Planning for an upcoming short-term missions (STM) trip program is an important step before beginning the recruitment process.
1. Determine goal & type of trip
One of the first steps in planning a STM trip is to determine what the specific goal of the trip is and what type of trip is needed to meet the goal. This decision should be based on your organisation's predetermined STM strategy.
Planning should be conducted in close consultation with the partner organisation and relevant community representatives.
Remember that action-orientated trips should be initiated or agreed upon by local communities and the receiving organisation, and they should have the primary say in recruitment requirements.
2. Develop Itinerary
Once the trip's type and purpose is determined, you can work with your partner to select activities that will achieve the trip’s intended purpose. These activities make up your itinerary.
.The ethical framework outlined in the first section of this website should continue to act as a filter to ensure the activities you select are ethical.
Choosing a date
Remember to consider the best interests of the community and receiving organisation, not just those of the team members, when choosing a time for a trips. Teams can cause significant disruption to a local organisation, development project or communities, therefore we need to put their interests first.
For example: sending a skilled team to teach teachers might work for the team's school holidays but not align with the local school holidays, meaning that children's schooling is disrupted because their teachers are required to attend. Remember to ask yourself, "if it was reversed, how would I feel, or how would the STM trip impact my organisation?"
To the best of your ability, choose activities in accordance with the ethical framework. Once your draft itinerary is developed, use the self-assessment tool below to help you evaluate your planned activities. This acts as a further safeguard against causing unintentional harm to the communities and children your team will visit.
Set trip expectations
You may need to be prepared to explain to potential team members why they won't be permitted to participate in activities that don’t meet your ethical approach. This is particular important if you’ve recently made changes and are ceasing certain activities that have been heavily promoted or are popular.
3. Select a team leader
Selecting the right team leader to lead the team is another vital step.
The team leader needs to:
- Have the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to lead the team. This requirement will change depending on the type of trip.
- Have a clear understanding their role and responsibilities.
- Be very familiar with child protection policy and code of conduct and be well equipped to respond to child protection incidents or other issues.
- Maintain good communication and collaboration throughout the trip with the receiving organisation.
- Be able to help the team members process, reflect and form valid conclusions, with respect to what they are experiencing and learning throughout the trip.
- Be able to manage expectations and address conflicts.