About Us

Our aim is to facilitate ethical and independent overseas volunteering.


We are passionate about what we do. The current 'volunteer industry' model benefits agencies based in the 'West', not the volunteer and certainly not the host community (read our 7 Deadly Sins for more info) and we want to change that.


What are we up to?

Basically, we travel around the world to film the activities of community projects and then spend months editing mountains of footage and trying to rope volunteer editors into helping us..... We are using the footage and information we compile to:

  • Create an online video travel guide that will assist volunteers with organising every aspect of their volunteer placement independently of a middle man. This means we help the volunteer to save money and to find a placement suitable to their skill set and experience.
  • Give a voice to the guys on-the-ground and help them to directly access the right volunteer.
  • Educate about the impacts of overseas volunteering and highlight both the negative as well as positive aspects.
  • Ensure the host communities see the economic benefits of receiving volunteers by highlighting local hostels and lodges and allowing volunteers to book directly and pay in-country, enabling the money spent by volunteers to trickle down into the host community.
  • Build an interactive website which will facilitate communication and knowledge sharing between projects, experts and volunteers across the world. 
  • Give the "other side of the story". Through our series of films, Good News for a Change, we aim to highlight to positive stories (non-volunteering related!) from the communities we visit that relay the ingenuity, resilience, hard work and beauty of the people.

What we need?

You! This is not a community without participation from everyone interested in seeing volunteering benefit communities accross the world. Right now we dont have the website we want, but it is coming. We need people who care and we need some funding to get everything up and running. By becoming an Ethical Volunteer Member, not only do you support our work and gain access to our evergrowing community and volunteering resource but you also receive a minimum of 50 Euro discount at all our member hostels and lodges when you volunteer overseas, which means you save at least 20 euro on your accommodation costs when you buy an Ethical Volunteer Membership Card! Makes sense for all!!


Filming in Malawi, April 2013

Who are we?

Sarah Carroll: After volunteering in Northern Tanzania in 2006 for seven weeks with a well-known international volunteer agency, Sarah remained in Tanzania and opened a hostel for volunteers on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. The hostel provides accommodation for volunteers and works alongside local grassroots organisations, while helping to connect volunteers with local organisations.

In 2010, Sarah passed on the management of the hostel and returned to Ireland to work on her new initiative, The Ethical Volunteer. The Ethical Volunteer is expanding the initial concept of Sarah's hostel into a worldwide volunteer movement that promotes local businesses and grassroots organisations and helps volunteers to make the right decisions when organising an international volunteer placement.

She has a degree in Geology, which, surprisingly, is of little use in her new role with The Ethical Volunteer.


Bob Kelly: Bob has spent the last ten years as a film-maker. During this time he has travelled the world, making films about his journeys both in front and behind the camera. This experience has inspired him to become involved in the hugely positive work carried out by ethical volunteering projects throughout the world from Iceland to Australia and everywhere in between. He had been working with the Travel Channel when Sarah persuaded him to throw caution to the wind, leave his lucrative career and join The Ethical Volunteer.



Shannon Reilly assists TEV with research and pointing out when we have made speeling errors on the wesbite... :)

Shannon resides in her hometown Chicago, Illinois. While volunteering for a international micro finance organization on an "Around the World" trip throughout Africa and Asia, she became enthusiastic and determined to take part in international non-profits and the "voluntourism" industry. She has spent time travelling throughout the world and meeting all sorts of people (non-volunteering and volunteering alike) who also share her passion and who would like to see a change in the in world of volunteering. While not working at her boring desk job, Shannon writes about her passion and experiences on www.diagnosingwanderlust.com in hopes to help those travelling the world with cultural and "voluntourism" awareness.


Ed Godsell is a volunteer editor at TEV and as he moves about 4 times the speed we do, we very much appreciate his help!!

Ed is a cameraman, film-maker, director and self-shooter. Since graduating from the National Film College in 2001, he has been working as a freelance cameraman and sometimes director for TV, mainly shooting documentaries. He has worked for the likes of RTE, BBC and Nat Geo. He's also from Cork, but nobody's perfect. Check out Ed's work on http://edgodsell.com.