SLV.India Coordinator Handbook
Congratulations on being an SLV.Global Coordinator! You have been offered this opportunity because we are confident that you will be fab addition to our team in India! The SLV.India Mental Health Placement is a pilot program. This is an exciting opportunity but will be challenging at times. We require Coordinators to be flexible, adaptable and positive during the placement, to be a great role model to your team members!
In addition to working at projects, you’ll also be supporting your peers, attending extra workshops and field trips and gaining leadership experience. As if this weren’t enough, you’ll also benefit from the added bonus of living in India for an extended amount of time to really immerse yourself in the local culture.
When you arrive in-country, you will have a five-week trial period before fully stepping up into this role. This means that you will have time to settle into the placement, projects and shared accommodation before taking on the additional Coordinator responsibilities. During this time you will also have Coordinator training! This is where the team will be looking at your suitability for the role but also time for you to decide if the role is the best fit for you. Below you will find the majority of topics covered in your training.
The Coordinator work hour commitments will be Monday-Friday, Coordinators are not required to work the weekends. Please check out the responsibilities of a Coordinator below!
+ Volunteer Safety
The Health and Safety of our volunteer teams and staff are paramount and our top priority! This would never be your responsibility alone, but we’re all one team and here to help as required!
If volunteers are unwell, please offer to take the volunteer to the doctor/hospital and let a member of the SLV.India team know. You will be shown where these are during your training, and the addresses will also be provided in project packs when you arrive.
+ To Provide Pastoral Support to Your Fellow Volunteer Teammates
One of your main roles is to support volunteers and help volunteers solve problems as they arise! The best way you can do this is to listen to them. We know that some volunteers’ problems cannot actually be solved, but are resolved by simply talking things out. The SLV.India Team will also be there to provide you with pastoral support during your placement!
+ Role Modelling
As you know, Coordinators are there to be a shining example to volunteers at projects and within the shared accommodation. You’re the ultimate volunteer! This includes behaving professionally dressing smartly, being culturally sensitive and appropriate when at projects, in the community and at the shared accommodation, and of course, being kind. Here at SLV.Global we are BIG on creating that culture of kindness and our Coordinators are pros at this. We would like everyone to treat each other with respect and compassion at all times! Check out our blog here on Practicing Positive Psychology on Your Placement and Beyond.
+ To be a Brilliant Communicator
Coordinators play an essential role in keeping everybody in the loop. You will be asked at times to communicate messages between the staff and volunteer team. This could be a change to the timetable or maybe some information about a workshop. We expect these messages to be communicated positively and effectively!
+ To Motivate and Empower Volunteers to Run Effective Sessions
Coordinators are champions of distributing those good vibes! It is important to let volunteers know how great it is that they are here, and although there will be challenges along the way, the team are always there to support them!
We don’t expect you to be unnaturally upbeat, but we do ask that you tackle challenges positively. Handy ways of doing this are giving positive feedback to ideas at session planning, being a top role model and supporting volunteers with their questions or concerns instead of compounding confusion with negativity. Remember that by and large, everyone’s doing the best they can!
+ Attending Projects and Workshops
Above all you are a volunteer, you’re here to get hands-on work experience right? Please remember that as a Coordinator you will also have a full timetable of projects and workshops to attend in addition to your Coordinator responsibilities. Although you’re always happy to help and support, your role is to lead by example and help to plan sessions and learn as much as you can from workshops too.
+ Welcoming new volunteers
An exciting part of the Coordinator role is welcoming new volunteers when they arrive on placement! First impressions count! This is your chance to really help people to get settled and find their feet. We advocate for creating a culture of independence, but not before you show new team members the ropes and get them acquainted with the local area, etc.
+ Session Planning
Everyone attends Session Planning on a Monday to prep for the projects they will be attending that week. Here, Coordinators help plan and support the team by facilitating group discussions and passing on any messages you are responsible for.
This is your time to help empower and motivate the team. Session Planning is a huge part of the SLV.Global placement, as we never go into a session and "wing it." We expect sessions to be well thought out, with a psychological focus in mind. A great place to start with this is our Psychological Benefits of Group Work blog!
+ Social Planning
Weekly (non-mandatory) socials should be happening within each team. Fancy dress, games nights, sports, movie nights, etc. get creative! Socials are a great opportunity for volunteers to get together, bond and spread some good vibes! You will be able to work with the SLV.India team to plan these evenings.
+ Ensure the Placement Acceptance Agreement, Accommodation Guidelines and SLV.Global Code of Conduct is Being Adhered to.
