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Latest press releases

Despite adequate numbers of maternal health workers showing up to work, new research published today (Tues 6th October) reveals it was the patients who stayed away at their own peril for fear of catching the disease. 

Women too afraid to give birth in health care centres, in case they caught Ebola, led to higher maternal and newborn death rates in Sierra Leone

Lesson plans delivered to teachers in India via SMS, tablets introduced to classrooms in Malawi to improve numeracy and specialist units created to bring down newborn mortality rates by 40% in five hospitals in Ethiopia, are among VSO’s most successful recent initiatives according to its Annual Report 2014/15 published today.

VSO is calling upon all returned volunteers around the world to contribute to a new study into the long-term impact of volunteering on poverty. To take part in the Long-term Impact of Volunteering study, please register online

A new online study into the long-term impact of volunteers helping to reduce global poverty has been launched by VSO.

In London last night leading figures from the worlds of business and international development gathered to launch VSO Knowledge Exchange.  Seed funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and run by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), VSO Knowledge Exchange offers skilled employees in the private sector a way to volunteer to help change the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest places. 

VSO International - the development organisation which works through volunteers - will be ceasing operations in The Gambia from 30th June 2015. 

It is now 100 days until world leaders meet at the United Nations in New York to agree on a new agenda for people and the planet – the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Sustainable Development Goals map out 17 goals for all nations to end poverty, reduce inequality and sustain the environment to 2030.  The Goals mark a new era in international development and the current draft acknowledges the important role of volunteering in their implementation.

This week the UN released a ‘zero draft’ document outlining how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will look. VSO welcomes the high level of ambition in the draft SDGs. It’s essential that this ambition does not waiver over the next few months, as the details are finalised. 

VSO believes that the SDGs should be driven by people, not by governments or politics. The draft alludes to this, way down in paragraph 43, by stating that this is “an agenda by and for the people” but we call for these seven short but important words to be at the top of the agenda.


Latest updates

VSO welcome the re-appointment of Justine Greening MP as Secretary of State for International Development. Welcoming the appointment, Phillip Goodwin, CEO of VSO said:

Speaking on the One O’clock News today, VSO’s Head of Communications and Engagement Emma Harrison said: “The risk was that Ebola was spreading so fast that we couldn’t ask our staff just to be quarantined within Sierra Leone. It was more effective to redeploy them elsewhere where we can guarantee their health and safety.”

VSO has monitored this current crisis closely and took the decision to withdraw volunteers from Sierra Leone in recent weeks.