Influencing and advocacy
VSO influences policy at national, regional and international levels. We bring the experience of volunteers, partners and marginalised people to decision makers.
We achieved salary reform for Cambodian teachers. In Zambia we are working towards legislation that will give marginalised people, including women, improved rights over their land. Around the world, our work amplifying the voices of the poorest is making change happen.
Find out about:
- VSO and the Sustainable Development Goals
- Parliamentary volunteering
- How to meet your MP (in the UK)
- Other ways you can make change happen
VSO and the Sustainable Development Goals
We used our networks to influence the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is an ambitious set of goals and targets that will guide global development until 2030.
We worked hard to make sure that the SDGs recognised that:
- achieving gender equality and women's rights is central to reducing poverty;
- people must be engaged in their own development; and,
- the unique role that volunteers can play in achieving the SDGs.
VSO's programmes are aligned to many of the SDGs. We are supporting volunteers, partners and communities to hold leaders accountable to their commitments.
Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals
We support Parliamentarians to volunteer through short-term, high-impact placements. VSO matches them to programmes where they can make the best use of their skills and expertise.
Since 2005, almost 50 Parliamentarians from the UK have taken part in the programme. They include:
Kate Green MP, Shadow Minister for Disability
Volunteered with the National Union of Disability Organisations Rwanda (NUDOR), and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), helping them raise disability issues with the Government.
“I learnt as much from my visit as the knowledge I was able to share with my hosts about the UK. Indeed, many of the issues we face are the same in both countries – the stigma and social isolation faced by disabled people, the poor health, educational and employment outcomes they experience, and worries about assessments for benefits and support.”
Alastair Carmichael, former Secretary of State for Scotland
Part of a VSO project in Cameroon working for Aide Legale Liberale, an organisation which aims to provide free legal representation for those who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
"In the course of Thursday alone we saw orphans driven from their homes by relatives; widows deprived of their property rights on inheritance; a victim of assault in police custody; a human rights activist who had got on the wrong side of a powerful local man beaten and shot for his pains; representatives of minority ethnic communities suffering discrimination and persecution and much more besides."
Worked with Parliamentarians across Southern Africa to help them argue for evidence-based policies on issues of sexual and reproductive health and child marriage. Mozambican Hon. Beatriz Chaguala MP was so inspired by Baroness Barker’s training on Child marriage that she replicated the training in her own community, working with over 600 communty leaders to raise awareness about the harmful impact of early and forced marriage.
"All across the developing world, there are thousands of people with great ideas trying to do good work. But it's only when the voluntary sector, those who are in elected positions, civil servants and professional agencies all work together [that] you get lasting change. Politicians very rarely get the chance to talk to people and share experiences and learn from one another. It is immensely valuable."
Completed two placements as a Parliamentary Volunteer with VSO in the Philippines. Lord McConnell helped Beyond 2015 (a coalition of Filipino campaign groups) influence the build-up towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
“During my time in the Philippines I have seen the importance of organisations such as VSO and Beyond 2015. They work with Filipino volunteers and civil society to make sure this is a locally led effort. I want the negotiations about future development goals to include these local voices.”
Meet your MP
If you live in the UK, VSO can help you contact and meet your political representatives. You can help increase political will to tackle poverty by sharing your experiences and concerns with them.
Hundreds of VSO volunteers and supporters contact their representatives about international development issues. For example, in the build-up to Parliamentary debates on the 0.7% foreign aid expenditure target. They also strengthened VSO’s Women in Power campaign, fighting for women's empowerment.
Remember your local MP exists to represent you. Make sure they hear your story.
For more information and guidance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways to make change happen
If you want to fight global poverty and inequality, we want to help you. We can support you to: