A teacher shares best practice as part of the Building Learning Foundations project in Rwanda

Who can volunteer with us

What you'll need in order to volunteer with us.

Our volunteers come from all sorts of backgrounds and we assess each application individually, but you’ll meet our key criteria if you:

  • have at least three years’ experience in your professional field,
  • have a relevant degree or equivalent qualification,
  • pass criminal record and background checks,
  • can commit to the full duration of your placement,
  • are willing to live on a basic allowance and adapt to new living conditions, if you relocate as part of your work with us.
Volunteer Anne and a local schoolteacher sit at a classroom desk, looking at students' work together
VSO/Suraj Shakya
Volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, with international and local experts working together.

Age requirements

There are no age restrictions to volunteering with us.

If you’re aged between 18 and 35 and don’t have the required level of experience to become a VSO volunteer, find out more about youth volunteering with the International Citizen Service (ICS). Please note: the ICS scheme is currently paused, pending a review by the UK Government, which funds the programme.

Along with our partners, we value the skills and experience that older volunteers can bring to a placement. We actively welcome applications from candidates with lots of experience, and will work with you to find a suitable role.

Volunteering with a pre-existing medical condition

As long as you meet the requirements of the role, we welcome your application. We will work with you to discuss any specific support needs, or consider any reasonable adjustments that will make volunteering with us accessible for you.

Volunteering with a criminal record

We have a zero tolerance approach to abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people, so carry out mandatory background checks on all potential volunteers, as part of our safer recruitment processes.

Having previous cautions or convictions does not automatically exclude you from volunteering with us. We will discuss these with you as part of the application process and consider each situation on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the offences and the level of risk involved with the role.

Volunteering as a couple

It is possible to volunteer as a couple, and this is something that we try to facilitate wherever we can. However, this can make finding a placement more difficult as you will need to find two vacancies at the same time, in the same location, which match both of your skillsets.

Taking your partner or family with you

If your partner isn’t suitable for a role with us, they can still accompany you if your role involves relocating – they can usually find work locally once you arrive. Your partner can share the accommodation we provide, but you will need to check first whether it’s suitable for two people.

We have had volunteers take their families in the past. We can discuss this possibility on a case-by-case basis, so please let us know at the start of the process if this is something you’re considering.

Please note that in all cases, we will only cover the costs of the person volunteering, so you and/or your partner will need to make provisions for themselves and your family if they accompany you.

Find out more about volunteering

Volunteer Peter helps some pupils at a VSO-supported learning centre
VSO/Paul Wambugu

Volunteering opportunities

Browse all our current volunteer opportunities.

7-year-old Blessing Asokiyine (centre) with her 6-year-old classmate Klevin Atinga and VSO volunteer Mary Carnable, at Goriko kindergarten in Talensi District, Bolgatanga, Ghana
VSO / Teresa Menka

How volunteering works

Everything you need to know about volunteering with VSO.

Primary school teacher Souy Kran smiles as she stands at the front of her classroom; behind her, rows of schoolchildren work at their desks.
VSO/Thomas Roos

How to apply

What to expect from the volunteer application process.