Church
    • Volunteer
  2. Overseas staff:
    • Volunteer Coordinator
    • Mentor
  3. ELC-PNG offices and staff:
    • ICRE, OAO, Liaison Officer
    • Place of Work/Residence

An individual Duty Statement for the volunteer is to be negotiated and laid down between the Place of Work and the sending Partner Church. The ICRE needs to be advised of this duty statement before arrival of the Volunteer.

A final report by the Volunteer needs to be submitted in English to the sending Partner Church, ICRE and Volunteer Coordinator by the time he leaves PNG.

Entitlement of a Volunteer

Issues of payments, travel expenses to and from PNG, insurance, holiday etc are subject to arrangements between the Volunteer and the sending Partner Church in accordance to the regulations of this church and other agencies which might be involved.


If the Volunteer stays in a house on the Reserved Housing List, the Volunteer will be dealt with similar to any overseas staff using the house for holiday.
Consequently is power, gas, washing machine, sufficient kitchen utensils, linens etc. and grass cutting provided by housing. Responsible is the respective LCHOP Area Housing Representative. This is the standard entitlement of a volunteer.
Therefore the sending Partner Church will pay the rent according to the "holiday usage of reserved houses rate" to LCHOP following the procedures similar to all other overseas staff rentals.
The LCHOP Area Representative has to inform the LCHOP Coordinator about the time of arrival and departure of the volunteer.

If the Volunteer is sharing the reserved house with another Volunteer or long term staff a suitable and fair solution - similar to the above mentioned entitlements - needs to be found and agreed on before arrival of the Volunteer.

If a reserved house is not available or not suitable and the Volunteer will stay in a house belonging to an Institution, the entitlements should follow the standard and be paid directly through the rent by the sending Partner Church to the Institution. It is advised to set arrangements prior to arrival of the Volunteer.

Work Related and Other Reimbursements

Travel expenses (tickets, mileage and accomodation) from the Home Country to the Place of Work and back will be paid by the sending Partner Church of the Volunteer. A relocation within PNG will be paid by the sending Partner Church as well.

Volunteers have the same entitlements as long term staff in relation to "shopping trips", "retreats" and "guest days & travel", although they are not entitled for orientation and they can't get on the approved vehicle list. Health related travel will be paid by the sending Partner Church.

Reimbursement procedure for Volunteers: The rules for all other staff apply. If a volunteer does not have a bank account within PNG he needs to state the bank account of somebody else (e.g. Mentor) in the form and arrange the transfere of funds through this account.

The Volunteer Coordinator

  • The Volunteer Coordinator is a link between ELC-PNG officials, overseas staff in PNG and the different Partner Churches.
  • is appointed by OPAC and reports upon request to OPAC-IC for information and problem-solving. He/she answers to OPAC and submits annual reports.
  • has to be informed by the sending Partner Churches after the appointment of a Volunteer, i.e. during the planning period.
  • gets reimbursed from OPAC-IC for communication and travel expenses (in case counseling or intervention by the Volunteer Coordinator is necessary) upon quarterly request.

Duties and responsibilities

The Volunteer Coordinator

  • works closely with ICRE and the sending Partner Churches (see above)
  • looks after travel arrangements in cooperation with OAO and the sending Partner Churches
  • assists in arranging payment for accomodation with the LCHOP-Treasurer or the Institution concerned.
  • is to be called in case of conflict between Volunteer and Mentor. In cooperation with the sending Partner Church concerned, he/she has authority to issue directives. A report on the conflict management must be given to the sending Partner Church and ICRE.
  • is the contact point for Mentors and Volunteers regarding guideline questions.
  • participates in the required seminar as dictated by the sending scheemes.

The Mentor

Every volunteer has a Mentor. In cases of "young Volunteers" (home schooler, Weltwärts/IJFD etc.), the Mentor is assigned by the sending Partner Church. Others will be discussed with ICRE and the Place of Work.

  • The mentor must be LOPC staff or spouse. It is not necessary for the Mentor to be sent by the same Partner Church as the Volunteer.
  • The Mentor should have lived within ELC-PNG for at least one year.
  • In case of home schooling, the parents are Mentor. If the parents are working within ELC-PNG for less than one year, then another Mentor has to be appointed.
  • The Mentor should not be supervisor of the Volunteer.
  • If local staff at the place of work takes prime responsibility for the Volunteer, he/she would not be regarded as Mentor but as Counterpart resp. Supervisor. In this case, there has to be a Mentor as well.
  • It is acceptable that the Mentor be based outside the Volunteer’s Place of Work/Residence.

Duties and responsibilities

  • The Mentor is responsible for travel arrangements by arrival, in cooperation with the Volunteer Coordinator.
  • The Mentor is providing initial information and orientation. Any costs occurring are to be billed directly to the sending Partner Church of the Volunteer, not to OPAC-IC.
  • The Mentor provides assistance and advice, particularly in the areas of
    • security
    • cultural matters - including communication and language (improvement of Tok Pisin skills)
    • health
    • work
    • shopping
    • travel
    • housing related matters
  • The Mentor has authority to issue directives, particularly in the areas of
    • security
    • intercultural matters
    • health
  • The Mentor will intervene in case of conflict and may inform the Volunteer Coordinator if necessary.
  • If the Mentor is not present at the Place of Work/Residence, he/she has to arrange personal meetings with the Volunteer on a quarterly basis.
  • The Mentor is responsible to stay in contact with the Volunteer and be approachable at all times.
  • The Mentor is responsible to see that the Volunteer is cared for during his/her absence (e.g. holiday)
  • The Mentor has to enforce the submission of the final report of the Volunteer, if necessary.

Endorsement and Revisions

OPAC Meeting
xx August 2012

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