Children at Ngwino Nawe school in Rwanda | VSO

Influencing and advocacy

VSO works to influence policy at national, regional and international levels, using evidence from our programmes to help shape a fairer world.

Whether it’s advocating to change bye-laws in the communities we work in, influencing national legislation across Africa and Asia-Pacific, or bringing the voices of the most marginalised to input to global bodies like the UN, all of our policy and advocacy is rooted in evidence from our programming and centres the needs and voices of our primary actors.  

We’ve achieved salary reform for teachers in Cambodia, improved the rights of people with disabilities in Kenya, and helped some of the world’s most marginalised people hold their governments to account on the provision of health and education services. 

Around the world, we also work to promote and support volunteering at community, national and global levels. We help partner countries to develop national policies on volunteering and assist them to capacity-build their voluntary and civil society sectors.

Our influencing and advocacy work

A group of people talking
© VSO/Becky Mursell

Making the case for UK Aid

At VSO, we believe in taking a stand for the good of international aid and development.

Nandi locals and VSO volunteers during the deafway project community awareness parade in Nandi town, Kenya
VSO/Paul Wambugu

Regional and global advocacy

We make sure that the experience of volunteers, partners and marginalised people are heard and counted at regional and global levels. 

Case studies from our work

Anu Kumarishah, 20, Big Sister, Parsa, Nepal.
Guilhem Alandry/Doculab

How the ‘Leave No One Behind’ consortium is pushing for policy change across the Global South

The ‘Leave No One Behind’ consortium, is a coalition of twelve NGOs working on gathering data on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to incorporate SDGs into national policies in five countries.

Mother and child fleeing conflict in Ethiopia

Supporting Ethiopians to participate in national development plans

In 2019, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Youth and Children set out to develop a ten-year sector blueprint for a new national development plan for Ethiopia, to run from 2021-30. VSO's involvement ensured that the voices and perspectives of the most marginalised were able to feed into Ethiopia’s future development plans.

Volunteer in Kenya, Raabia Hussain, during the deafway project community awareness parade in Nandi town, Kenya.
VSO/Paul Wambugu

Establishing youth platforms to amplify youth voices in Machakos, Kenya

We see youth engagement as a true partnership that entails engaging youth from the start of any initiative - from agenda setting and decision-making, to implementation and evaluation - to achieve a shared outcome in development.

Girl in a classroom in Pakistan

Changing disability policy in Pakistan

In 2019, VSO Pakistan identified the rights of people with disabilities as a policy focus and helped to draft a Disability Act which would ensure the rights of people with disabilities through democratic, rights-based and inclusive legislation. 

Women sit in a row and applaud as they listen to volunteer Juliana at a community meeting
VSO/Tim Maynard

Helping communities hold their governments to account on sustainable development

While all countries have signed up to achieving the SDGs, they are not legally binding, and so when member states made commitments towards them in 2015, it was decided a space was needed for monitoring and accountability towards their progress.