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Comhlámh promotes responsible, responsive international volunteering develops good practice standards among volunteer sending agencies. In doing so, we hope to ensure that overseas volunteering has a positive impact for the volunteer, the sending organisation, and the host project and community.

Support Services for Members and Volunteers.

  • Signposting to counselling, debriefing and careers services for returning Irish volunteers
  • Opportunities to advocate for global justice from Ireland
  • Social events for returned volunteers and members


Comhlámh offers a range of courses designed to increase the capacity of individuals and groups to engage in development education and campaigns on issues of global justice.


Code of Good Practice for Sending Organisationshas also been developed. This sets out the responsibilities of organisations that arrange volunteer placements, including some of the steps they take to support the Volunteer Charter. Organisations that have signed up to the Code will be willing to provide copies of this Charter to volunteers, and to discuss the Code in exchange.


The Volunteer Charter has been drawn up by Comhlámh, the Irish Association of Development Workers. Comhlámh has over 30 years’ experience of engaging with overseas volunteers and development workers. It was drawn up through extensive consultations with the three main groups involved in volunteer


Comhlámh is responsible for administering the Volunteer Development Worker Scheme on behalf of the Department of Social Protection which has special arrangements in place to protect the social welfare rights of Volunteer Development Workers (VDWs).We also administer the Public Service Pension Scheme for Volunteer Development Workers on behalf of Irish Aid (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

You can find the Volunteer Development Worker Scheme’s Form here:Volunteer Development Worker Scheme


Volunteer development workers wishing to receive funding from SUSI for third-level studies need to check the most recent and up-to-date residency criteria from the Department of Education and Skills.  You are also more than welcome to email or telephone 01 478 3490 and ask for the Information and Support Officer, who will discuss the residency criteria to you.



Comhlamh produces a range of media and publications, including Focus magazine, Index Newsletter, the e-LINK email newsletter, and a range of books and manuals on topics relating to Development Education, Volunteering, Development Work and Campaigning.


If you have returned home after a period overseas of three months or more, Comlámh warmly invite you to attend our next Coming Home Weekend.

These informal and relaxed weekends are held twice a year and provide an opportunity for returning volunteers to meet with fellow returnees, to reflect on their experiences overseas, to share mutual experiences (successes and challenges) of being overseas and to explore opportunities to use their skills and stay involved in development issues from Ireland. Previous participants have commented on how heartening it is to discover that others have felt similar fears, joys, frustrations and hopes.

Join our next Coming Home Weekend here.

Mark Furlong, a member of our Trade Justice Group, at a storytelling event in Irish Aid in 2013.

Mark Furlong, a member of our Trade Justice Group, at a storytelling event in Irish Aid in 2013.



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