VSO hails Government boost for ethnic minority volunteering

VSO hails Government boost for ethnic minority volunteering

VSO welcomed today’s (14 March 2008) announcement by the Department for International Development (DFID) to commit £3 million to VSO over the next three years to back their diaspora volunteering initiative. The move will enable many more people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to contribute their professional skills in their countries of heritage to the fight against poverty, said VSO.

The funding comes this week as a welcome birthday present to VSO as they celebrate their 50th anniversary with an event at Royal Festival Hall in London tomorrow (15 March) addressed by the Secretary for State International Development Douglas Alexander.

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of VSO, said:

“VSO welcomes this initiative by DFID as a bold step which builds on the proven success of our diaspora partnership pilot project.

“We have been working with a range of African and Asian organisations for the last three years. This partnership shows the huge contribution the British-based diaspora can make through harnessing their commitment and sharing their skills and expertise in their countries of heritage and beyond.”

Since the diaspora volunteering initiative begun in 2006, over a hundred volunteers have worked abroad sharing their skills.

Volunteers not only contribute to development in the countries where they work, but also return to the UK with a refined skill set and a strong sense of personal and professional growth. They often also continue their contribution through getting involved in professional networks and organisations supporting worthwhile programmes in their home countries.
Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, who made the announcement today said:

“One of the most effective ways to fight global poverty is to get people more personally involved. Volunteering provides an opportunity for those with the skills, energy and enthusiasm to give, and to get, valuable experience and make a contribution to improve the lives of others.

“People from diaspora communities are under-represented as volunteers, which is a lost opportunity. But this new support will help encourage greater involvement. Volunteers coming back to the UK will not only bring new skills and experiences but also have a stronger voice in their communities in generating support for the fight against poverty.”

To find out more about volunteering with VSO go to: www.vso.org.uk or call 020 8780 7500.

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Website: • http://www.vso.org.uk/about/diaspora_volunteering/diaspora_intro.asp#0
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