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VSA demonstrates value of strong partnerships

Volunteer Service Abroad demonstrates value of strong partnerships

Volunteer Service Abroad’s (VSA) review of the past year showed the organisation partnered with 190 national and regionally focused development organisations in 12 countries. These included community based organisations, national NGOs, International NGOs, the state sector and UN agencies. VSA "in-country" staff also managed relationships with 197 partner organisations.

"Whether it is our seventh volunteer at Timor-Leste’s HAFOTI collective Kim Willoughby working with Mana Dortia Kese to bring HAFOTI women’s goods to an export market, or Bruce Johnson using the connections and relationships he’s built over many assignments in Tonga to expedite rebuilding horticulture post Gita, VSA’s deep and long-standing relationships have stood our volunteers and their counterparts in good stead," said Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Goodman.

"The impact of VSA volunteers goes well beyond their immediate assignments and partner organisations. They truly become part of the local community. In the past year our volunteers collaborated with 735 local organisations."

Eighty-one percent of VSA’s assignments are located in the Pacific, with the largest programmes being Papua New Guinea, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

VSA has significantly grown its volunteer programmes in Polynesia in the past year with 25% of total assignments based there with Tonga (seven assignments), Samoa (17 assignments) and Kiribati (13 assignments). Timor-Leste has the highest number of assignments in Asia with two in Cambodia.

Volunteers in each of the countries are placed in assignments that align with the sectoral focus of the Government of that country. VSA country strategies are reviewed annually to take into account the changing needs of the local population and the country's government's priorities

"VSA has been around a long time," said Mr Goodman. "Next year will be the 55th anniversary of our relationship with Tonga, and in a little over two years we will be celebrating our 60th as an organisation. In these years and in the years following them we will continue to work toward a world with thriving communities."

You can find more detail here.

Annual highlights

- 85.9% of volunteers and accompanying partners reported that they engage in community activities outside of their assignments, with 44% confirming that they participate more actively in community activities than they would at home in New Zealand, leading to positive development outcomes for their organisations and the communities with which they work.

- Across the 190 volunteer assignments, volunteers have provided 8,719 days of capacity development, with volunteers also delivering 1,941 days of formal training. Volunteers reported coaching or mentoring 1,227 men and 1,300 women and formal training was delivered to 3,342 men and 4,088 women.

- 80% of partner organisations who participated in an annual survey, strongly agreed or agreed that VSA volunteers effectively work with their organisations to achieve their goals, and the same percentage confirmed that volunteers effectively build capacity and confidence with staff.

- 83.3% of all partner organisation management staff who completed a Partner Organisation Evaluation reported that their staff had new confidence, knowledge and skills as a result of the volunteer assignment.

- 86.3% of volunteers who completed assignments in this period reported that they believe their colleagues have improved confidence, knowledge and skills as a result of their volunteer assignment.

- VSA saw a 23% increase in the public registering interest in volunteering in 2018-19.

Country breakdown

Bougainville: 14 partner organisations, 26 assignments

Cambodia: One partner organisation, two assignments

Cook Islands: Six partner organisations, nine assignments

Kiribati: Nine partner organisations, 13 assignments

Niue: One partner organisation, one assignment

Papua New Guinea: 15 partner organisations, 34 assignments

Samoa: 10 partner organisations, 17 assignments

Solomon Islands: 16 partner organisations, 25 assignments

Timor-Leste: 21 partner organisations, 35 assignments

Tonga: Six partner organisations, seven assignments

Tuvalu: Two partner organisations, 2 assignments

Vanuatu: 14 partner organisations, 20 assignments

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.


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