To negotiate with your volunteers, before they arrive, concerning the needs and expectations of both parties
As your profile is only a brief description of your activities, it is essential to reply to any question that the potential volunteer puts to you. In turn you should also ask the person any questions which you deem necessary. It should be clear to both parties what the exchange is – what type of help you need, for how many hours, and for which accommodation and food.
To provide adequate food and drink
In your profile you must mention if you can provide for vegetarian, vegan or diets including meat. It’s best for both parties that it’s clear beforehand what type of food will be on the table. You can provide the WWOOFer with a mix of food from your own produce, if you have some, or food bought from outside. It’s not necessary that you always prepare the food for the WWOOFer. It’s recommended however to share meals often as it creates a nice atmosphere.
To provide hands-on experience to WWOOFers and be willing to pass on your knowledge to them
WWOOFers should be able to participate in activities which are related to organic agriculture and sustainable living practices. This can include gardening, eco construction, taking care of animals, learning how to preserve and/or prepare food from the garden and so much more.
A WWOOFer will choose to help you because they want to learn about the activities you are engaged in and your lifestyle. Therefore it’s important that you are available and willing to share your knowledge with them.
To be sufficiently insured
WWOOF Belgium does not provide insurance cover for Whosts. Please make sure you are sufficiently covered.
To reply to all contacts from WWOOFers in a timely manner and to inform them promptly if you have to change or cancel arrangements
You should reply to all messages from WWOOFers within a week (maximum 2 weeks), even if it’s just to say « No, sorry we don’t need your help right now » . If you have accepted to welcome a WWOOFer and that for some reason you can no longer host them, then you must let them know this as soon as possible. WWOOFers often have to make many arrangements (such as asking for holidays from work, booking transport tickets etc.) and it’s very frustrating and unfair for them if they have to wait a long time for a reply or get no reply at all.
WWOOF Belgium is very serious about this point and we urge our WWOOFers to inform us if a Whost is not replying within 2 weeks or does not advise them of a change of plan in advance. All concerned Whosts will be contacted by us and if, after warning, they fail to honour this expectation then their membership to WWOOF Belgium can be terminated. We also recommend that Whosts who have to wait too long for a reply from a WWOOFer (more than 2 weeks) or get no reply at all, or are not advised if plans have changed, to contact us so that we can take the necessary actions.
To provide warm, dry, clean and safe accommodation
Accommodation can range from a tent to a private room in your house but can also be in a caravan, a yurt, dorm accommodation etc. In your profile you must mention the type of accommodation you provide. As this can vary according to the season and occupancies it’s best to clarify to the WWOOFer before they arrive what you can offer them.
To be growing organically and using ecologically sustainable methods
You can only become a Whost if you are actively and consciously engaged in organic agriculture and other sustainable living practices. If this is not the case then please refer to other organisations (for example Workaway) to get the help you need from volunteers.
To provide a safe working environment for the WWOOFer and not to request them to perform dangerous tasks or use dangerous machinery
You should limit the risk of injury to the WWOOFer and yourself to a maximum. You should never ask a WWOOFer to do a task which you would not do yourself for safety reasons. WWOOFers should not be requested to work with vehicles (tractor, combine harvestor etc.) or dangerous machinery (chainsaw etc.).
To keep an open mind when meeting people from other cultures
There may be cultural, political, religious, language and many other differences between WWOOFer and Whost. These should not undermine the partnership of trust and respect that unites them. It’s important to be conscious of cultural sensitivities.
To help avoid any uncomfortable situation for you or a WWOOFer, in your host profile you should mention if you or your family or community abide by and partake in cultural/political/religious activities or rituals. Please note that a WWOOFer should never feel like they are obliged to join you in any of these activities or rituals.
To not engage WWOOFers instead of a paid worker, and to accept that there is no financial exchange between WWOOFer and Whost
A WWOOFer should never replace a paid worker. They are helping you voluntarily and you have no status of authority over them such as in a traditional employee/employer relationship. A WWOOFer who provides you the agreed help should not have to pay for accommodation and food. You should not pay them for their help nor pay for any of their personal expenses (eg. Travel, leisure). If for some reason the WWOOFer is kept busy with their tasks for longer hours than expected you should compensate by giving them an extra day off, but not money.