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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

VSO Ireland's stand at Africa Day 2016

Just some of the VSO Ireland team at our Africa Day stand in 2016.

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. 



Our relationship with Dóchas

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 would like further information about VSO Ireland's adherence to the Code or have feedback please email

If you do not feel VSO Ireland is adequately addressing your concerns, please make a complaint via our Complaints Process.

Find out what the Dóchas Code of Conduct is all about and why it matters.

Our relationship with Comhlámh

Comhlámh Code of Good Practice

VSO Ireland is committed to adhering to the above 11 principles of the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice.

We are also a member of Comhlámh, a membership and supporter organisation for volunteers and development workers, and continue to be a committed signatory to the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies. This is a set of standards put in place for organisations involved in facilitating international volunteer placements in developing countries. We were delighted to be the first organisation to be found fully complaint with all of the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice indicators and obtain the Comprehensive Compliance Standard, which is the highest given. The focus of this is to ensure that a positive impact is made on the volunteer, volunteer sending organisation and local community. Being a member of Comhlámh has allowed us to nurture relationships with compatible development organisations and increase public engagement in development issues. VSO volunteers are made aware of Comhlámh’s Returned Volunteer weekends and other events that help them connect with like-minded people and remain engaged with development issues when they finish their placement. 


Our relationship with RCPI

Dr Siobhán Neville, who volunteered for six months in Lindi, Tanzania, was one of the first paediatricians to participate in the VSO Ireland and RCPI Paediatric Programme.

Dr Siobhán Neville, who volunteered for six months in Lindi, Tanzania, was one of the first paediatricians to participate in the VSO Ireland and RCPI Paediatric Programme.

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 to discuss this further. 

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