Delegates at IVCO conference 2019

Setting the standard: Leadership in responsible Volunteering for Development

Over a billion people across the world volunteer each year. Creating a new Global Standard for Volunteering for Development will help ensure that their work is as responsible, effective and impactful as it can be.

Volunteers make a vital contribution to development progress all over the globe, but their efforts must be properly supported to make sure their hard work and energy is harnessed in the most positive and impactful way.

VSO were delighted to launch the ‘Global Standard for Volunteering in Development’ on behalf of the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) at the International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations’ Conference (IVCO) 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda on 28 October 2019.

We need to ensure that volunteers are properly trained and are supported so we can harness their energy and measure their impact. There is need for global standards to support measuring the role of volunteer contribution.
Rosemary Mbabazi
Minister of Youth, Rwanda

We played a key role in supporting Forum to develop and produce the Global Standard to ensure that volunteering is responsible, impactful and continues to advance quality of volunteer involving organisations contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Standard was developed for the volunteering for development community, by the community.

The process involved contributions from organisations across the sector and consultations with hundreds of local, national and international volunteer involving organisations and development practitioners around the world.

What is the Global Standard?

The standard is not simply a set of rules; it is a resource that can be taken up by any organisation working in the volunteering and development sectors. It is a tool that will strengthen outcomes and provide care and protection for volunteers, communities and individuals.

The Global Standard ensures that:

  • development programmes are designed with local communities so they effectively respond to community needs;
  • community members and volunteers are kept safe and free from harm;
  • volunteers are fully prepared, trained and supported for their volunteer experience;
  • the intended impact of the programme is identified beforehand and tracked throughout.

Download the Global Standard for Volunteering for Development (PDF, 890 KB)

What's next?

Over 2020 – 2021, we will be working with volunteer involving organisations across the world to validate the Global Standard by testing it in practice using a self-assessment methodology. We’ll gather learnings and good practice and share them with the volunteer involving community to further refine the Global Standard for worldwide roll out in 2022.

We recognise the scale and breadth of volunteering that is taking place across the world and will be particularly looking to partner with volunteering for development organisations based across Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Sign the Kigali Declaration

We encourage Volunteer Involving Organisations to sign up to the principles of the standard, the ‘Kigali Declaration’Organisations that sign up will be contacted with further resources and an offer of support to put the Global Standard in to practice.

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