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Trustees VSO International

Following the pandemic and threatened global peace, social inequality is rising, the climate emergency is worsening, and the civil society space is shrinking. It is more vital than ever that we ensure the voices of the most marginalised and vulnerable people are heard to drive change and make the world more stable and inclusive. This is an exciting and rewarding opportunity to drive that ambition by joining the VSO International Board of Trustees to create a positive and long-lasting impact for the most marginalised communities.

  • Location: Virtual with one meeting a year in person as a group
  • Salary: Unremunerated with reasonable expense paid
  • Closing date: CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

Who we are

VSO is the world’s leading international non-governmental organisation that works through volunteers to create a fair world for everyone. In 2022/23, over 7,700 dedicated individuals from across the globe volunteered with VSO, bringing their abilities to support almost 11 million people in 35 countries.

Our work centres on those who are left out by society – those living in extreme poverty or with disability and illness. Those who face discrimination and violence because of their gender, sexuality, or social status. Those who are at risk from disaster, disease, and conflict.

But they are not passive beneficiaries of aid; they are the “primary actors” at the heart of our efforts. From their perspective, we define the issues, opportunities, and solutions that drive sustainable, local-led change. These individuals are the key agents of their own transformation.

Our Approach

Our Volunteering for Development (VfD) method supports the most vulnerable and marginalised to achieve their rights and bring about lasting change to create a fair world for everyone. Rooted in addressing the fundamental causes of marginalisation and vulnerability, our three core approaches – social inclusion and gender, social accountability, and resilience – guide our work in inclusive education, health, and resilient livelihoods.

Central to our VfD method is the significance of relationships in driving change. With most of our volunteers being national, we build blended teams of community, national, and international volunteers, uniting diverse perspectives and experiences to generate insight, innovation, and action that tackles the complex issues faced by our communities. This kindles the potential for active citizenship worldwide, encouraging people to step forward and lead the change that fosters a fair world for all.

Our impact is significant, with support provided at the community level, within local authorities, and even within national and multilateral institutions like the African Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, driving policy change and sector-wide approaches. We firmly believe that progress is achieved through collaboration, and strong partnerships are vital to driving positive change.

Our Board of Trustees

While we continue to evolve and adapt, our vision remains unwavering to create a fair world for everyone. Last year, we launched our “Together we are Changemakers” strategy, which will bring lasting and positive change in the lives of primary actors and make a significant contribution toward achieving the SDGs. The trustee board work closely with the executive to ensure we can deliver our vision and strategy. It is very much a joint endeavour where the trustees bring their insight, skills, and experience to support the executive in delivering the VSO mission.

VSO is a people-based organisation; lots of people who are all different, and we practise inclusion as part of our Volunteering for Development approach.

Who we are looking for

We are looking for several new Trustees to join our board over the coming year, with two people appointed by the end of this year.

Our trustees contribute — alongside our primary actors, project delivery teams, employees and volunteers, global team of employees, and partner organisations — to generating a fair world for everyone. The trustees role in this is one of governance and leadership.

We are interested in welcoming applications from those who can relate culturally to the combination of people, place, and community of the primary actors with whom we work to bring about lasting change through the transformational power of volunteering for development. As an international board, we want to ensure our board is reflective of the spaces, places, and cultures we work with.

We are looking for people who bring a range of skills and experiences, from a variety of sectors and backgrounds, including but not limited to the following:

  • Competitive/commercial global complex business and operating models with a variety of income streams, finance, strategy, and HR.
  • Communications, marketing, reputational management, and social media.
  • Digital, data analytics and insight.
  • IT/digital planning and implementation across multiple systems, including cyber security in a global operating model.
  • International development experience.
  • Financial direction, oversight, and compliance.

Given we work, recruit and deliver our programmes globally, we are keen to encourage applications from candidates based internationally, especially in Asia, Africa, and Europe, including Ireland.

We work with young people, and we are looking to ensure our board includes professionals with experience in youth outreach, engagement, and advocacy.

Time Commitment

With a “digital first” operating model, we are embracing the digital approach and are looking for trustees who will be present in this space. We expect the overall time commitment to be the equivalent of up to a day a month.

