DFID supports new volunteering initiative for businesses to help developing countries grow

DFID supports new volunteering initiative for businesses to help developing countries grow

Professionals will be able to use their skills and expertise to help change the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest places through a new programme, funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and run by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

A volunteering hub, set to launch in early 2015, is being seed-funded by the UK Government and will be created in partnership with Accenture Development Partnerships, the not-for-profit unit within Accenture.

Professionals from around the world can apply to the hub to use their skills in a range of areas such as IT, finance, business development and marketing.

The placements, ranging from a few weeks to up to three months, are being identified by VSO and other international development partners to ensure that they benefit poor people and also help professionals develop their skills.

Justine Greening, UK’s International Development Secretary, said: “Supporting economic development in some of the world’s poorest countries is the only sustainable way to end dependency on aid. Businesses have a hugely important role to play by sharing their skills and expertise and working with development organisations to strengthen basic services which are key to building prosperous societies.

“Local enterprises in developing countries can also learn from the experiences of businesses around the world, ensuring they seize opportunities that will boost their growth. Britain alone has many success stories to share.  
“I hope as many professionals as possible take up this challenge to create a better future for people living in poverty and showcase the immense talent we have both here in the UK and elsewhere.”

Amanda Bringans, Director of Fundraising and Communications at VSO said: “VSO has almost 60 years experience in development working through volunteering and recently we’ve seen demand growing for a global initiative like the Hub. It’s very much a two-way street. The professionals share their experience and skills as volunteers then bring back into their businesses invaluable insight that can increase understanding of development and social issues. By working in partnership with other development organisations VSO can achieve a scale never seen before whilst ensuring each placement provides the maximum benefit to the local community”

Louise James, Global Programmes Director at Accenture Development Partnerships, emphasised the potential of the new initiative: “As conversations with representatives from the public and private sectors have shown, there is a significant demand to take collaboration between the sectors to the next level. Accenture Development Partnerships is pleased to be working with VSO on delivering this and the support from DFID is hugely welcome at this stage.”

The hub will focus on improving the lives of people in developing countries by using business skills to strengthen basic services and boost living standards, particularly those of women and young people.

It will also help businesses in the countries involved harness opportunities that can create jobs, raise incomes and generate long-term growth.

Over the upcoming months VSO will engage with potential partners from both the development and corporate sector, detail the services to be offered via the hub, and prepare processes and operations to be ready for launching in early 2015.

The new Hub builds on DFID existing partnerships with VSO and the International Citizen Service (ICS) and ICS Entrepreneur programmes. 


Editor's notes

For further information or to book an interview contact VSO Press Office. Ciara O’Sullivan; + 44 7753 10 34 60 andciara.osullivan@vsoint.org or Ruby Wright: +44 (0)208 780 7674: ruby.wright@vso.org.uk

Visit  http://www.vso.org.uk/vso-accenture   

About VSO

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. See www.vsointernational.org

About International Citizen Service

The International Citizen Service is a UK government-funded development programme led by VSO in partnership with respected development organisations, which brings together 18 to 25-year-olds from all backgrounds to fight poverty in overseas and UK communities. The ICS Entrepreneur arm of the programme, launched in March this year, will be delivered by VSO, Raleigh, Challenges Worldwide and Balloon Ventures. The programme enables promising young entrepreneurs to learn vital commercial skills while working in developing countries.

To find out more and to apply, visit www.volunteerics.org