SAFETY AND SECURITY

 

SWAP International has established guidelines, policies, and procedures to protect the safety and well-being of our participants. Although it is impossible to avoid every crisis possible, we have taken all reasonable steps to prevent and prepare for an emergency. All participants are given a copy of our safety policies that they review with program staff and sign prior to departing on their trip. It is essential that our participants strictly adhere to these policies in order to ensure their individual safety and the safety of their team.

The following list comprises a few ways that SWAP strives to keep our programs as safe as possible:

  1. We hire local guides and directors who know the areas that we work in and who constantly monitor conditions to ensure all participants are safe at all times.

  2. Local guides and directors are trained by local law enforcement to identify and respond to unsafe conditions and crisis.

  3. We consult local law enforcement who advise us on safety concerns in the areas where we work. We also regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) updates. The American Embassy is also consulted, as needed.

  4. We work with other organizations and expat groups to identify safety issues in the areas of travel and service.

  5. Participants are required to attend or watch a health, safety, and security training session that stresses safety issues and reviews safety policies prior to departure and will continue to receive training in country.

  6. Participants are always required to be in groups of at least three volunteers and one guide.

  7. Emergency procedures are in place in the event of a general, medical and/or evacuation emergency.

  8. Each director/guide is required to carry a cell phone to facilitate emergency communications and at least one participant in each group will carry an emergency phone. If there is a problem, participants can use the cell phone to call their in-country coordinators or even call internationally and talk directly to the home office and parents or guardians.

SWAP International strives to remain aware of the current conditions and issues of concern in our program locations. It is important to understand that each volunteer is also responsible for their own safety. As much as we do to keep our volunteers safe, we cannot guarantee the safety of participants. International travel, particularly in underdeveloped nations, comes with inherent risks. Each volunteer must always keep their own safety in mind and take proper precautions to minimize security risks.