Our Story

OG logo

We started as a group of friends with well-worn backpacks looking to find a more nuanced perspective of the world.

Is volunteering abroad helping or harming what people called ‘the developing world’? Is there a way for us to contribute to development while also critiquing it? What’s the best ice cream flavour, really?

In 2006, we boarded a flight to Accra, Ghana to find answers to these questions. When we touched down, we were hit with a barrage of sights, sounds, and smells that shattered our preconceived notions of the ‘developing’ world. Rather than stumbling into a destitute wasteland, we were greeted by a beautiful, bustling city, rich with culture and hospitality.

At the same time, however, we were confronted with challenges that could not be ignored. Why does global poverty plague much of the world while billions of dollars are poured into development projects around the globe? We learned that governments, charities, and international institutions often push their agenda without consulting the communities they are ‘developing.’

We realized that a project has significantly higher impact if it is undertaken in collaboration with the community. Not as a handout, not as charity – but in solidarity.

We began talking to local NGOs and community leaders about what their real needs were. We created partnerships with local charities, community leaders, and local governments. We began building a program that didn’t just plop a volunteer into a project. Instead, we combined community service with an educational program that taught team members the context needed to understand local challenges before even trying to solve them.

From one pilot program to West Africa, we’ve grown to run a total of 248 programs to 19 countries around the world. We bring cool, caring people together who want to explore the world while actively shaping it. We’re sparking a movement of globally active and socially conscious travellers. Wanna join?


The year OG hit the ground running


Countries we've explored


OG Alumni


Experienced program leaders all over the world

Our Manifesto

Ethical travel and responsible international volunteering is at the heart of all that we do – both abroad and at home. But what exactly does that mean? Crafted collaboratively by our family of alumni, program leaders, and community partners, our manifesto serves as our compass.

If Not Now, Then When?

Join our growing community of ethical travellers and explore our world in a genuine and meaningful way.