Winners of the Volunteer Impact Awards 2018

A night to remember: Global volunteers celebrated at VSO Awards

VSO volunteers, supporters and friends came together to celebrate the impact of volunteering for development at the Volunteer Impact Awards. 

Keith Davies at Uhuru Peak, the top of Mount Kilimanjaro
Keith Davies

Courageous Keith conquers Kilimanjaro

How 62-year-old Keith Davies achieved a long-held goal by trekking Africa’s highest mountain for VSO, overcoming huge challenges and personal tragedy on the way.

Teacher in Rwandan classroom for SSRR project May 2018

Getting children ready to start school in Rwanda

VSO is changing the future of education in Rwanda through helping prepare children for school, training teachers and classroom refurbishment.

Teachers and volunteers having a discussion about learning environments in Rwanda
VSO/Peter Caton

From teacher to volunteer: What’s it like to volunteer with VSO?

Two retired UK teachers decided to embark on a completely new challenge: Wendy is improving teaching standards in Rwanda, while Helen is making education more inclusive in Nepal.

Gwen Harris pictured here is a VSO volunteer who went to Myanmar. Here she is talking to the camera about the unexpected thing she learnt as a volunteer.
VSO/Juanan Eguiguren

The unexpected thing I learnt as a VSO volunteer

Returned volunteers from the UK share some of the unexpected things they learned from their VSO experience, from the practical, to the bizarre, to the profound.

Paul Myovelah, 23, is on a mission to clean up his home town of Iringa, Tanzania through various business ventures.
VSO/Justin Spray

This entrepreneur is on a mission to clean up his town

Paul started his business by volunteering to clean his local hospital and streets for free. Since taking part in a VSO project, he now runs a successful garbage collection, cleaning and composting business.

ICS volunteers in the field
ICS/Cesar Lopez Balan

Building understanding: Mental health and youth volunteering

As the world’s leading organisation that uses volunteering to tackle poverty, VSO is especially interested in understanding how we can best ensure that people of all sorts of backgrounds can access meaningful volunteering opportunities, writes Philip Goodwin, Chief Executive of VSO.

Teacher with a large class size in Malawi
©VSO/Amos Gumulira

Is teaching the world's toughest job?

Low pay. Lack of respect. Being asked to achieve the impossible with not enough time, resources or training to do your best. Teachers around the world reveal the challenges they face – and why they keep at it despite everything.

A student answers a question during a lesson about relatives and family in English class at Hamugongo Primary School in Kagera, Tanzania.
VSO/Sophie Tremblay

Inside the world’s classrooms

Open the door of classrooms around the world and you’ll find a surprising range of challenges – as well as some truly incredible teachers dedicated to changing children’s lives.

Sierra Leone slum, Kroo Bay, which is full of plastic waste and other rubbish.
VSO/Evelyn Fey

The homes built on plastic: Life in a Sierra Leone slum

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, tens of thousands of people live with a sea of plastic waste on their doorstep. They're suffering disease, death and indignity. One volunteer is determined to make a stand on behalf of his community.

A VSO education volunteer at work in school

Our lasting bond: How volunteering created a cross-cultural connection

A volunteer placement that began more than a decade ago continues to benefit children with special education needs in Vietnam and has laid the foundations for a special relationship between two extraordinary women.


Safeguarding – a survivor-centred approach

Over the last year, organisations working in aid and development have been rightly challenged over their failings in dealing with abuse and harassment. In response to the scandals, the UK government is holding an International Safeguarding Summit in London in October.