This will be spread across various activities, including ad hoc conversations, preparation for board meetings, event attendance, etc. Below is a breakdown of key expectations.

  • Our Board meets quarterly, with three meetings held virtually.
  • A face-to-face meet-up is a once-a-year event in London. We are conscious of the climate emergency and want to limit travel in line with our “digital first” approach.
  • Additionally, Trustees will be a member of one sub-committee – either the Audit & Risk Committee or the Governance Committee – alternatively, Trustees can join one of our subsidiary boards, VSO Ireland or VSO USA, or a branch office board VSO Malawi or VSO Tanzania.
  • Both committee and subsidiary meetings normally meet three to four times a year for up to two hours virtually.
  • We hold two or three annual events involving some engagement with the VSO portfolio of work and learning and compliance activities, which are held virtually.
  • Meeting preparation – reading and engaging with executives/other trustees.

Together, we want to create a fair world for everyone through the lasting power of volunteering.

If this mission resonates with you, join VSO, a leading global international development organisation, as a Board Trustee and become part of this rewarding and exciting change journey.


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

Jennifer Horan | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

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If you would like to know more about this role please contact Jennifer Horan

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About VSO International

We bring about lasting change not by sending aid but by working through volunteers and partners to empower communities in some of the world’s poorest regions.

Our Volunteering for Development (VfD) method is central to our work. It supports the most vulnerable and marginalised people to achieve their rights and bring about lasting change to create a fair world for everyone. Rooted in addressing the fundamental causes of marginalisation and vulnerability, our three core approaches – social inclusion and gender, social accountability, and resilience – guide our work in inclusive education, health, and resilient livelihoods.

The key to our Vfd method is the relationships created and maintained, which is fundamental in driving change. With most of our volunteers being national, we build blended teams of community, national, and international volunteers, uniting diverse perspectives and experiences to generate insight, innovation, and action that tackles the complex issues faced by our communities.

Our Areas of Work

Inclusive and Resilient Education

Our inclusive and resilient education work gives every child the opportunity to learn literacy and numeracy at the right level. In 2022-23, we reached over 3.2 million people through our education programme. Education is a fundamental human right for all, yet 260 million children are still out of school worldwide.

Our projects focus on delivering girls’ education and early childhood care and education (ECCE) for the most marginalised children, especially those with disabilities and those facing intersecting challenges such as poverty, climate change, political instability and child marriage.

Resilient Livelihoods

The people VSO works with are facing multiple intersecting crises. They are at the forefront of the climate emergency, experiencing extreme weather events such as droughts and floods more frequently. In 2022-23, we reached almost 200,000 people through our resilient livelihoods programme.

VSO focuses on ensuring food, job and income security for marginalised women, young people and people with disabilities (PWD). Our aim is for marginalised and vulnerable women and young people to enjoy decent livelihoods and a dignified life. To ensure this, VSO works to strengthen the agency and voice of marginalised women, small-scale food producers and young people and their networks to transform food and labour markets, pushing for increased public investment in agroecology and green economy.

Through these global programmes, we mobilise, recruit and place appropriate and skilled volunteers in projects, institutions, and communities. Our programmes include Youth Empowerment, Green Jobs, and Decent Work and Women’s Empowerment, control of incomes and right to food.

Adolescent and youth health and wellbeing

In 2022-23, we reached almost 90,000 people through our health projects.

Our health programmes work with individuals and families, health workers, communities, youth networks and governments to improve health services and rights for some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged members of society, such as women, babies, youth, people with disabilities, and prisoners. We apply the volunteering for development methodology using social accountability, resilience, social inclusion, and gender mainstreaming to achieve outcomes from health systems and communities.

We do this through a variety of programmes, including: maternal and newborn health, inclusive sexual and reproductive health rights, and prison health.


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

Jennifer Horan | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Role Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “VSO International – Trustees” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

    Jennifer Horan | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07519 070497

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    Timetable

    Closing date: Monday 6th November 2023

    We are in the process of confirming interview dates. We will update the site once confirmed and contact those who have applied.


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and VSO International are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.


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