The Livelihoods Volunteer Award recognises the commitment and impact of a volunteer on one of our resilient livelihoods programmes over the past year.
- Christine Ogola, Kenya: Youth engagement programme
- Daniel Adotu, Uganda: Rural resilience in refugee communities
- Isaya Victor, Tanzania: National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN)
- Mirjam Schaap, Uganda and remote: Youth Empowerment, Employment and Entrepreneurship (YEEP)
Winner: Christine Ogola
Kenya: Youth engagement programme
Christine first volunteered with VSO on an ICS project in 2018. Since then, she has delivered a range of community projects with VSO Kenya, from empowering children with disabilities to develop resilient livelihoods, to training young people in developing business plans and employability skills. As an ICS alumnus, Christine is a founding member of the Nairobi chapter of the Youth for Sustainable Development network – an initiative that brings young people together to address challenges, volunteer in communities, develop skills, and deliver sustainable development projects.
Uganda: Rural resilience in refugee communities
Daniel volunteers in the Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in north-western Uganda – temporarily home to over 120,000 people, many of whom are going hungry due to disrupted food and aid supplies as a result of COVID-19. Daniel has led the distribution of emergency food and hygiene supplies to 1,000 of the camp’s most vulnerable households, including older residents and those living with disabilities or with HIV.
Daniel was first inspired to support at-risk communities in 2012, when he witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of drought on smallholder farmers’ crops. Since then, he has studied for a master’s degree examining how farmers can adapt to the impacts of climate change, and in 2019 he developed a country-wide emergency response plan for Uganda, training VSO staff and volunteers in resilience and disaster risk reduction.
Tanzania: National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN)
As a key member of Tanzania’s National Youth Engagement Network, Isaya supports marginalised young people – especially those living with disabilities – to participate in our employability programmes and out-of-school networks, which empower youth to take a lead in their lives and careers. By creating safe spaces for young people to discuss the barriers they face and work together on solutions to overcome them, alongside representing youth issues at local and community government meetings, Isaya and his team-mates are ensuring that Tanzanian young people aren’t left behind.
As leader of a group for young people with disabilities, Isaya played a key role in our COVID-19 response, building awareness, encouraging healthy behaviours, and supporting marginalized and vulnerable communities to access essential PPE equipment.
Uganda and remote: Youth Empowerment, Employment and Entrepreneurship (YEEP)
Mirjam began her international volunteering placement in Uganda, delivering face-to-face training on life skills and career guidance to primary actors. When COVID-19 forced her to return home to the Netherlands, Mirjam continued to work remotely, developing essential learning documentation and implementation guides on key resilient livelihoods approaches. She also supported the delivery of training sessions in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The impact of Mirjam’s work will continue long after the end of her placement: the knowledge products she created are now being replicated across other livelihoods projects, and the training she delivered has built staff capacity.