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Our vision: A fair world for everyone

Our purpose is to create lasting change through volunteering.

We bring about change not by sending aid, but by working through volunteers and partners to empower people living in the some of the world’s poorest and most overlooked regions.

We know, from over sixty years of experience, that when teachers pass on their skills to others, when community groups are shown reliable sources of income, and when governments are helped to make systems fairer, this brings about lasting change

Our values


  • Empower poor and marginalised people to take charge of their own development.
  • Share skills and knowledge to create long lasting, sustainable change.
  • Build collaborative partnerships that promote innovation, growth and impact.


  • Stand beside and advocate for those who have been denied choice and opportunity.
  • Promote diversity and equality throughout our work.
  • Encourage different, inquisitive perspectives.


  • Lead volunteering for development, setting the standard for ourselves and others.
  • Use evidence and insight to guide our actions.
  • Recruit the right people and work where we have the greatest impact.


  • Commit to safeguarding and take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and harm.
  • Treat others with respect, as equals.
  • Be open, transparent and accountable in everything we do.

Our strategy: Together we are Changemakers

Our ambition remains to bring lasting and positive change in the lives of our primary actors and make a significant contribution towards achieving the SDGs using the transformational power of volunteering.

Our strategy >

Our principles: People First

Reflective in our practice​

We are aware of ourselves, the impact we have on others and the social and cultural context in which we operate. We continuously learn to improve our own practice and encourage others to do the same.​


Primary actors are at the heart of everything we do.   We dismantle all forms of bias that result from the advantages and disadvantages given by our society and culture to certain groups of people and not to others.​


In everything that we do, we base our decisions on research and evidence. We remain conscious that our bias and prejudice may influence our evidencing.​


We are each accountable for the decisions we make, what we say, how we act and how we make others feel.

Working together

At VSO, we believe progress is only possible when we work together.

Partnerships lie at the root of all the positive transformation that we create. Together, we work on programme development and delivery, research, advocacy, and fundraising.