You can make a real difference by volunteering with VSO. Your skills could help communities in the world's poorest countries and have a lasting effect on future generations.
Each year, VSO improves healthcare for around five million people. We help around 14 million children get a better education and improve HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support for over 5.5 million people. That’s not to mention our livelihoods and governance programmes.
People bring about change
All of this is accomplished by volunteers: national volunteers, who work within their own communities; youth volunteers, who come together across cultures to work on community projects, and international volunteers, who work in their area of professional expertise.
As ever, the statistics don’t tell the whole story. For example, across five countries (Ghana, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Namibia and Thailand) we’ve improved the quality of education for almost half a million girls. That’s a wonderful thing in itself, but it also has some important knock-on effects: research shows that the longer a girl stays in school, the higher her income will be, the less likely she is to contract HIV, the fewer children she’ll have and the healthier those children will be.
The ripple effect
In addition to helping fill skills gaps, many of our international volunteers work to build the capacity of organisations that serve poor people. That means your work can have a ripple effect that touches people you’ll never even meet. For example, one of our volunteers recently helped create the very first course for nursing trainers in Sierra Leone. Her work is not only now benefiting those nurse trainers, but also the nurses they’ve taught, and every patient those nurses will ever see.
Like anything worth doing, some placements will be more successful than others. But in interviews conducted with returned volunteers, 95% felt that they made a difference to the people they lived and worked with.