Can we mend, not end, voluntourism?

Volunteer travel has come under ever increasing scrutiny recently with numerous criticisms over who really benefits from the growing voluntourism industry and questions on the true, lasting value it brings to local communities.

In this experimental discussion format, we're joined by two experts and outspoken voices on voluntourism, Sallie Grayson of People & Places, a responsible volunteering organisation, and Shannon O'Donnell, blogger at and author of The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook.

Shannon and Sallie will be discussing the issues and their perspectives here this week. All are very welcome to join us with questions or comments.

UPDATE: The reaction and interest to this discussion has been astounding, profound thanks to everyone who has contributed such valuable perspectives and expertise, and to all our readers for following along. We're now planning a Google+ Hangout with a number of the participants here, scheduled for Weds 1st October at 12pm ET. See the event page and RSVP here. Hope you can join us!