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Across the globe, it is estimated that around a billion people invest their time and energy each year to provide unpaid help to others through volunteering. This is either through formal volunteering arranged by organisations, or through informal volunteering work, happening directly within the community. Volunteering is now recognised as a critical resource for peace, and is paramount to the on-going development of communities. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme highlighted that the efforts of more than 1 billion volunteers from around the world are equal to that of 109 million full-time workers! More and more countries are beginning to recognise the crucial part that volunteering has to play in aiding the community, and over 90 countries now have specific volunteering policies in place.

In support of Volunteer Recognition Day, and the upcoming Volunteers Week (June 1-7), we wanted to shine a light on some of the fantastic volunteer-based work that K2 employees are undertaking, as well as highlighting the initiative that K2 have put in place to encourage employees to actively get involved with volunteering projects.

Corporate social responsibility strategy

As part of our corporate social responsibility strategy, K2 employees are now able to request charitable paid leave (up to 2 days per annum), to take part in registered charity work. Employees are free to choose any type of volunteering for the charity of their choice, in an effort to contribute positively to the community.

Across the globe, our K2 offices are dedicated to taking part in volunteering work. K2 Houston recently volunteered at Target Hunger (a non-profit organisation providing direct food assistance to those going hungry within the community), K2 Singapore took part in a beach clean-up and K2 UK will be taking part in two community clean-ups as part of a week-long sustainability project for Earth Day (Friday, 22 April).

If you’re a fan of elephants and conservation, take a few moments to read the case study below from one of our K2 employees who is heading to Sri Lanka this Summer, to take part in a crucial volunteering project…

Emma Kerslake, K2 Marketing Executive’s volunteer project in Sri Lanka

“In June this year, I will be travelling to Sri Lanka to volunteer at Wasgamuwa National Park (North-East of the second largest city in Sri Lanka; Kandy). The main aims of the project are to help contribute to the conservation of elephants, and to repair human-animal relations which have become damaged within the country.

In the last 100 years, relationships between elephants and the people of Sri Lanka have been affected as territories have merged into one another, with humans now populating the regions once previously dominated by elephants. It is thought that around 90% of the elephant population in Sri Lanka has disappeared over this time, with approximately 200 elephants losing their lives each year, in addition to around 80 humans, as a direct result of this conflict.

Volunteers are crucial in Sri Lanka, with charities relying heavily on volunteering work to help repair the relationship between human and mammal. During my time, I will be involved with tracking the elephant population movements to gather and build data around Asian-elephant population numbers and help assess risk to parts of the community. This will involve tracking the overall health of the forest and its inhabitants through the use of camera traps, trail transects and electric fence monitoring. I will also take part in community re-building projects, to help repair areas which have previously been damaged by elephants (unbelievably around 3000 homes per year are destroyed by human-elephant conflict!) A final key part of the project will be to collaborate with local schools to help teach the children English, and to educate them on the vital role of elephants in Sri Lanka’s eco system, and importance of maintaining a healthy relationship between humans and animals.

Along with helping aid the community out in Sri Lanka, I’ll get to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, have the opportunity to experience life from one of the country’s most beautiful natural areas, and hopefully meet some great people along the way!”

Share your story! 

If you would like to share your experience of a recent volunteering project, or are due to undertake volunteering activities this year, please comment in our LinkedIn and Twitter conversations.

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