Partner with us
At VSO Ireland we believe that progress is only possible when we work together. We partner with umbrella groups in the development sector to ensure our communications materials portray the people we work with overseas with dignity and enhance awareness of development issues amongst the general public. We also collaborate with academic partners and trade unions to promote volunteering opportunities.
Our relationship with Irish Aid
Managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irish Aid is the Irish Government’s programme for overseas development. Long-term support and funding from Irish Aid has been invaluable to VSO Ireland as it enables us to develop and implement sustainable programmes that have a long-lasting impact. Under the Volunteering Initiative, we implemented successful projects in Uganda (education), Ethiopia (health) and Zambia (governance) between 2013 and 2016, and have recently launched two new Irish Aid funded programmes in Uganda which will run from the next three years. Irish Aid’s policy for international development is ‘One World, One Future’ and focuses on priority areas for action which will guide aid spending an policy engagement in the years to come.
VSO Ireland participates in all relevant Irish Aid events with the aim of increasing public awareness about the importance of volunteering and current development issues, both at home and abroad. The last Irish Aid Volunteering Fair took place in Dublin Castle on 7th October 2017 and was attended by over 400 members of the public interested in exploring volunteering opportunities. Returned VSO Ireland volunteer Cillian Quinn, who volunteered as a Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser in Zambia, took part in a panel discussion and we had the opportunity to discuss our education programming with Minister of State for Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon T.D.
Every year, we also attend Africa Day, supported by Irish Aid. This fun-filled event last takes place in Farmleigh Estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park and sees thousands of people turn out to experience the culture and traditions of Africa. We always have a stand at the event, and VSO Ireland staff and returned volunteers chat with the public about volunteering placements and our core programme areas. Africa Day is a fantastic opportunity for public engagement as it brings development issues to the fore in a relaxed and jovial setting.
VSO Ireland is a proud member of Dóchas, the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations. We are signatories of the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Messages and Images, and are committed to avoiding stereotypical or sensational images in our internal and external communications. We chose images and messages that represent the full complexity of the situations in which we work, and we seek the permission of the people portrayed in the photographs we use. The Code is based on the paramount principles of:
- Respect for the dignity of all people concerned
- Belief in the equality of all people;
- Acceptance of the need to promote fairness, solidarity and justice.
You can read the full Code of Conduct and helpful Illustrative Guide here. This is also sent to outgoing volunteers to ensure the images and messages they use when conveying their volunteer journey online and in press.
If you do not feel VSO Ireland is adequately addressing your concerns, please make a complaint via our Complaints Process.
We are a member of Comhlámh.
Comhlámh is a member organisation that works to mobilise for an equitable and sustainable world. As the Irish association of development workers and volunteers, Comhlámh promotes responsible international volunteering and development work. We support people in their journey of working for social justice. We work with returned volunteers, partner organisations and member group to foster just, inclusive societies, through progressive grassroots activism in Ireland and internationally.
We follow Comhlámh’s Code of Good Practice.
The Code is a set of standards for Irish Volunteer Sending Agencies facilitating international placements. It is based on a vision of volunteers working in solidarity for a just, equitable and sustainable world. It promotes responsible and responsive volunteering to ensure a positive impact for the overseas project and community, the volunteer and the sending agency.
The Code promotes development education, which enables people to more deeply understand the world around them and to address the root causes of inequality and poverty.
Every Volunteer Sending Agency, which is party to the Code of Good Practice, commits to the implementation of the Code’s five values that underpin the work of international volunteer programmes. These are solidarity, respect, social justice, ecological sustainability and integrity.
Our relationship with RCPI
At the beginning of 2015, paediatricians volunteered overseas as part of the VSO Ireland and Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) Paediatric Programme for the first time. This Programmes enables RCPI higher specialist trainees, with at least two years’ experience, to work on a neonatal and paediatric programme and gain six months’ training credit. These volunteers have trained health workers in resuscitation and other life-saving techniques to ensure disadvantaged children and babies get a fairer chance at life.
Our relationship with INTO and other unions
We continue to work closely with the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), having regular meetings to better understand the needs of Irish educators and raise awareness about VSO volunteering opportunities. We have also established a relationship with other teacher unions, such as Ulster Teachers’ Union, and groups, like the Education Centres and Retired Teachers’ Association of Ireland, to enhance our education recruitment campaigns.
If you belong to a trade union or education, health or business group that would like to work with VSO Ireland to promote volunteering for development, we’d love to hear from you. Please email Annette O’Sullivan on email@example.com to discuss this further.