What is the frequency of student injury on your trips?
We have never had a severe injury on our trips in Laos (more than 1000 students have joined our project from 2011 to 2015).
What steps do you take with guides, equipment, location to provide safety for students in adventure activities? Please list all activities followed by steps taken.
World Volunteer has a strong emphasis on service during our trips. The students consequently do not participate in high-risk adventure activities.
Hiking is undertaken in comparatively easy terrain.
We have access to phone coverage for the vast majority of the trail
The trail is used by many villagers which keeps the trail well maintained throughout the year
We are able to bring plenty of drinking water ensuring all students are well-hydrated for the 2-3.5 hour hike
All WV staff are first aid trained
All WV staff are very familiar with the hike and have made the walk multiple times before.
Students will visit Kuang Si waterfall which is one of Luang Prabang tourist attractions.
The water is very clean and clear
All students will be swimming/bathing in the same place with World Volunteer staff and teachers overlooking the area
What is the frequency of student injury using local transportation on your trips?
What safety measures do you take to ensure student safety in ground transportation: vans, buses, etc?
World Volunteer uses Hyundai vans for all groups coming to Laos. We have been working with the same drivers for multiple years who have among the best safety standards in Laos and continue to upgrades their vehicles.
Information from http://www.airlineratings.com/
What is the likelihood of food poisoning?
Possible but unlikely. 3-5% of our students coming to Laos have at some point during the trip had food poisoning. None were serious cases and none require hospitalization.
What steps do you take to ensure student health: Meals/Snacks/Drinking Water/Hygiene?
All host families go through cooking hygiene training and are strongly advised to keep all meals basic, and fresh, and well-cooked (boiled, fried, steamed)
We bring in large containers of water from Luang Prabang that students can use to refill their water bottles
Restaurants in Luang Prabang are selected based on reputation and good hygiene standards.
All students will be strongly encouraged to shower. Since majority of the village functions on communal resources privacy can be a challenge for students. In case students require extra privacy World Volunteer staff will try to accommodate a more comfortable environment in order to insure their personal hygiene and health.
Does the physical area contain unusual health risks different from what students may encounter in South East Asia where we have dengue, typhoid, malaria, flu, viruses, etc.?
Does the weather in threaten student safety in any way? If YES, please explain.
No. Rain should be expected form May to September
What safety protocols are in place for any construction or site improvement projects that might include working with tools, building materials, etc?
Students are working with adobe; an environmentally-friendly, non-corrosive building material that does not cause skin irritations. All students will get a thorough orientation of safety procedures at the worksite during the first day in the village. All students will receive working gloves. We will have World Volunteer coordinators overseeing the different workstations in order to ensure the safety of the volunteers.
During the trip what is the travel time to the nearest medical facility and what kind of medical care is available there?
If students are moving during the week, please include medical care proximity information for each portion of their travel.
Depending on weather, it takes 45 minutes to 1 hour for transportation from the village to Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital. At the hospital we will consult with doctors at the Emergency Room located within the provincial hospital. The emergency room has primarily a stabilizing and assessment funktion in order to determine the best course of action but can also handle and are equipped to perform common emergency procedures.
What steps do you take to provide 24/7 supervision of students so that they do not become lost or harmed by an outside adult, specifically sexual predators or others who might wish to harm children/teenagers?
All students will be staying in groups of 2-4 students per home while in the village.
All students will know where everyone is staying while in the village.
Guides and a coordinator will visit each house during the meals in order to ensure that everybody is catered for and feels good with their families.
Homes have been selected based on experience and ability to accommodate students
Laos is in general a very conservative country. World Volunteer has never experienced or heard about sexual harassment of foreigners in our cooperating villages, or in other ethnic minority communities that interact with travelers.
World Volunteer is not a large, multi-level company, but instead consists of a small group of dedicated individuals. We have 8 local guides which are very familiar and experienced working with students and whom we have worked with for multiple years.
We have never had incidents with guides harming or assaulting any students.
What steps do you take to provide security at night to ensure students are safe while sleeping?
All students know where the group leaders and teachers will be sleeping while in the village
Families are advised to lock their door during the night
Students are strongly advised to stay in their houses unless they need to get in contact with a trip leader
The villages are very quiet and uneventful during the night.
Part of the teenage experience can include experimentation with harmful substances that compromise student health and safety. How will you help our faculty chaperones ensure students do not have access to or involvement with alcohol and illegal drugs?
Students will have little (if any) time alone
All students are advised to stay in groups in between activities
In the village there are normally no shops selling alcohol.
World Volunteer staff will communicate the consequences of getting caught by the police with illegal substances.