Ghanaian Cocoa farmer

Vision, values and strategy

A fair world for everyone

Creating lasting change through volunteering

We bring people together to address marginalisation and poverty.

We fight poverty not by sending aid, but by working through volunteers and partners to create long-lasting change in the some of the world’s poorest regions.

We know, from over sixty years of experience, that when teachers pass on their skills to others, when community groups are shown reliable sources of income, and when governments are helped to make systems fairer, this brings about lasting change. 

Our values

Pramila showing her work to her mother. Pramila, 13, is a ‘Little Sister’ on VSO’s Sisters for Sisters’ Education (S4S) project in Surkhet, Nepal.


  • Empower poor and marginalised people to take charge of their own development
  • Share skills and knowledge to create long lasting, sustainable change 
  • Build collaborative partnerships that promote innovation, growth and impact


  • Lead volunteering for development, setting the standard for ourselves and others
  • Use evidence and insight to guide our actions
  • Recruit the right people and work where we have the greatest impact


  • Stand beside and advocate for those who have been denied choice and opportunity
  • Promote diversity and equality throughout our work
  • Encourage different, inquisitive perspectives


  • Commit to safeguarding and take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and harm
  • Treat others with respect, as equals
  • Be open, transparent and accountable in everything we do
Volunteer teaching advisor Jan Tomas and colleagues, Rwanda
Alice Kiyabanda

People First

Our strategy, People First, sets out how we will increase our impact against marginalisation and poverty:

  • Extend and deepen our impact through our programmes
  • Mobilise global citizens to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Position volunteering as a powerful contribution to delivery of the SDGs

People First [PDF] 

Working together

At VSO, we believe progress is only possible when we work together.

Partnerships lie at the root of all the positive transformation that we create. Together, we work on programme development and delivery, research, advocacy and fundraising.


Find out more about VSO