Globe Aware, established in 2001, is an international, non-religious, non-governmental, non-political nonprofit organization headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The organization was founded by Kimberly Haley-Coleman and holds special consultative status with the United Nations. Globe Aware's mission is to promote cultural awareness and sustainability by implementing community projects in various international host communities. Volunteers are mobilized for short term service projects in over 17 program sites around the world. Like peers such as Habitat for Humanity, the organization is led by volunteer efforts.
Globe Aware, a federally recognized 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, has been a member of the International Volunteer Programs Association since 2003. In 2006, Globe Aware partnered with Travelocity to be a Change Ambassador for Travelocity's Travel For Good program. In addition, in 2007, Globe Aware was authorized to administer the President's Volunteer Service Award to its volunteers. Globe Aware is an active member in the United Nations' sponsored Building Bridges Coalition and works with grassroots NGOs around the world. Globe Aware is also a partner of Volunteers for Prosperity, a government sponsored initiative to encourage international voluntary service by highly skilled American professionals supporting the global health and prosperity goals of the U.S. Government.
Globe Aware operates in a variety of countries, including Costa Rica, Vietnam, Ghana, and Cuba, as evidenced by the Today Show's article "6 Places Where You Can Reinvent Yourself". According to Self (magazine), 65% of Globe Aware's volunteers are si ngle travelers, in addition to a number of families who volunteer together. From 2003 to 2008, Globe Aware saw a 100% increase in the number of families signing up for volunteer vacations.
Over the years, there has been a rising trend in the popularity of volunteer vacations and a rapid increase in the number of people interested in volunteering while traveling. The numerous options of organizations offering volunteer vacations have left prospective travelers struggling to understand the difference between each organizations and the programs they offered. Organizations like International Volunteer Programs Association and travel experts like CBS News' Peter Greenberg objectively critique and recommend programs for travelers.
Many controversies have arisen over the effectiveness and helpfulness of voluntourism. Frequent objections question the ability for volunteers to make a sustainable difference in as short of a time as one week. 6.
Another ongoing controversy with voluntourism includes Orphanage Tourism, the act of traveling as a volunteer to an orphanage overseas to spend a short period of time working directly with the children. Accusations against orphan operators include “keeping children in abject living conditions to generate continued foreign donations and lax or non-existent background check for potential volunteers.”. Globe Aware maintains a stance of not supporting Orphanage Tourism.
- "NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC". United Nations. 2008-09-18. p. 33. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- "6 Places Where You Can Reinvent Yourself". Today. 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- "Everyday Ways to Give Back". Self. 2012-12. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- Conlin, Jennifer (2012-08-10). "Volunteer Trips: Is Your Family Ready?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- "The Changing Face of International Volunteering: Trends in Volunteer Opportunities Abroad". TransitionsAbroad.com. 2012-04. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
- "Greenberg: "The Best Places for Everything"". Peter Greenberg. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- Huffington Post "Making A Difference: The World of Giving - Voluntour and Do-Good Vacations". 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "Help Wanted: 'Voluntour' at Home and Abroad". Wall Street Journal. 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- "Richard Stupart: Voluntourism does more harm than good". CNN Travel. 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
- "Orphanage Voluntourism: Helping or Hurting?". PeterGreenberg.com. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2012-12-20.