Coordinators represent SLV.Global within the community and help to uphold the positive image of the organisation. If there is an issue, such as a volunteer forgetting the dress code or arriving late back for curfew, you can have a friendly chat to help them! If you are ever unsure, please remember that there is a staff team here to support you.
+ Your Training Schedule
Orientation - Your first Orientation Day will be the same as a volunteer’s and will take place the day after you arrive. You’re not expected to do anything other than get involved at this stage. Sit with other people, make friends and watch closely.
Adventure Day - You will have your Adventure Day with the volunteer team you arrive with within your first week in the country.
Weeks 1-4 -During this time, you will be able to settle into the area and projects! You will be participating in the placement as a volunteer for the first few weeks, but we still expect you to behave responsibly and be a great role model.
Occasionally we have to extend trial periods and this is for the benefit of the individual and the organisation. In very rare cases, the role might not be the best fit for either party and the decision is taken together to remain in the country as a volunteer only.
After week 4 - You will complete your Coordinator Training in week 5. This is when you will be stepping up into the Coordinator role! Volunteers are going to start looking to you to have the answers. Some you will have, some you won’t, so don’t panic. Coordinators are there as support more than anything and listening is often the best way to help a volunteer. Use your initiative and get creative with your approach. Remember the SLV.India Team is always on hand should you need any help with anything. Remember that this is your experience too, so don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have fun.
+ Coordinator Expectations
As a Coordinator, we expect you to treat this role seriously and behave professionally and courteously at all times whilst on placement. Always think to yourself "would I/should I do this at work in my home country?" As a Coordinator, you are not only representing yourself on placement but also SLV.Global, and are a role model to your fellow teammates for appropriate conduct on placement!
+ Coordinator Code of Conduct
You have been selected to be a Coordinator because we are confident you will do an incredible job. If you have any questions about the role and what's expected of you please contact your Supervisor immediately. You will be required to sign the Volunteer Code of Conduct, but also the Coordinator Code of Conduct. This is not just for your safety but also to ensure we are always working in the best, most culturally appropriate way. Whilst this role is fun and hugely beneficial to your skill set, we do expect you to take this role seriously and any breaks in your Code of Conduct may result in removal from your role.
As a Coordinator, volunteers will confide in you, so it is important that you handle this information respectfully and sensitively. From providing support to volunteers, hearing concerns and apprehensions, to taking a volunteer to the doctors, it is your responsibility to keep the information confidential. If you need support, you can always ask a Supervisor.
+ Coordinator Conduct at the Weekend
Coordinators can travel with whomever they like. We want you to be friends with your team and spend downtime together. However, in our experience, we have found that, as a Coordinator, going away with big groups of volunteers can be challenging, as often volunteers will begin to rely on Coordinators and it’s not easy to relax. Also, it can be difficult to maintain a professional relationship with volunteers if you have been drinking together at the weekends. This is not forbidden, but we leave it to Coordinators to make their own decisions regarding social dynamics.
We want you to really relax at the weekends. However, please remember that at all times you are visible and representing not only yourself but SLV.Global as well.
+ Financial Benefits
Due to the extra responsibilities of being a Coordinator, we do reimburse up to £350 of your placement fees as a “thank you” for all of your hard work. To work out the total reimbursement we will reimburse Coordinators £50 per week (or equivalent currency), following a four-week trial period, for each successful week in the role. Providing Coordinators are promoted into the role and have completed their volunteer agreement in full, payment will be issued in the final week of placement.
Coordinators must complete the duration of their volunteer agreement (usually 12 weeks in country) to be eligible for any reimbursement associated with the Coordinator role.
+ What can you Expect From SLV.Global?
SLV.Global will provide you with a safe living and working environment with shared accommodation provided Sunday - Friday and weekends off! 24/7 support will be provided throughout the entirety of your placement. You will gain hands-on experience in mental health through workshops and 5-6 projects per week. Upon completion of your placement, you will receive a certificate and a reference!
The Coordinator role can be challenging at times, but should also be enjoyable, so please throw yourself fully into the placement. Coordinators are there to support volunteers, problem-solve, be flexible and to remain composed in sometimes highly stressful situations.
The SLV.India Team will always be there to help if needed, so do not be afraid to ask questions and seek support if you are unsure! As we mentioned previously this is a tough job, but it is also massively rewarding and can equip you with many skills imperative for a career in the mental health sector. Work hard, be kind and stay positive. You’ve got this!
Thank you for your time and commitment to the SLV.Global team!