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VSA helps develop first ever global volunteering standard

29 October 2019

Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) - Te Tūao Tāwāhi has had significant input in developing a newly launched set of global standards for volunteering for development. The standards have been agreed by several hundred stakeholders from across the international volunteering for development sector.

Chief Executive, Stephen Goodman, has been co-chair of an international team that developed the first ever set of global standards for the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum).

The voluntary Global Standard for Volunteering for Development will ensure more responsible and impactful volunteering, and will help organisations contribute positively to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Standard aims to improve the outcomes of volunteering for development activities, ensuring organisations that work through and with volunteers are both impactful and responsible in their practice.

The standards took 18 months to develop and were formally launched on 28 October 2019 at the Forum’s International Volunteer Cooperation Organisation (IVCO) Conference in Rwanda. Mr Goodman also signed VSA’s commitment to achieving the standards during the conference.

"The standards outline the base-level expectations for organisations working in our sector," said Mr Goodman. "There are more than 81 organisations in the Forum with over 10,000 volunteers in 124 countries.

"For VSA, these standards sit alongside and complement our commitment to the CID Code of Conduct which remains VSA’s primary accreditation. The standards provide VSA with further validation of our policies and practices.

"The standards are a resource that can be used by any organisation working in the volunteering and development sectors, providing standards that will strengthen outcomes and provide care and protection for volunteers and the people and communities they work with."

Volunteering organisations will be encouraged to sign up to the commitments of the Standard to demonstrate to volunteers, partner organisations, donors and governments that their programmes align with good development practices and the SDGs.

About Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) - Te Tūao Tāwāhi


Our vision: A world with thriving communities.

Our purpose: We send skilled people to work alongside communities in the Pacific and beyond to achieve what is important to them.

VSA was founded in 1962 and is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteer agency working in international development. Sir Edmund Hillary, VSA’s founding President, believed passionately that if people work together in equal partnership they can achieve great things. Today VSA knows that we make the most difference through people, partnerships and the lasting relationships these create.

Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, from business mentors and lawyers, to health professionals and eco-tourism operators. Together with our overseas partners, our volunteers are building local businesses, providing education and improving health, safeguarding the environment and fostering good governance, delivering nearly 200 community-driven and owned projects. At any one time, we typically have 80-90 volunteers on the ground, supporting around 150 partner organisations.

About the International Forum for Volunteering in Development

The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) is a global network of organisations involved in international volunteering which promotes the value of volunteering for development through policy engagement, mutual learning and by sharing innovative and good practices. The forum has 28 members in more than 81 organisations with over 10,000 volunteers in 124 countries.

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