BBC News talks to VSO about volunteer safety measures around Ebola crisis

BBC News talks to VSO about volunteer safety measures around Ebola crisis

Speaking on the One O’clock News today, VSO’s Head of Communications and Engagement Emma Harrison said: “The risk was that Ebola was spreading so fast that we couldn’t ask our staff just to be quarantined within Sierra Leone. It was more effective to redeploy them elsewhere where we can guarantee their health and safety.”

VSO has monitored this current crisis closely and took the decision to withdraw volunteers from Sierra Leone in recent weeks.

Health and safety is always VSO’s number one priority. VSO’s risk management processes are robust and as an organisation with over fifty years of experience in international volunteering for development, decisions to withdraw international volunteers as taken carefully based on a wide range of information from national and international sources.

In some cases people can be relocated in country but in the case of Sierra Leone and this current Ebola crisis VSO made a decision at the end of July to withdraw the international volunteers and staff who were based there.

VSO remains committed to operating in Sierra Leone and will continue to assess the situation ahead of future placements there. 

Editor's notes

VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. VSO's high-impact approach involves bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action, and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all.

Contact Ciara O’Sullivan from the VSO press office or 07753103460. Journalists with urgent out-of-hours queries, call 07500 918 478.