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Our research and evaluations

Research: Livelihoods programming and the Capability Approach

This research collaboration worked with selected VSO programmes to explore about how the Capability Approach can help VSO deliver its People First Strategy in Livelihood programming.

Find out more about the research

VSO Impact Beyond Volunteering research report

Research: Impact beyond volunteering

VSO’s Impact beyond volunteering study explores how the experience of volunteering creates lasting changes in VSO volunteers themselves, impacting their future behaviour, career choices and influence on others.

It draws on data from more than 2,700 volunteer alumni from across Africa, Asia and Europe to find that the majority of volunteers are more socially active as a result of their experience.

Find out more about the research

Cover of the Valuing Volunteering report

Research: Valuing volunteering

Four volunteer researchers worked in four countries (the Philippines, Kenya, Nepal and Mozambique) used participatory action methods to determine the unique value of volunteering in international development.

Most previous studies focused on the effect volunteering has on the volunteers themselves, but there has been little documentation of the impact volunteering creates.

VSO has always believed that people are the best agents of change, and this research now provides evidence for volunteers’ unique contribution in reducing poverty.

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Research: Women in Power

This report focuses on the lack of power that women have to influence decision making compared to men.

  • Our thinking on women’s equal role in public and political life
  • Why we consider this equal role to be vital
  • Assesses gaps in power, and outlines barriers to participation and influence

The report concludes by setting out how these priorities will integrate into real work on the ground.

Read the full report on Women in Power here [PDF] 

Research: Volunteerism and the post-2015 agenda

This report was written to emphasise the positive contributions volunteers make, and used as a vital resource in the creation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by every United Nations country in 2015. The emerging findings from the 'Valuing Volunteering' research helped to inform the evidence base for this paper.

Read the full report [PDF]


Evaluations of our projects and programmes are critical to better understand the contribution we make in delivering sustainable development.

Find out more about VSO evaluations, including our meta-evaluation and synthesis review