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Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)

Posted in Projects

Commonwealth Scholarship & Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

Stakeholder Overview

VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries also championing advocacy and campaigns, partnerships and sharing good practice. It brings people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action, and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all.

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  • Group of trainees working on a group task
  • Group of trainees working on a problem with CRD facilitator
  • Group of trainees working on a problem with CRD facilitator

Vision: A world without poverty.

Mission: VSO brings people together to fight poverty

  • By thinking globally, we can change the world

  • Progress is only possible by working together

  • Knowledge is our most powerful tool

  • People are the best agents of change

VSO Nigeria            

Nigeria is one of VSO’s longest running programmes. The current areas of VSO Nigeria’s work are HIV and AIDS, education, secure livelihoods and national volunteering. In recent years, VSO’s involvement in Nigeria has also extended to six successful Global Xchange programmes for Nigerian and British youths.

VSO Nigeria: Education

Nigeria’s education system faces the challenges of strengthening teachers qualifications and improving education management. VSO’s education activities in Nigeria have sought to meet these challenges by shifting from providing classroom-based teaching positions to successfully placing volunteers in management and training roles. Volunteers are working to improve the quality and relevance of education with education managers strengthening the management systems of government institutions in the primary sector and teacher trainers upgrading primary teachers’ qualifications.

Therefore, the importance for BNET to work with VSO Nigeria enhances the teacher training focus established with the BNET- National Teachers Institute partnership.

BNET Project Overview

To reflect BNET’s continual support for the VSO, a volunteer is sponsored annually for placement in Nigeria to undertake all aspects of teacher training and development.

Nasarawa State In-Service Teacher Training Project

In Spring 2011 BNET agreed it would support VSO’s plan to replicate their pilot exercise to a larger scale and approved a grant to fund one cluster of schools in Nasarawa State. This enabled sixty teachers selected from five rural primary schools to benefit under this instruction scheme. The project ran for 2 months where the VSO designed and implemented skill upgrading and improvement for in-service teachers.

Lucy StilesBy June 2011 the BNET sponsored VSO Volunteer Lucy Stiles and her team in Gudi had successfully completed their programme. Training workshops were very interactive and covered making and using teaching aids, literacy and numeracy activities, group work, questioning skills and lesson planning. Key staff and head teachers were trained and are now implementing staff meetings for the rest of the staff to step- down the training. 

After the Trust’s AGM held on July 12, 2012 Miss Lucy Stiles gave an illustrated talk about her 2-year attachment to the College of Education at Akwanga, Nasarawa State and the innovative projects she had initiated. Included in her presentation was a summary of VSO’s current plans and priorities for education in Nigeria. A transcript of Lucy's presentation is available pdfhere.

The BNET Trustees believe such projects demonstrate  exactly the role VSO should take, acting as a catalyst and bringing in a legacy of new skills and opportunities for Nigerians and their institutions to build upon.

Moving forward

  • 2012 - BNET sponsored VSO Volunteer Lesley Marchant to undertake the role of a Teacher Trainer for the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board.  Her successful placement covered a period of 18 months.
  • 2014 - In keeping with its commitment to support teacher training and development another sponsorship was given for the placement of VSO Volunteer Bernie Allen.  Working with the Kwara State Ministry of Education her role is to oversee the management of national graduate volunteers and youth corpers in the implementation of VSO's programme of projects in Kwara State.  Her duties will focus on in-house teacher training and the organising of development courses.

Bernie arrived in Nigeria on 20 January 2015 and after a period of induction and familiarisation at the VSO offices in Abuja she travelled to Ilorin on 4th March. A very interesting and descriptive account of her first journey in Nigeria from Abuja to Ilorin is in the ink below. 

Bernie Allen - VSO: Journey - Abuja to Ilorin

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