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After taking early retirement, former teacher Lorraine Dodge spent two years with VSO in the rural area of Kaski in Nepal. Using her vast experience in the UK education system her volunteer placement involved influencing education officials, head teachers and teachers to deliver a higher standard of teaching for Nepalese children.
Dr Sandra Subtil is on a RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) VSO placement at a rural hospital near the Southeast coast of Tanzania. She is working on a project called ‘No Baby Left Out’ which involves improving hospital and rural care of newborn babies to tackle unnecessarily high rates of neonatal mortality in the region. Working alongside local medical professionals, she’s helping to improve use of triage cards, improve postnatal care on the wards and establish a newborn ward with dedicated staff and good equipment.
VSO has supported the development of the mental health sector over the last 15 years, helping to create more clinics and rehabilitation centres as well as establishing training programmes to raise standards of mental healthcare. An estimated 2.5 million Sri Lankans have been reached by the efforts of VSO volunteers during this time. Chandani’s experience illustrates how VSO’s intervention has helped transform one woman’s potentially bleak future into a much brighter one.
Following the discovery of untapped gas reserves off the coast of Tanzania, the potential for rapid economic growth in the Mtwara region is unprecedented. In a country where 60 percent of women live in absolute poverty, VSO has partnered with multinational BG Group and the Tanzanian government to improve the standards of vocational skills training that will enable not only men, but also women to benefit from the anticipated surge in employment opportunities.
In Tanzania 60% of women live in absolute poverty even though they make up an estimated 80% of the agricultural labour force. Women are the main producers of cash crops, yet rarely gain access to the wealth they generate.
28 year-old Betty Nyaga was abducted during the civil conflict that ravaged northern Uganda for over 20 years. Taken by rebels at the age of 15, she remained in captivity for six years, and became a mother to two children. VSO volunteers are working through the local government in northern Uganda to rebuild the lives of young people like Betty, and hundreds of other war-affected youth by nurturing self-sufficiency through enterprise and local governance.
More than half of the world's out‐of‐school children live in just 15 countries, and nearly three million of them are in Ethiopia. Pupils are often passive recipients of knowledge, which can be ineffective at engaging students to think critically and creatively. Ex-head teacher James Elford is spending two years as a VSO volunteer, rolling out a programme that promotes a modern and interactive approach to primary teaching in remote parts of Western Ethiopia.
Anaesthetic doctors play a vital role in preventing unnecessary deaths occurring before, during and after surgery. Ethiopia currently has one anaesthetist for every 5.3 million people, which amounts to 17 in the entire country. VSO volunteer Dr Tom Bashford spent one year at a busy urban hospital alongside local health workers sharing simple practices that can mean the difference between life and death.
Hotels all over Zanzibar are benefiting from the island’s status as a top holiday destination – but poor communities barely get a look-in. VSO volunteers like Maurice Kwame are working with these communities to ensure that they too can reap the rewards of tourism. Here we discover how one rural women’s group is taking action by fattening crabs and selling them to top hotels.
July 2012 marks South Sudan’s first anniversary as the world’s newest country but many women continue to face abuse and unfair discrimination. Neil Shepherd is one of VSO’s first volunteers working in-country. He is supporting grassroots women’s groups that work with survivors of violence, war widows, young girls and displaced South Sudanese returnees.