Original Research

Improving the contribution of foreign voluntourists in South Africa: The importance of training and supervision

Carina Strohmeier, Savo Heleta
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 16, No 1 | a730 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v16i1.730 | © 2020 Carina Strohmeier, Savo Heleta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 July 2019 | Published: 12 February 2020

About the author(s)

Carina Strohmeier, Centre for Higher Education and Training, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Savo Heleta, Office for International Education, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


The market for voluntourism from the Western world to developing countries is on the rise. Voluntourists are mainly young people who combine travel with volunteering in educational, early childhood development, environmental or other projects. Hence, it is of outmost importance to assess and analyse the contribution of voluntourists to the projects, and especially to the development and progress of the children they work with. This research assesses the skills, experiences and contributions of foreign voluntourists to the development of vulnerable children in South Africa. To get a better understanding of what voluntourists contribute to their projects and the children they work with, researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with people who work with voluntourists, as well as with voluntourists themselves in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. One of the main findings of this research is that training and supervision of voluntourists is crucial if the impact of the voluntourists is to be improved.


volunteer; voluntourist; children; development; NGOs; schools; South Africa


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