John started his career as a dairy farmer in Wales and has previously been Executive Director of the Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Director General of Oxfam Hong Kong and Interim Executive Director of Oxfam International.
John will be leading and overseeing the strategic development and implementation of VSO’s programmes in the Asia Pacific area and work to maximise VSO’s impact on ending poverty through volunteering.
Marg Mayne, CEO of VSO, said: “John Sayer brings with him extensive experience in international development that will be a significant asset to the global leadership team. VSO works in some of the least developed countries in Africa and the Asia Pacific region, and John’s expertise in these areas will help us continue to develop effective programmes and work towards our vision of a ‘world without poverty’”.
John said: “I have always been interested in poverty reduction, development, inclusion and tackling inequality, but the particular attraction with VSO is the people-to-people nature of the work. The other draw is the focus on young people. The ICS (International Citizen Service) programme in particular taps into the enthusiasm and idealism of young people – hugely important drivers for change. The exchanges between different cultures and countries with different development paths, and the exchanges between young and old are what drew me to VSO”.
VSO works in more than 30 of the world’s poorest countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia; including Nepal, the Philippines and Bangladesh. Last year it reached more than nine million people. VSO helped more than two million children, including 20,000 disabled children, to get the education they deserve. VSO volunteers trained more than 12,000 health professionals, and reached more than three million people by providing HIV and AIDS support.
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VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas – is an international development organisation that brings people together to share skills and knowledge. VSO volunteers work in whichever fields are necessary to tackle poverty – from education and health through to helping people learn the skills to make a living. They invest in local people so that the impact they make endures long after their placement ends, VSO recruits skilled and unskilled volunteers from countries in the global north and global south, as well as supporting the growth of volunteering within developing countries.www.vso.org.uk