VSO holds first ever awards ceremony to celebrate volunteers
Volunteers who’ve gone above and beyond in their quest to reduce poverty in some of the world’s most marginalised communities, have been recognised at a public ceremony in London on 15th November. For the first time, leading international development charity, VSO, thanked star volunteers from across the globe for their outstanding contribution to developing countries. More than 120 attendees heard about the significant impact that VSO has made through their volunteers. The event took place in Grocers Hall near Mansion House from 2pm, hosted by Mike Wooldridge OBE, Former BBC World Affairs Correspondent who volunteered with VSO in Uganda in the 1960s.
The judges received more than 80 nominations for volunteers working in more than 20 countries, but after much deliberation, they managed to shortlist winners for eight categories.
Since 1958, VSO has mobilised more than 66,000 volunteers across Africa, Asia, South America, the Pacific and the Middle East. Types of volunteers have included UK, international, in-country, youth, parliamentary, long term and corporate. The Volunteer Awards reflect volunteering in all its forms across VSO and International Citizen Service (ICS) –the international youth development volunteering programme funded by the UK government.
‘Alumni Award’ Joint winner – Stephanie Green from the UK volunteered in Ghana
In September 2013, Stephanie Green from Kent volunteered for two years in Tamale, northern Ghana with the ‘Kasalagu Women’s Cooperative’ and ‘TAMA Cosmetics’ – a local business which sells shea butter based products. Stephanie equipped female shea butter farmers with the business and marketing skills to make a better living. Since her return, Stephanie has set up a small business and has become the UK distributor for TAMA Cosmetics, selling their hand cream, soap and body lotion. Thanks to Stephanie’s involvement, the women who pick the shea nuts for these products are now getting paid 15% over the market rate of shea nuts and the women who turn the nuts into shea butter have received a 60% pay rise. In December, Stephanie will marry her Ghanaian fiancé Israel, the Finance Manager at TAMA Cosmetics, who she met in Tamale. Now both based in the UK, they hope to grow the business together. They’ve already secured funding from the Ghanaian government to train thousands of women for the business.