(WORLDWIDE OPPORTUNITIES ON ORGANIC FARMS)
ASSOCIATION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT
Article 1. Overview And Validity of the Regulation
The present regulation has been approved by the General Assembly on 1 March 2014 and details the conduct and the internal procedures of the association. Whereas not amended at the General Assembly, it applies to all members.
Article 2. Activities of the Association
2.1. Learning Centres
The activities of WI mainly take place at learning centres which develop projects to disseminate ideas and practices to strike a balance between man and nature, and initiatives in line with the principles of social development. Members participate in WI activities as Hosts, WWOOFERS at the learning centres, or in any other capacity regarded as useful and in line with the principles and the purpose of the association.
Those running family-owned or business-oriented farms can join WI as Hosts, provided that their lifestyle is in line with its articles of association and the relevant values, and that their relationship with nature is founded on the principles of organic farming. They can establish learning centres, making their premises available to perform educational, managerial, promotion and hosting tasks and activities typical of a network of learning centres.
Along with their application, prospective hosts will provide a brief description of their premise and their life plan. Other requirements or exception to the admission criteria will be laid down by the association and more specifically by the Executive Board, in consideration of the purpose and the needs of the WI project.
The eligibility of a learning centre is assessed by the Executive Board, which will make a final decision after meeting the prospective Host and after the WI area coordinator, if any, has visited and reported on his/her premises. Upon admission and payment of the membership fees, the learning centre becomes part of the “network of farms” of the ongoing year.
Hosts will maintain their status until the end of the same year (December the 31st), which shall be renewed by June the 30th of the following year. Unless otherwise decided by the General Assembly, a new application for admission shall be submitted, should the host fail to meet the renewal deadline. For applications submitted after September the 30th, the admission will be effective starting from the following year.
Hosts’ membership fees do not include insurance coverage. Hosts who want to participate in WI activities as WWOOFERS on a temporary basis must have previously informed the association in order to amend their insurance policy. Unless otherwise decided by the Executive Board, in the event of prolonged absence, the Host will suspend the activities of the learning centre he manages or will appoint someone who will be in charge while he is away.
Those who, in keeping with the articles of association and the values of the association, want to temporarily experience its lifestyle and everyday activities at one of the learning centres can join WI as WWOOFERS. Upon admission on the part of the Executive Board and payment of the membership fees, the members registered as WWOOFERS can stay at and voluntarily contribute to one of the learning centres, without any relations of subordination and without requirements in terms of working hours and tasks. Such contribution should be provided considering one’s possibilities, experience and aptitudes and should also involve the daily activities concerning the management of the centre and one’s stay. WWOOFERS membership has a duration of one year to be calculated from the first day of registration and can be renewed within six months of expiration. Once the six-month deadline has passed, a new admission application must be submitted.
2.4. Relationships between Hosts and WWOOFERS (WWOOFING)
Hosts will welcome WWOOFERS, with whom they will share their daily routine and to whom they will pass on knowledge and motivation related to their choice and their work as farmers to safeguard the environment. This will help WWOOFERS to benefit from their experience.
Hosts are in charge of WWOOFERS’ health and safety during their stay at the learning centre, relieving WI of any responsibility in this connection, notwithstanding the insurance coverage provided to WWOOFERS detailed below.
Hospitality and other benefits provided by the Hosts to WWOOFERS, as well as the services rendered from the latter to the former, are not founded on any contractual tie. Thus they are not to be intended as labour or services performed in exchange of remuneration or payment, but as a form of participation in the association given as a member of WI to fulfil the objectives and the purposes of the learning centre.
The work performed by Hosts and WWOOFERS, even that benefitting one of the parties, contributes to fulfilling the association’s purpose and must be carried out in compliance with the articles of association, the present regulation and the rules for a peaceful coexistence.
The conclusion of salaried, quasi-salaried, and self-employment contracts between the Hosts and the WWOOFERS goes beyond the purpose of the association and should be done in compliance with relevant legislation.
Hosts and WWOOFERS are both responsible for compliance with the provisions on the hospitality and the stay of the other members at the learning centres.
ARTICLE 3. WOOFERS’ INSURANCE
WWOOFERS are given insurance coverage which is included in the membership fee, the terms of which are available at the WI website or at the WI administration office.
WWOOFERS are recommended to use manual tools or, whereas necessary, low-power mechanical or electrical ones. As detailed in the insurance policy, these devices should be utilized in compliance with their instructions and safety regulations.
The use of dangerous power-driven machinery for which expertise and special skills are required is strictly prohibited and will be regarded as a serious violation. Examples include: chainsaws, bladed tools, rotavators, and tractors. They are not in line with the woofing principles and their use will not be covered by the insurance policy. Hosts and WWOOFERS share joint and several liability for non-compliance with the foregoing provisions.
