VSO is the world’s leading international development organisation that uses volunteers to fight poverty and reduce inequality.
Our vision is simple: a world without poverty. Our approach is unique: sending skilled volunteers from sectors such as health, education and business to work with partners who have requested our help. VSO enables a two-way exchange that benefits the volunteer and the community they serve far beyond the life of the placement.
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) began in 1958 when Alec and Mora Dickson recruited and sent 16 British volunteers overseas in response to a letter from the Bishop of Portsmouth asking for people to teach English in Borneo.
Much has changed since then. VSO has engaged over 43,000 volunteers to work on international development programmes in more than 120 countries. We’ve gone from being a UK charity to an international one, with recruitment bases in seven countries.
In 2013/2014 alone, VSO volunteers trained over 174,000 people, and delivered services that had an impact on the lives of 2 million.
Today, VSO is a truly global organisation and recruit skilled volunteers from all over the world, and from all sectors of society, including business leaders, parliamentarians and young people. Currently, over 30% of its people come from within the country of their placement. They also send increasing numbers of people from one developing country to another.
VSO is always looking for new ways to turn human energy and ingenuity into lasting change. They still send professionals to share their skills with their local counterparts, but have embraced a range of methods that allow them to provide whatever kind of help is needed most, including promoting international understanding and action, knowledge sharing and youth exchanges.
Nigeria is one of VSO’s longest running programmes. Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and a vibrant country with huge potential. The current areas of VSO Nigeria’s work are HIV and AIDS, education, secure livelihoods and national volunteering. In recent years, VSO’s involvement in Nigeria has also extended to six successful Global Xchange programmes for Nigerian and British youths.