New £27m funding partnership announced with VSO at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The UK Government today (Saturday 25 June) announced a new £27 million partnership with the UK’s leading overseas volunteering charity, VSO, to enable people living in low-income countries income from the Commonwealth and other countries to take control of their future.

The Active Citizenship Through Inclusive Volunteering & Empowerment (ACTIVE) program aims to reach 2.5 million people in 18 countries by mobilizing marginalized groups – including women, youth and people with disabilities – to take action on issues most important to them and their local communities. communities.

This funding will build on the Volunteering for Development model to help strengthen locally-led organizations and create a culture of volunteering, while building capacity in UK partner countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Eswatini, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Tanzania. , Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Bangladesh to meet the demands of their citizens.

It will include twinning partnerships between hospitals in the UK and those in our partner countries to exchange skills and knowledge, particularly in areas such as childhood cancer and family planning. Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust and Nyagatare District Hospital in Rwanda are already working together, and further partnerships are planned with hospitals across the UK.

Educational partnerships will also be a cornerstone of the ACTIVE program, including the Numeracy for All project, which will help teachers make and use low-cost, free teaching aids that encourage active and playful math learning.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South and Central Asia, North Africa, UN and Commonwealth, said:

The new ACTIVE program will be a unique opportunity to use British expertise through volunteering to help our partner countries take the lead in their own development.

By unlocking the potential of individuals and communities through volunteer work, while supporting the best locally-led organizations to address the priorities of the people and communities they benefit, we can bring about lasting and inclusive change.

I am delighted that the UK Government can take its partnership with VSO to the next level through this exciting new programme.

The FCDO Minister for the Commonwealth announced the Partnership for Change during a roundtable with Rwandan civil society at CHOGM in Kigali.

ACTIVE will build on the success of the FCDO-funded Volunteering for Development scheme (£70.5m), which ended in March 2022. Over the course of the five-year programme, the FCDO has supported over 350 local partner organizations and more than 6,500 volunteers in 24 countries. , to improve access to health, education and livelihood services for 5 million people.

Dr. Philip Goodwin, CEO of VSO, said:

Volunteering for Development has helped establish the UK as a global leader and authority on quality and inclusive volunteering practices that put volunteers and the most marginalized people at the center of influencing change in their own lives .

The ACTIVE grant will allow VSO to continue to support national and community volunteers to be agents of change.

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