VSO’s 2013-2014 annual report released this week shows it is cementing its role as a leading international development charity that fights poverty through volunteering.
Over the last year, the charity’s income rose from £57 million to £68.7million – an increase of 20%. This is particularly impressive given the challenging economic climate. Growth was represented across all income streams, with individual giving increasing by 17%, and legacies growing by an impressive 75% in the UK.
Among other notable successes was the launch of a Sisters for Sisters Education programme in Nepal, where older girls mentor younger girls who are at risk of leaving schooling altogether. This is an example of how increasingly both international and national volunteers come together in the same programme. In tandem with this work, VSO Nepal successfully lobbied for Early Childhood Development Coordinators to receive a pay rise, helping continue 50 years of work on improving the quality of primary education in the country.
Amanda Bringans, VSO’s interim CEO said:
“VSO has a very positive story to tell. Over the past year the organisation has helped improve the lives of over two million people, living in 35 countries. Our country offices have some really strong programmes in place and built new partnerships at a grassroots and corporate level, highlighting the unique and vital role we play in development. As well as securing new income, VSO improved how we evidence our impact and this all paints a picture that there is growing appreciation of the power of volunteering for development.”
This year, VSO opened a new office in Myanmar’s capital Yangon. Having worked with migrant communities on the Thailand–Myanmar border since 1999, this marks a response to the changing political environment. The first three international volunteers arrived in February 2014 and a further 13 teacher trainer volunteers are scheduled to arrive in late August.
VSO’s playing a growing role on the international stage by contributing to the wider development debate. This is celebrated in the annual report film, with an account of how Cath Nixon, a volunteer health worker from the UK, attended the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, in March 2014.
VSO is an active participant is discussions about the Millennium Development Goals, advocating for the inclusion of gender and volunteerism in the successor framework.
Contact Ruby Wright from the VSO press office on 020 8780 7640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Journalists with urgent out-of-hours queries, call 07500 918 478.
Key facts on VSO from Annual Report 2013/2014
• VSO supported over 660 partners, working at every level of society, from government organisations at a national level to health and education facilities at a local level.
• VSO supported education services in 16 countries this year, working with 167 partners including local, regional and national education authorities, teacher training colleges, parent–teacher associations, and civil society organisations.
• 192,322 people benefited from improved HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, and care and support services as a result of VSO’s Regional AIDS Initiative of Southern Africa (RAISA) across seven countries.
• VSO worked with 74 participation and governance partners, including human rights organisations, women’s groups and government departments, in 18 countries.
• VSO supported secure livelihood projects in 22 countries, working with 197 partners including government departments, social enterprises, private sector companies, technical schools and training institutes.
• 1,487 VSO international volunteers worked in our programmes, providing over 301,980 volunteering days.
• 1,197 national volunteers recruited and placed by VSO contributed over 157,390 volunteering days.
VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas – brings people together to fight poverty through the lasting power of volunteering. We work alongside communities worldwide to create positive change. Our programmes are in some of the world’s poorest countries, reaching millions of people through improved access to services in education, health, HIV/AIDS, disability, and governance. VSO’s vision is of a world without poverty, but we can only achieve this by working together.