ARTICLE 4. THE WWOOF NETWORK AND COORDINATORS
4.1. The WWOOF Network
Members shall promote and favour the establishment of networks of learning centres, in order to enhance the synergic interaction and the free exchange of experiences and knowledge among participants. This will support the development and the establishment of projects at the association, which will involve social actors and those concerned.
In compliance with the powers laid down by the articles of association and based on the decision and the indication of the General Assembly, the Executive Board can assign members coordination and development tasks concerning WI activities and networks in a given area, in order to facilitate relations with the learning centres and between the learning centres and the hosts.
Coordinators are authorized by the Executive Board to carry out inspections and to make direct contact with Hosts in their own area. In selecting the coordinators, the Executive Board will consider such criteria as their seniority as members, experience and their capability to monitor the area. The appointment as coordinator does not entail rights and obligations other than those as members, save for tasks and delegations which might be assigned by the Executive Board on a case-by-case basis.
ARTICLE 5. CODE OF CONDUCT
5.1. General Rules for Members
Members participate in the projects and activities of the association on a voluntary basis, sharing their purpose and objectives. In carrying out projects and activities concerning the association, relations between members must be founded on mutual respect, fairness, and clarity, without prejudice to what is stated in Article 2.4.
Knowledge and experience will be exchanged taking into account the same life plan. This will take place without any form or subordination or remuneration and through a spirit of collaboration and conviviality in leisure and working time.
Members have a joint responsibility to ensure compliance with the articles of association and the present regulation and are obliged to verify that the members they come to know are regularly registered with WI.
Employing members to substitute employees in salaried work is strictly prohibited and constitutes a serious violation, as do concluding employment relationships involving subordination in terms of working time and tasks or collaborations implying the performance of labour, or providing remuneration without abiding to necessary legislation.
The association deems useful to establish procedures and mechanisms allowing members to highlight positive experiences and to report any conduct which is not in line with the association principles and values.
The member who believes that another member’s conduct conflicts with the principle of WI, the articles of association, the present regulation or is potentially harmful to the association, his person or third parties, has the obligation to submit a detailed report to the counsellors (email@example.com) through the online procedure available on the WI website.
The report shall be brief and detailed and shall be signed. The content of the document and the identity of the signatory will be treated with confidentiality.
Unless the report is evidently inconsistent, the Executive Board authorizes the counsellor or the area coordinator to inform the member about the report against him, without any prejudice and in order to make him/her aware of it. If the member concerned finds the report well-founded, he/she will act according to the regulation and ethics of the association. If the report is deemed to be unjustified, the member concerned will try to avoid causing the same complaint in the future.
Subsequently, the counsellor or the area coordinator will inform the Executive Board about the meeting with the member.
The Executive Board will evaluate the seriousness of the act reported, the outcome of the meeting with the member concerned and other relevant circumstances and will decide the sanction to be inflicted to the latter.
The decision about the application of the sanction is by no means related to the evaluation of the consistency of the report, as this falls outside the remit of WI.
The Executive Board promptly informs the Board of Arbitrators and the member concerned about the decision of the disciplinary proceedings and sanction assigned, if any.
The Executive Board also apprises the other members of the possible suspension or expulsion of the member from WI in the manner considered most appropriate.
Even if regarded as a serious one, whereas a complaint has been filed against a member for the first time, the Executive Board might not inflict any sanction considering its possible inconsistency. Following a three-year period without any complaint of the same type, the other complaints about the same member are nullified. If the member becomes the subject of several complaints from a number of members concerning the same episode or the same time period, such notifications are regarded as one and are more carefully considered by the Executive Board. The sanctions applicable to members concern suspension and expulsion.
Suspension refers to the temporary exclusion of the member from the activities and the projects of WI for a maximum period of two years. Suspension might be inflicted:
- in the event of three complaints regarded as not serious and concerning the same issue;
- in the event of a number of complaints covering different aspects;
- if the Executive Board thinks it necessary to safeguard the association.
Expulsion refers to the permanent loss of WI membership. It can be inflicted in the event of serious complaints or violations concerning the articles of association and the present regulation, or result from a member’s conduct which is incompatible with the principles and the purpose of WI making their participation in the association untenable.
5.3.2. Challenging the Executive Board’s Decision
Members who have been sanctioned can submit their appeal to the Executive Board by the end of the ongoing year. The appeal will be discussed between the member sanctioned and the Executive Board, with the latter that can also require the presence of one or more coordinators. If the case is settled, the Executive Board will inform the Board of Arbitrators. Whereas the case is not settled at first instance, the member sanctioned can appeal to the Board of Arbitrators within thirty days from the decision of the Executive Board. The decision of the Board of Directors is taken in camera and cannot be challenged.
ARTICLE 6. Referral Clause
For any case which is not covered by this regulation, the provisions of relevant legislation, the articles of association and the decisions made by the bodies of the association should apply.