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U.S.-U.K. Partnership with Peace Corps, VSO

14 March 2012

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
March 14, 2012

Joint Fact Sheet: Peace Corps and VSO Partnership on Volunteerism to Promote Global Development

“And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.”
-- President Barack Obama, June 4, 2009

“I want young people from this country to have the chance to really understand the challenges faced by people in very poor countries, by living and working alongside them to improve their lives.”
-- Prime Minister David Cameron, March 9, 2011

Expanding collaboration based on the partnership that President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron announced in May 2011, Peace Corps and VSO are leveraging the resources of both organizations to improve the lives of poor and marginalized people, and to promote the value of volunteering in global development. Peace Corps and VSO are exchanging knowledge and collaborating on key development interests, building on our nations’ shared history of volunteerism.

Leaders in International Volunteerism for more than 50 Years - Peace Corps and VSO are leading global organizations that fight poverty by using the power of people and volunteers to bring about lasting change. Both organizations are founded on an approach that puts people first, and fosters capacity building and knowledge exchange in a way that transforms poor and marginalized communities worldwide. Peace Corps and VSO’s joint network of more than 10,000 currently serving volunteers in nearly 95 countries, combined with an alumni base of more than 250,000 former volunteers, will enhance global volunteerism efforts and create lasting change.

Complementing One Another, Building on Strengths - Peace Corps and VSO have collaborated for more than a decade. This initiative formalizes the partnership and will increase the global impact of the efforts of both organizations. Volunteers will work alongside local communities and partner organizations on development priorities, and help them build a lasting legacy of local volunteerism, creating a real and sustainable difference in people’s lives.

Increased Impact through Partnership

Peace Corps and VSO Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Volunteerism to Promote Global Development: Peace Corps and VSO celebrated 2011 International Volunteer Day and the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10) by signing a partnership agreement on December 5, 2011 at the United Nations in New York, highlighting the important role that partnerships play to share best practices and maximize development impact.

Organizational level collaboration: Peace Corps and VSO staff are increasing collaboration at the organizational level in key strategic areas of recruitment, monitoring and evaluation, programming and training. By sharing best practice in training, systems and innovation, the partnership is enhancing the effectiveness of both organizations.

Country level collaboration: Peace Corps and VSO are expanding collaboration in many of the more than 25 countries where both organizations work. Peace Corps and VSO are addressing urgent development challenges in areas such as education, health, HIV/AIDS, youth development, gender, climate change and citizen participation by sharing knowledge, resources, and training capabilities to further enhance each organization’s current programming and training. For example:

In Tanzania, Peace Corps and VSO collaborate closely to improve the English capacity of Tanzanian teachers, and share materials and resources to improve in-country training for volunteers.

In the Philippines, Peace Corps and VSO support national level Philippines-led volunteering efforts, especially among young people. Both organizations coordinate with the National Youth Commission, the Philippines National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, the Department of Social Welfare Development, and other international partners such as United Nations Volunteers (UNV).

In Nepal, VSO staff are providing guidance and support to recently arrived Peace Corps staff as Peace Corps re-opens a program in Nepal after a seven year absence.

In Vanuatu, Peace Corps and VSO volunteers are working together on health sector projects including on a PEPFAR-funded project that facilitates HIV/AIDS trainings for village health workers.

About the Peace Corps

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

About VSO

VSO is a development organisation that fights poverty through volunteers. VSO is different from most organisations that fight poverty. Instead of sending money or food, we bring people together to share skills and knowledge. In doing so, we create lasting change. Our volunteers work in whatever fields are necessary to fight the forces that keep people in poverty – from education and health through to helping people learn the skills to make a living. In doing so, they invest in local people, so the impact they make endures long after their placement ends. We’re also focused on gender equality and, increasingly, climate change. And we help poor people to get their messages heard, gathering public support and advising influential decisionmakers. Today VSO recruits volunteers from 10 countries to work on programmes in 37 countries.

VSO has submitted a position paper to member state delegations on today’s United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the Tenth Anniversary of International Year of the Volunteer and this is available at today's signing event. You can find out more about VSO at www.vsointernational.org.