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Induction week

Ananda Gaorii inspired Ängsbacka, Sieben Linden Ecovillage and Cloughjordan Community Farm to adopt this practice.

They all now follow a week-long Induction process for newly-arrived Volunteers.


What is it/ How do you do it?

During the first week, Volunteers are introduced to the basic structure of the community in a pre-arranged, week-long, timetabled Induction Programme.

Volunteers are given a print-out of that timetable, making it clear where they ought to be at any given time. 

They can also be paired up with a “Buddy” who has been in the organisation long enough to show them around and answer questions.  



  • Over the course of the week: Introductions are given to each Volunteer’s working area, although Volunteers are generally not expected to work very much (if at all) during this first week.
    However they can still be introduced to those individuals with whom they will be working in different capacities, including: Supervisors, Mentors and other people with specific roles related to their work. 
  • They also get to meet as many community members as possible or appropriate (depending on the size of the community).
    The Volunteers receive introductions as to how everything works in the community and what they need to know for everyday life, as well as about the daily and weekly rhythms.
  • There is time reserved for any necessary bureaucracy to be completed (such as going to town and registering as a resident, for example). 
  • Some communities such as Cloughjordan also provide team-building sessions, and introductory workshops in topics such as Non-Violent Communication and Consent and Boundaries:
  • At Cloughjordan Community Farm, these activities are structured in a way to facilitate the Volunteers getting to know each other, and to slowly begin to open up to each other. For example, when they are encouraged to talk about themselves, at first they are not asked any personal questions; then as the week progresses and the Volunteers become more comfortable with each other, they are encouraged to express more vulnerability (if they are comfortable with this).
  • At the same time, practices such as Reflective Listening are introduced, which promote empathy. As are exercises in which they may be split into pairs, to  support them to form connections with each other.
  • Volunteers may also be introduced to decision making practices (in Cloughjordan, the Volunteers are guided through a decision-making process on the first day, to decide who will be taking which bedroom in their shared houses).



If all the previous Volunteers have already left and there is no overlap between the groups, it’s wise to prepare during this time for the sudden shortage of people to help out in key areas where Volunteers usually work (kitchen, garden, etc.).

When planning this Induction Week, it’s good to remember to keep a balance of different types of activities.  For example, regularly switching between sitting and movement related activities is helpful. It’s also helpful to include fun, social activities. 



  • Volunteers feel less overwhelmed and confused about being in a new place if the introduction process is clearly structured.
  • They feel welcomed to the community, and get a clearer understanding of where they are and what they will be doing.
  • They are also introduced to the social culture and practices of the community, and begin to practise skills that will support them to live in community themselves, and to avoid conflict.
  • They build up strong connections with other Volunteers, and begin to form relationships with other community members.



  • Be aware that Volunteers may not retain everything, especially if there is a lot of new info in a short space of time. Important information is best repeated and should also be readily available elsewhere.


Example:  Sieben Linden Ecovillage