COMO FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR CHALLENGE: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I participate?
Sign up for an information session first, then go to www.como.bz/foundation/staff to
download the entry form or obtain one from your Human Resources Department. Just
fill out the form and return it to Rachel.Chhoa-Howard@como.bz by email or to your HR
department in hard copy before 20 August 2010.
Is everybody eligible to enter the competition?
This challenge is open to all permanent employees of the COMO Group, which includes all
COMO Shambhala facilities, COMO Hotels and Resorts properties, Club 21 offices, DKNY
Jeans and Armani Exchange. If you are a new employee, currently on probation, please
include a note of support from your supervisor in your application.
Where can I find more information about the groups and locations?
A special website at www.como.bz/foundation/staff has been prepared for you. Visit the
site to learn about the groups; the site also provides links to the groups’ own websites,
if they have them. If you do not have access to the internet, your Human Resources
Department also has a set of profiles of participating groups.
Will I be asked to go to another location that I did not choose?
No, you will not.
Are all locations safe for women?
The locations are not particularly dangerous for women, but Ambassadors are cautioned to
exercise usual vigilance for their own safety.
Can I handwrite/type my application?
Yes, you can. Submit your completed application to your Human Resources Department.
Is there a limit to how much I can write?
No. If you run out of space, feel free to attach another sheet.
Do you need a picture of me?
Not at the moment. If you win, we will probably ask for a photo so that we can feature you
in our in-house magazines! (See “Upon Your Return” section below)
How can I submit my application?
Online by downloading the form from www.como.bz/foundation/staff and then emailing the
completed form to Rachel.Chhoa-Howard@como.bz. Alternatively, obtain a form from your
Human Resources Department and submit it back to the Department. Closing date is 20
How do you select the winner?
Evaluations of applications will be based on their answer to the questions in the application
form. Most important is personal interest, passion and compassion as well as a good
match of skill sets if host organizations have specified.
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
11. Why do I have to use my annual leave?
We hope that you have a fantastic time as a COMO Ambassador, and would be willing to
contribute your own time and leave.
12. Do I have to make my own travel arrangements?
You will be expected to take the initiative with obtaining visas, insurance and vaccinations.
Your property’s or company’s travel planners will help you organise your travel
13. Can I choose when I go?
To a degree. You can suggest when you would like to go, but must apply for leave as per
normal procedure, and consult your supervisor so that operations can continue smoothly.
Since our partners will be hosting you, the timing of your trip must also suit them.
14. Do I have to be physically fit and able?
You should not require any specialised medical care, be fit enough to carry your own
luggage and travel safely. Most important, you need an adventurous spirit!
15. Do I need any vaccinations?
A few countries do require vaccinations. You may have already received some of this so it is
worth checking your medical records. Please see table below.
Typhoid Hepatitis A Diphtheria Yellow Fever
• • • *
• • *
• • • *
• • • *
• • • *
• • *
• • • *
• • • *
Certificate of vaccination may be required, if traveling from (or in transit via) a yellow fever infected
area in Africa or the Americas
16. Can I stay longer if I want?
Yes you can. You will have to apply for additional leave and cover your expenses incurred
during the additional days.
17. Do I need to be more knowledgeable about the COMO Foundation before I leave?
Yes. As you will be a representative of both COMO and the Foundation, it would be good
for you to familiarize yourself with the Foundation’s work. We will work with you to be
confident in answering questions about the Foundation.
DURING YOUR TRIP
18. How long will I be away?
Each trip will be 5-7 days long, approximately 3-5 days in the country and 2 travelling days.
19. Do I have to travel on my own?
As you will be hosted by our Foundation partners, you should be on your own for the actual
visit. If you decide to extend your trip, you are welcome, at your own expense, to travel with
a relative or a friend on those additional days, during which your itinerary is completely up
20. How do I travel around the destination country? How will I know what to do?
Once you arrive at the destination airport, you will be met by representatives from our
partner organisation. You will be hosted by the partner organisation during your three day
visit: they will plan your itinerary, take you around to visit the sights,people and projects, and
even organise meals for you.
21. What sort of accommodation will be available?
The Foundation’s partner will select suitable accommodation for you. It may be a hotel,
guesthouse, or even someone’s home (this is a great way to experience a different culture,
and a real privilege in many societies).
22. Are these places dangerous?
Ambassadors are cautioned to exercise usual vigilance for their own safety, and also to
consult their embassies for travel warnings.
23. What language ability do I need to have?
For many of our Foundation partners, English is their second language. It would be ideal
if you spoke the first language of the country you are visiting, but if not, you should be
conversant in English.
24. Will I have any problems with the food?
Our partners will try their best to accommodate any food restrictions for health or religious
reasons, though it would be best if you could partake in the local food offered as that is a
great way to experience a culture.
Do note that it may be difficult to accommodate very restrictive diets, and you are
encouraged to research the local cuisine of the country you are applying to visit.
25. What equipment do I need to take with me?
Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, etc) and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. You
should also bring a digital camera so that you can record your experiences. If you do not
have a digital camera, the Foundation or your company will loan you one.
What expenses does the prize cover?
Your airfare, visas, vaccinations and insurance are all covered. If you cannot fly direct or
there are no direct connecting flights, the Foundation will give you a fixed amount (per diem)
to cover en route lodging, meals or incidentals. The per diem will be based on official
United Nations rates for specific countries.
Once you arrive at the destination country, you will be hosted by the Foundation’s partner.
This means that your meals, transport and lodging will be provided. If all meals are not
provided (e.g. breakfast), you will be given a proportionate per diem to cover these meals
before you leave.
DURING YOUR TRIP (CONTINUED)
27. Do I have any spending money?
You will be given USD 100 as your own spending money.
28. What do I have to pay for?
You will have to pay for any additional sightseeing that you may choose to do outside the
itinerary planned by the Foundation’s partner, or any gifts or mementos that you purchase.
29. Is there anything I have to do besides visit?
You should visit with an open and curious mind, using the opportunity to get to know the
culture and environment of the place you visit, as well as the host organisation. Ask lots of
questions, seek to understand the social problems they are working to address, and their
programmes. Take lots of pictures to share with colleagues; the Foundation will ask you to
share your photos for use by the Foundation, crediting you as the photographer.
Most organisations have also stated specific ways in which you can contribute to their
work. Please review the organisation profiles.
UPON YOUR RETURN
30. What information would I need to share when I get back?
We would like to know your observations of the partner organisation and the
country you visited, and how your experience made an impact on you. We would like a
report of your visit, both to learn about your trip as well as to improve the system for future
such competitions. Your report will also be used as the basis for articles for At Home,
Home from Home, internal communication and/or the website. We also ask that you make
a presentation of your trip to your colleagues. If you do not feel that you can produce
a report, the Foundation will work with you on that. If you feel nervous about doing a
presentation, your Human Resources Department will coach you. A knowledge of Word or
Powerpoint is preferable but NOT REQUIRED for application and will have no bearing on
the selection process.
Will I be featured in the staff magazine/At Home?
Yes. We hope that your stories will be inspirational and insightful.