Supporting you

Supporting you

We work closely with our partner organisations around the world to make sure we recruit the right person for each placement. We’ll help you prepare before you go on your placement. We'll also support you while you're there and when you return.

Richard Otika in Uganda

Preparing for your placement

We use a variety of training methods to help prepare you for your time on placement, including self briefing, online training and face-to-face training. You'll gain knowledge and an understanding of international development issues, as well as those specific to the country where you will be volunteering. This is so you can start your placement feeling confident about the challenges you may have to face.

We ask volunteers to contribute to the costs of their placements by doing some fundraising. This process has a double impact for us: it provides much-needed cash to keep our overseas programmes in action, and it also presents an invaluable opportunity to raise VSO’s profile in the community. By asking people to support you, you’re also introducing them VSO and the unique way we work.

Don’t worry if you’ve never fundraised before. We’ll give you fundraising advice, support and resources. We can also connect you with a group of volunteers, who will be keen to share their experiences with you and offer practical tips about fundraising and preparing for your placement.

During your placement

Once in-country you will go through an orientation period while you acclimatise. This includes things such as language lessons and ethics specific to the area you are in.

Once you are in-country, although your primary relationship will be with your employer, our country office is always there to help with major personal, medical or security problems.

In terms of financial support, VSO will typically cover the following costs:

  • medical examination with your GP
  • medical insurance and required immunisations and anti-malarials
  • your training, including accommodation and food whilst on residential training weekends
  • one return flight to get you to, and home from, your placement
  • accommodation whilst in your placement
  • an allowance to cover your basic living expenses whilst overseas.

What you'll typically need to cover:

  • criminal record check
  • a dental check up
  • personal effects insurance
  • pensions contributions or national insurance
  • any professional memberships and registrations.

Coming home

Shortly before you come home, we'll provide you with:

  • a leaver's guide to assist you with all the things you need to complete
  • resettlement information through our Learning Hub - our intranet for volunteers and staff with a dedicated returning volunteers section
  • an invitation to a ‘Returned Volunteer Weekend’ where you may share your experiences and provide feedback
  • the chance to stay involved with VSO, through talks, training for new volunteers, fundraising and other opportunities.