Campaigns and advocacy

Campaigns and advocacy

Our experiences working with the poorest and most marginalised at the grassroots level inform our global campaigning and advocacy work.

VSO's Elizabeth Kisakye at the United Nations

VSO campaigns

We support disadvantaged communities by bringing their stories and experience to the attention of the public and decision-makers worldwide. We undertake advocacy locally, nationally and internationally to bring about positive change to policies and practices. Together with our supporters, we campaign for global justice and help raise awareness of important development issues.

Post-2015 advocacy

In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals which were set in 2000 will expire. A new set of goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – which are to be formally adopted in September, will govern how the world tackles poverty, inequality and sustainability for the next 15 years. VSO is campaigning for the Goals to be implemented in particular to increase power of women in decision-making, and recognise the importance of volunteers. In support of this VSO is a part of action/2015 - a global campaign asking world. leaders to be ambitious in implementing these Goals.

Post 2015 Advocacy

Our impact

Through its campaigning and advocacy work, VSO has:

  • Secured health insurance for all permanent Nepalese teachers and ensured that the teacher’s union is included in government roundtable discussion on education. Read more.
  • Successfully advocated for state allowances for households with disabled children to be increased in Mongolia. Read more.
  • Strengthened women's rights in the community in Bangladesh. Read more.
  • Lobbied the British government to safeguard medical training for healthworkers who arrive in country from beyond the EU to work. Read more.
  • Provides training through the Right To Information coalition that advises on citizens' rights to information from authorities in Odissa and Jharkhand, India, and successfully overturned an injust criminal charge against teachers attempting to use the law to expose corrupt practices. Read more.
  • Provided training to HIV and AIDS caregivers in India that resulted in 95% of those affected by the virus gaining weight within three months. Read more.
  • Lobbied the Rwandan government to double the basic salaries of secondary school teachers as part of the Global Campaign for Education consortiuim. Read more.
  • Introduced a citizens' platform with which officials are held to account for any failures to deliver essential community services in Odisha, India. Read more.

Research and knowledge sharing

Over the course of more than half a century in the field of international development, VSO has accumulated a lot of knowledge and has amassed a significant body of research. Through our research projects Valuing Teachers and Valuing Health Workers, we have identified the motivations of and challenges faced by educators and health workers - and a wealth of insight into what steps must be taken to ensure the improving quality of the services they provide. 

VSO advocacy toolkits

We have produced an advocacy toolkit, Participatory Advocacy (PDF) based on our experiences in many countries over the last few years.

It provides a simple, practical manual for VSO staff, partners, serving and returned volunteers that will help you plan and implement advocacy. The toolkit covers:

  • participatory research
  • strategic planning for advocacy
  • lobbying and campaigning
  • media work and communications

VSO also has available to share resources specifically on participatory research - download START: Simple Toolkit for Advocacy Research Techniques (PDF)

Past VSO UK campaigns

VSO runs campaigns on its own or as part of a coalition.

  • #StopTheMyth: VSO volunteers take to the streets to share stories of positive change from around the world
  • UK Aid Bill - VSO celebrates Aid Bill  receivingyal Assent
  • The Godmothers - VSO network helped secure funding for UN Women
  • 1GOAL  -  VSO supported a global campaign to provide education for millions of children
  • Make your Mark - VSO campaign aimed at engaging voters and parliamentary candidates with development issues
  • Help Women Help the World - VSO’s campaigners played a crucial role in ensuring support of the UK Government for new UN Agency for Women
  • Women Matter - campaign to stop women being disproportionately affected by the AIDS pandemic
    Read more about our past campaigns