We bring about lasting change not by sending aid, but by working through volunteers and partners to empower communities in some of the world’s poorest regions.
Areas of work
Making sure everyone gets the skills they need to live a fulfilled, dignified life.
Over the past five years we have supported almost 3,500,000 children to access the quality education they deserve.
Ensuring people have the skills and opportunities needed to support themselves and their families.
770,000 people have benefited from our work supporting livelihoods over the past five years.
Improving health services and empowering people to exercise their right to quality care.
Over the past five years we have helped over 3,600,000 people access better healthcare.
Read about current and former projects that VSO has worked on.
How we work
Volunteering for development
At VSO, we know that people in developing countries have the power, courage and desire to help themselves. That’s why we use a volunteering for development approach that puts the most marginalised people first.
Our core approaches
Across all our programmes we focus on building communities that are resilient, inclusive and accountable.
Our three 'core approaches' - social inclusion and gender, resilience, and social inclusion and accountability - are fundamental to our volunteering for development approach, ensuring that the people we work with have the capacity to bring about change in their own lives.
Working in partnership
We believe progress is only possible when we work together.
Partnerships lie at the root of all the positive change we create. Together, we work on programme development and delivery, research, fundraising and influencing decision-makers.
We work with:
- 500+ local organisations in 23 countries;
- governments at all levels;
- funders, academic institutions and advocacy platforms;
- corporate partners.
Research and evaluation
Evaluating our work is essential. We carry out systematic assessments of all projects, programmes and policies.
Research plays a critical role in helping us understand and improve our work reducing poverty.
Influencing and advocacy
We influence policy at national, regional and international levels. We connect decision makers to the experiences of our volunteers, partners and marginalised people.
Our work around the world, amplifying the voices of the poorest, is making change happen.
Examples of our work
Improving Market Access for the Poor
Lake Zone Youth Empowerment project
Tanzania Local Enterprise Development (T-LED)
Collective Action for Rights Realisation in Extractives Industry (CLARITY)
Interactive theatre for justice
This month, our youth champions took over our @VSOPeople account on Twitter, to share the ways they're tackling climate change in their communities. Watch the video to find out more.
In Zimbabwe, survivors of violence and abuse have little access to mental health services to manage the trauma they’ve experienced. For those who’ve been through so much, what support is out there?
Flooding in Pakistan is a stark reminder that the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, disproportionately affects the poorest societies. Community Emergency Response Teams are in the field providing emergency action.