Thursday 3 May 2018


Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) has been fighting poverty through volunteering for the past 60 years! It was time for VSO Nigeria to roll out the drums in Abuja on the 26th of April, 2018. VSO's Livelihood Programme interventions have improved farmers' access to guaranteed markets. When farmers' produce is aggregated, they are guaranteed better prices for farm produce. Volunteers have also been trained as teaching assistants in schools...( Many ex-volunteers reminisced at the event.

I could identify the following:

*Philip Goodwin - CEO, VSO International
*Lucia Balonwu - Country Director, VSO Nigeria
*Avril Abena Kudzi - Country Director, VSO Ghana
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert, Abuja
*Patrick Proctor - Operations Director, VSO Nairobi Hub

Philip Goodwin alluded to the fact that systems, rather than individual schools, were now the focus when posting volunteers. Volunteerism is now more 'nationally based'. Before, more foreign nationals were deployed as volunteers in Africa. Philip reminded us that the core values of VSO are focus on people, accountability, 'reflectiveness', making a difference, even-spaced work, etc. Volunteering is giving to make a change.

There were beautiful renditions by two poets: Bashiru Amuneni and Debbie Braide. Some volunteers gave inspiring accounts of their stewardship. They are Marie Contte (Sierra Leone), Henrietta Mensah (Ghana) and Frankkie Walter (Eritrea). Then there were awards for:
*Impact building - Lamin Conte (Gambia)
*Longest serving volunteer - Gregory Okemafua (Nigeria)
*Longest serving member of staff - Comfort (she rose from cleaner to middle level staff)
*Most innovative volunteer - Sipansi Olalekan (an agronomist who set up 3 enterprise projects in Ilesha, Nigeria)

There you have it, happy anniversary, VSO. I wish VSO many more years of adding local flavour to interventions via re-kindled relationships!

Related Links

*Thoughts about volunteering
*Philanthropy on a low budget: 3 things to ignore   #Microgiving
*2 reasons why we should invest in the poor
*Rural poor left as the rich hug 3 affirmative funds
*Covid-19: The enduring spirit of volunteering
*VZO, Covid-19 & response to the global education emergency: When school stops, learning must not

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