20 November 2018
BCN Updates
To coincide with Universal Children’s Day today, 20th November, Better Care Network is launching a pilot campaign in the USA, UK and Australia to reduce orphanage volunteering. 
This insight-driven behaviour change campaign called  The Love You Give  is targeted at young (18-22-year old) gap year travelers and short-term missionaries. 

The campaign’s development has been informed by research carried out among gap year travelers and short-term missionaries in the UK and US. Behaviour change theory will be applied to evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign. 
What problem is the campaign seeking to address?   

Volunteering in orphanages is a popular means of ‘giving back’ among gap year travelers and short-term mission teams. However, this well-meaning support is weakening global care reform efforts to move away from institutional care for children.

Around 80% of children who live in orphanages are not ‘orphans’ – they have at least one living parent as well as other family members who could care for them. One of the main drivers for a child to be placed in an orphanage is poverty. Parents and families are faced with making impossible choices to send their children to live in an orphanage as the only way to access basic services including education and health care.

Decades of research have found that growing up in institutional care is harmful to a child’s development, which is why there is a global effort to help keep families together and prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of children. Despite their best intentions, volunteers do more harm than good for the children they want to help. Without a family to make them feel secure, children are quick to form relationships with volunteers as they arrive, only to feel abandoned once again when they leave. 

The volunteer tourism industry is valued at $173 billion annually. Orphanage voluntourism and foreign funding create a demand for children to be in orphanages. T he solution is to focus on strengthening families and communities to prevent this from happening.  
What does the campaign aim to do? 
The goal of the campaign is to ignite a youth-led social movement to make orphanage volunteering a thing of the past. It seeks to re-wire the emotion that is connected to orphanage volunteering and channel this towards more positive solutions.  
What format will the campaign take?  
The core component of the campaign is a short, powerful  docu-film with stories told from the perspective of care leavers; with supporting stories from families who have had to make difficult choices about their children, and individuals working in care reform. The film is being distributed through, and underpinned by, a PR and social media campaign, and supported by a broad coalition of child protection, education, travel and tourism and faith actors mobilized under ReThink Orphanages . ReThink Orphanages partner organisations are helping to amplify The Love You Give campaign by distributing it through their social media channels. 

The campaign has its own dedicated website presence where visitors can engage with the film, become part of the social movement, and access advice about how to ensure that their time volunteering overseas is genuinely spent making a difference.   
What Can I Do?

You can watch the film and share it with others at  www.loveyougive.org

If you would like to be sent a toolkit to enable you to share the campaign through your social media channels, or organise a special screening, please email 

The Better Volunteering Better Care (BVBC) Initiative, aimed at responding to the negative impacts of volunteerism in residential care settings, has been relaunched as ReThink Orphanages and has a new website !
Founded as Better Volunteering Better Care (BVBC) in 2013 by  Better Care Network  and  Save the Children UK , the primary purpose of the initiative was to understand and share information about the impact of international volunteering in residential care centers (orphanages) and raise awareness about the negative effects of volunteering in these settings. The coalition brought together actors from across the child protection, education, faith based and travel and tourism sectors and provided a platform for collaboration. 

In 2015, BVBC members in Australia developed the first of the national level hubs to address that country's impact on the institutionalization of children overseas through volunteering and funding. ReThink Orphanages Australia succeeded in bringing the issue of the link between orphanage tourism and orphanage trafficking to the attention of parliamentarians. This has led to orphanage trafficking being recognized in Australia as a form of modern slavery.

Building on this success, two further hubs – ReThink Orphanages US and ReThink Orphanages Europe – were established at the end of 2017, also adopting a broader remit to include funding as well as volunteering. In agreement with its members, the Better Volunteering Better Care global coalition was formally renamed ReThink Orphanages and its new global website linking to the national and regional hubs is now launched!

Please visit the website and contact justine.williams@bettercarenetwork.org if you would like to know more. Get in touch with Justine if you would like to join the global coalition or one of the three hubs, if you are residing in those countries/regions.

Tina Rosenberg - The New York Times, 23 October 2018

Tina Rosenberg - The New York Times, 16 October 2018

Reuters, 9 October 2018

Traverse Journeys, 26 September 2018

Travel Weekly, 20 September 2018

Gap Year Association, 13 September 2018

The Guardian, 13 September 2018

African Impact, 1 September 2018

Daily Nation, 1 September 2018


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