Josephine working on her road side stall
VSO/Obscura Media

Decent work

Decent work means jobs that are productive, respect labour rights, generate a fair income and treat everyone equally. Decent jobs allow employees to do their work in safe, healthy conditions and guarantee freedom of voice.

We promote decent employment and self-employment opportunities for young people by improving the skills and capabilities of workers and strengthening labour markets and providing business development services. We work with people to strengthen their employability and business skills. 

Using a multi-level approach, we design and implement interventions across different levels including: individual, household, community, system and policy. We also support labour markets to create decent employment and self-employment opportunities for young people. By looking at ways to influencing change at all levels, we can target both the labour market and supply and demand.

Increasing young people’s access to decent job opportunities is key in increasing incomes and strengthening the economic wellbeing of marginalised individuals, households and communities.

We promote social protection for young people and informal workers as part of our decent work agenda. 

Our work in creating decent jobs

Volunter Al Razon talks with co-operative leader Ly Theort on the edge of a field at her farm

Supporting poor farming households to make a sustainable living

Improving Market Access for the Poor (IMA4P) identifies high-impact value chains, transforming agricultural markets to make them work better for the world's poorest farmers.

Celina Chibanda smiles as she holds a large jar of the peanut butter she produces

From a passion for food to a successful business

After receiving specialist skills training as part of the T-LED project, Celina Kisha Chibanda has overcome many challenges to develop a successful food processing business.

Rhumana Katun, VSO ICS beneficiary in Bangladesh.
©VSO / Nick Adie

“I want my daughter to grow up to be a businesswoman like myself.”

A VSO-ICS training programme in business skills helped Rumana Khatun establish a thriving bag-making business and transform her family’s lives.

VSO national volunteer Jackline Kakala smiles as she conducts an aspirations analysis with young women participating in the Lake Zone Youth Empowerment project

Empowering Tanzanian girls and young mothers

Supporting marginalised young people in Tanzania - especially girls and young mothers - to develop the skills and confidence they need to secure reliable livelihoods.

Two female students pose in front of a wall of hanging fabrics at the Subra Tailoring Enterprise
VSO/Nicky Woo

Breaking down bottlenecks to growth in Tanzania

With one of the world’s youngest populations, Tanzania’s economic growth is being driven by young entrepreneurs.

Other areas where we work

Nigeria Mobile Science Lab
©VSO/ Onye Ubanatu

Youth empowerment

We believe if young people are supported to earn income and access resources, they can sustain their own livelihoods and actively seek out new economic opportunities.

Vivian working at her roadside stall
VSO/Obscura Media

Women’s empowerment, control over incomes and right to food

Promoting women’s right to adequate food, women's control over their incomes and developing climate resilient agriculture.

Two female farmers laugh together as they harvest crops
VSO/Allison Joyce

Green jobs

Green jobs are jobs that: reduce consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and pollution and protect and restore ecosystems.

Mangrove planting

Support us with a donation