2. What evidence (NGO reports, community consultations) do you have that the project is based on real local need and focuses on the transfer of skills between volunteers and local people?
All too often there are stories of volunteers turning up to find there is nothing worthwhile to do, with a frosty welcome from local people upset their real needs are being ignored, or because local teacher has been sacked to make room for a paying volunteer. Find out whether the project was suggested by a local community, where relevant, or a local organisation rather than a vacation company's marketing department. For a project to be sustainable and grow the drive needs to come from local people and address real local community or conservation needs, with local jobs protected and supported by the work of volunteers. Working jointly with local people where possible means skills you, the organisation and other volunteers bring to the project will be shared and will continue to make an impact after you leave.