Ok here is the full disclaimer and perhaps a little explanation why things may or may not be quite how they appear in this blog…
I have come to Namibia through the organisation Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to work for the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). VSO actually have a policy on weblogs (see below for the full text) which I contractually have to adhere to but regardless of that it is common sense that I should respect and not bring into disrepute VSO or the MoHSS.
Similarly I will attempt to respect the privacy of those I come into contact with through my work, through VSO or just in general.
When I have a gripe on a specific issue it will be my employer I discuss it with, not the world at large.
I value my placement and the work VSO and other NGOs do in Namibia so generally won’t comment on matters political or very contentious within the country. I also don’t want to discourage others from volunteering through VSO just because I may be having an issue with this or that.
So while I will try to be open and honest there are things that I can’t write about, things I won’t write about and things I mustn’t write about.
To put this in context something that, in my personal emails back home, might read; “Met Bob who is a total idiot and who totally let me down, went out drinking on my own until collapsing in a heap around 3am” would be presented (if at all) as: “Met a throughly nice fellow VSO colleague and enjoyed a few quiet beers”.
As such it really is best to assume everything here is fiction or so unrelated to precise matters to almost make it so.
If you know me in TRW then by all means drop me a line and I’ll add you to the list of people who receive my semi-periodic less-glossy whingefest update emails.
That VSO Weblog Policy/Guidance In Full…
A weblog (or blog) is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed with the most recent at the top. Weblogs often focus on a particular subject, and some function as online diaries. A typical blog contains text, images and links to other blogs and websites related to its topic. Blogs have become increasingly popular over recent years.
VSO appreciates that many volunteers will use weblogs to keep people informed of their placements/personal lives, but volunteers need to be aware that their personal responsibilities (as outlined in the volunteer handbook) extend to these and therefore we are issuing the following guidelines:
1. Weblogs that identify the author as a VSO volunteer should include the disclaimer that ‘the views expressed in this weblog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of VSO’.
2. VSO is bound by UK Data Protection policy and volunteers should ensure that their blogs abide by these basic principles. The Data Protection Act exists to protect individuals’ personal details – should you require advice on this please contact your programme office.
3. As a volunteer associated with VSO, your actions will reflect on you, on VSO and on other volunteers. Volunteers therefore have certain personal and legal responsibilities (outlined in chapter 3, ‘You and VSO During Your Placement’, section of the volunteer handbook) and should think carefully about what they write about VSO partner organizations, other VSO volunteers and staff, and other individuals.
4. As administrator of a weblog these responsibilities also apply – if comments posted by individuals are offensive and/or could damage VSO’s reputation the volunteer has a responsibility to put a stop to that discussion/bring down the blog.
5. If a volunteer is identified as the author of material that is inappropriate/not in keeping with VSO’s selection criteria (for example sensitivity to the needs of others) or could damage VSO’s reputation, that volunteer’s status may be reviewed (also found in Chapter 3 of the volunteer handbook).
These guidelines equally apply to other media that may be produced by a volunteer, for example podcasts, printed articles etc as well as television and radio.