On the 7 December 2023, we hosted our annual Volunteer Impact Awards, celebrating the inspirational work of VSO volunteers from different corners of the globe. Check out the highlights video below.
At the ceremony, hosted by VSO youth champions Fridah Okomo and Umar Abdullahi, four winners were crowned in the categories of Education, Livelihoods, Health, and Active Citizenship.
Our volunteers have got talent!
As well as hearing from our inspirational finalists and winners, the awards featured performances from former VSO volunteers. Kelvin Leteipa, otherwise known in the music industry as Leteipa the King from Kenya, performed a catchy song ‘Volunteer’ about what inspires a young person like himself to volunteer.
Juanito Estrada, from the Philippines, who also started his volunteering journey as an International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteer performed an inspiring spoken word poem ‘A Volunteers Journey’, highlighting the unity and strength of volunteers, even in the face of adversity.
Speaker Omar Daair OBE, the British High Commissioner to Rwanda and non-resident Ambassador to Burundi, presented the Active Citizenship Award; this recognises volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their volunteer placement, to help communities to take charge of their own development. Omar spoke of the importance of active citizenship now more than ever in the divided world we live in, making the world a better place.
We were also joined by Carol Carson OBE, a registered nurse for over 40 years from the UK, who has volunteered with VSO in three different countries, upskilling health workers in Malawi, Myanmar and South Sudan. When the Scottish government introduced a scheme encouraging public health workers to volunteer in Malawi, Carol’s dream of volunteering was realised.
Carol‘s expertise helped to dispel stigma around mental health and ensure patients in mental health facilities received dignified treatment. She spoke in depth about the importance of her fellow volunteers in supporting her to feel safe and comfortable in the community, so far and so different from her home in Scotland.
And of course, our four winners were crowned!
- The Active Citizenship Award winner was decided by you, via a public vote. You chose Abdulahi Adebayo as your winner, a Climate Youth Champion for the National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN) in Nigeria, where he trains communities on climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.
- Jamal Hossain won the Health Award in recognition of his work preventing child marriage in Bangladesh.
- For her role providing safe learning environments to some of the most vulnerable children in Pakistan, such as Afghan refugees, Salma Rehmat took home the Education Award.
- Alfonse Odipo was awarded the Livelihoods Award for his work as a climate change advisor and adaptation specialist in Kenya, supporting farmers collectives to develop and sustain alternative livelihoods and to adapt to the impact of climate change.
A huge thanks to all those who attended. We’ll see you next year!
Here's what your award highlights were
The amazing stories and the work of the volunteers and the song I want to VOLUNTEER”
I love learning about VSO's history and how it's changed over time. I also loved seeing people celebrate their wins with their colleagues - so nice to see smiling faces!”
Having community volunteers sharing their stories in their local languages was a moving moment.”
What would you like to see at the next awards ceremony?
Let us know via the feedback form linked below.
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Outstanding performances, inspiring guest speakers and heartfelt speeches from our fantastic volunteers, the Volunteer Impact Awards had it all! Here are your highlights from the ceremony.
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