VSO's vision is a world without poverty.

We bring people together to address marginalisation and poverty.

Our unique role in international development is to place committed volunteers with carefully selected organisations so their skills generate the greatest value.

We know, from sixty years of experience, that when teachers pass on their skills to others, community groups shown reliable sources of income, and governments helped to make systems fairer, this brings about lasting change. 

Read more: https://www.vsointernational.org


Policy legislation and its implementation 
VSO is committed to implementing the UNCRPD wherever we work and to upholding the philosophy “nothing – about – us - without - us”. VSO’s own position paper on promoting inclusion of disability drives our approach towards inclusion across the organisation and its programming. 

Representation and empowerment of persons with disabilities VSO’s people first framework ensures people with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities, are at the centre of the planning, designing and implementation of our programmes. Social exclusion and gender analysis across our portfolio informs our programming design to ensure inclusion of marginalised groups. VSO is committed to working with DPOs to strengthen their agency, rights and participation in development processes. 

Stereotypes attitudes and behaviours 
VSO takes a zero tolerance approach to discrimination and we strive to promote equality for all. We are committed to raising awareness and understanding of disability, social inclusion and gender amongst staff and volunteers. VSO systematically trains all staff and volunteers on the key concepts of discrimination, inequality, injustice and exclusion. So far 70% of staff and 230 volunteers have received this training. We aim to increase this to 80% over the next 2 years and to embed inclusion training in the induction of all volunteers.

Theme: Eliminate Stigma and Discrimination
Year: 2018

Capacity building: teachers and staff  
VSO will support the development and implementation of comprehensive pre-service and in-service inclusive teacher training programmes. This training aims to improve teachers’ knowledge, skills, expertise and attitudes to conduct assessments of children’s disabilities. And improve the adaptiveness of their teaching methods for children with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. VSO will train teachers and community volunteers to use Washington Group questions to assess the prevalence of disability and share promising practices on inclusive teaching. 

Timeframe and/or implementation plan 
VSO is hosting a writeshop in September 2018 to collect learning and promising practices from VSO’s programmes on inclusive education for learners with disabilities. VSO will be training teachers and staff to use Washington Group questions in Nepal and Rwanda in 2018, and roll this out to other countries over the next two years.

Theme: Inclusive Education
Year: 2018

Inclusive environment in the workplace 
VSO is committed to being an inclusive employer. This is reflected in our policies and practice and we are committed to making our recruitment processes fully accessible and inclusive. We make reasonable accommodation for applicants through the interview process. We are aware of the challenges in some countries where we work of providing accessible working environments, and are working to improve this. We are keen to increase the organisational representation of persons with disabilities. This representation relates to how we give voice and face to persons with disabilities in our public communications and organisational documentation, and to how we include persons with disabilities amongst staff and volunteers. VSO is committed to making our recruitment processes fully accessible and inclusive. 

Amending legal frameworks 
In several countries where we work including Kenya, Rwanda, Nepal and Mozambique we have been part of policy influencing initiatives. We strive to do more of this and influence legislation to become responsive or inclusive to the needs of people with disabilities, especially women with disabilities.

Access to financial services and livelihoods opportunities
In our livelihoods programming, we will continue to work to enhance participation of people with disabilities in gainful livelihood opportunities and financial inclusion. VSO is committed to promoting skills of people with disabilities to increase their chances of finding decent work. We will continue to implement these programmes in east Africa, with the intention of replicating these learnings in our countries. 

Theme: Routes to Economic Empowerment
Year: 2018

VSO commits to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 Level AA from the World Wide Web Consortium - the internationally recognised set of recommendations for improving web accessibility across all the domains managed centrally by VSO. This includes vsointernational.org and volunteerics.org.   

Timeframe and/or implementation plan 
Following a major content and design update in 2018, which will incorporate an accessibility review, VSO will commit to a detailed accessibility audit in early 2019 to confirm our ambition.

Theme: Harnessing Technology and Innovation
Year: 2018

Commit to use the Washington Group questions
At VSO, we are committed to improving the evidence we collect in order to better understand and address the nature and scale of challenges faced by people within our programmes and in the communities where we work. We are adding the Washington Group’s Short Setof questions to all appropriate data collection tools, as well as drawing on further Washington Group question sets (such as the Child Functioningmodule developed with UNICEF) in relevant situations. In addition we are using the Washington group questions as part of the application process for the International Citizen Service programme

Timeframe and/or implementation plan 
We are already using Washington Group questions to monitor one programme’s outputs (in Nepal), to conduct a national-level disability assessment (in Rwanda), and to provide data for a multi-country programme evaluation across Africa and Asia. Learning from these projects will enable us to integrate Washington Group questions into 85% of all VSO evaluations and research by 2019, and to greatly improve inclusion of people with disabilities in our organisational monitoring data from FY 2019/20.

Theme: Data Disaggregation
Year: 2018

Through our Social exclusion and Gender analysis we have started to identify women and girls with disabilities from marginalized communities and tailoring appropriate responses for their inclusion in our programmes. We will provide personalized social support to eliminate harmful social norms and practices and stereotypes against women and girls with disabilities. This will be through mentoring and facilitation provided by community and other expert volunteers, working with their family members and communities. We will support programme interventions which build the leadership of women with disabilities.

Theme: Women and Girls with Disabilities
Year: 2018

VSO will take necessary steps to identify and reach out to people with disabilities during any humanitarian interventions we undertake.

Theme: Conflict and Humanitarian Contexts
Year: 2018