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This article discusses the history and evolution of international volunteer-sending agencies and volunteers as a response not only to symptoms but also to causes of global poverty and inequality. It considers how international volunteers might be defined, what makes their role different from other forms of overseas development assistance (particularly their contribution to capacity development), and the positives and negatives that may accompany those differences. It also reflects on international volunteers’ suitability as contributors in the transition to a globally more ecologically sustainable state, presenting some insights from volunteers and other stakeholders.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis.

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