Youth volunteers in Tanzania. ICS volunteers have been working to support Tunavvwza pottery group for women with disabilities, Stone Town, Zanzibar.
VSO/Andy Aitchison

Youth volunteering

The UK Government and VSO are immensely proud of everything International Citizen Service (ICS) has achieved to date.

Between 2011-2020, VSO and our partners supported over 40,000 ICS volunteers to contribute to sustainable change, working alongside community members in some of the poorest regions of the world.

The UK government announced in April 2023, that a new ICS programme will be launched in the coming year. The previous contract for ICS, led by VSO, came to an end in December 2020. VSO cannot accept applications for the new scheme until the government has decided how it will be delivered.


The ICS programme launched in 2011 and since then nearly 40,000 young people have volunteered across the world.


92% of partners involved in ICS have said that their organisation is better able to bring positive change.


74% of ICS volunteers say the experience has been very useful for their career development.

What can I do?

National volunteer Asha conducts an aspirations analysis with young female applicants to the Lake Zone Youth Empowerment project.

Youth networks

Our youth networks are unifying and amplifying the voices of young people.

A group of people sit on the floor as Daw Hla Myint points out the map of village during a disaster risk management awareness session in Kyatkathone Village
VSO/Nyan Zay Htet

Volunteer with VSO

Find out more about volunteering with VSO

Follow four young people as they embark on an ICS experience, meeting people from a different way of life.

ICS stories

By bringing young people from all walks of life together to volunteer on placement, and then back in their home communities, ICS has delivered positive changes beyond the 12-week volunteering placement.

The power of youth volunteering: Eight years of impact in eight ICS projects

Since 2011, more than 38,000 young people have taken part in ICS. Eight years later, we celebrate eight of our favourite moments of ICS impact.

Dieng’s story: Fighting polio gave me a passion for education

Rem Dieng, 26, was born with polio. It affects the way she walks – and her chances of getting work. Now a volunteer on VSO’s International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, she’s using her story to inspire youth club members to continue into higher education and better job prospects. 

Students Learning Kenya sign language from VSO volunteers
VSO/ Paul Wambugu

Meet the young activists fighting for Deaf rights

Youth volunteers Raabia, a young filmmaker from the UK, and her Kenyan counterpart, Enock, explain how badly marginalised Deaf people continue to be in both countries – and what they’re doing to help.

uk aid logo

Our partners

ICS was funded by the UK Government's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), which projects the UK as a force for good in the world, including reducing poverty and tackling global challenges.