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Harvest Appeal 2007  

This Autumn the CARE committee is sponsoring Stephen Bunker, a VSO volunteer.  

VSO is an international development charity that works through professional volunteers who live and work at the heart of communities in 34 countries around the world. Working in partnership with local colleagues, they share their skills and expertise to help find long-term solutions to poverty.

VSO was voted top international development charity in the International Aid and Development category at the Charity Awards 2004 for its work in promoting innovative approaches to globalising volunteering.

VSO's approach to volunteering has changed dramatically over the years. It no longer sends school-leavers abroad.  Today, the average age of a volunteer is 38 and most placements are for two years. 

VSO is a leading development charity with almost 1,500 skilled professionals currently working in 34 countries. It responds to requests from governments and community organisations throughout Asia and Africa.

The volunteers aim to pass on their expertise to local people so that, when they return home, their skills remain. Volunteers can be aged between 20 and 75 years old and must have a formal qualification and some work experience. Regular postings are for two years and volunteers are provided with accommodation and a local level allowance as well as air fares and insurance.

VSO is actively recruiting volunteers all the time. The range of jobs is vast and includes small business advisors, teachers, social workers, health professionals, management consultants, marine biologists, accountants and farmers. 

VSO's Vision:

  • A world without poverty in which people work together to fulfil their potential.

VSO's Purpose: 

  • VSO promotes volunteering to fight global poverty and disadvantage. It brings people together to share skills, creativity and learning to build a fairer world.

VSO's Values:

  • We believe that everyone must be able to exercise his or her fundamental human rights.

  • We believe that people working together can achieve positive and lasting change.

  • We value diversity and cross-cultural understanding.

  • We value partnerships based on honesty and respect.

  • We value the innovation and creativity generated by shared endeavour.

  • We value openness to learning.

VSO History 

The late Alec and Mora Dickson founded VSO in 1958. Alec Dickson who saw VSO as a “marriage of needs” between young British people who wanted to volunteer and useful jobs that needed to be done in developing countries. The first eight volunteers went overseas to Ghana, Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) on 15th May 1958.  Since then, over 30,000 volunteers have shared their skills in 120 countries. Alec and Mora Dickson went on to establish CSV (Community Service Volunteers), which facilitates volunteering in the UK.

Steve Bunker, the volunteer that we will be sponsoring, currently lives in Ampthill.  He was educated at William Austin Junior School, Icknield High and Luton Sixth Form College. He has completed a PhD on Luton's nineteenth century development as a hat manufacturing town and been involved with the Luton Local History Society, as well as working the Luton Museum and the University of Luton.

Steve will be employed by Ghana Education, Curriculum, Research and Development Department (CRDD) as a Television / Radio Primary Education Broadcast Developer 

Overall Goal of the Placement

To improve the teaching of literacy, numeracy and science education in schools in Focus Regions of Ghana.

VSO has been supporting this goal by placing Teacher Support Officers and Teachers in selected Districts in Ghana. Stephen's specific placement aims to help reach out to a larger number of people through television and radio broadcasts. His placement is expected to last for 12 months.

Stephen's Likely Role

  • Review the existing syllabus and text on English and Maths in primary schools.
  • Interview primary school teachers, head teachers, CRDD staff, district directors etc to identify areas of need in terms of teaching English and Maths in Primary schools.
  • Develop appropriate lesson plans to take care of the identified areas of need.
  • Design a radio broadcast based on the Lesson Plans.
  • Train selected teachers / personnel to broadcast this.
  • Monitor and evaluate the programme for further development.

Qualifications and Qualities Required for the Volunteer Placement 

This placement requires a graduate volunteer with a good deal of experience with developing Television and Radio Broadcasts in English and Maths for primary schools. He should also be familiar with curriculum development.

The placement requires someone with very good interpersonal skills to work towards building and maintaining a good relationship with all the staff at CRDD. Even though they are very keen on developing a tele-teaching programme, due to pressure of work which often takes them out of Accra, they may not be available as desired for the completion of agreed meetings and plans. It therefore requires a lot of adaptability and patience to see one's plan through. An outgoing personality, a sense of humour and a degree of assertiveness would all make integration easier.

For further information, please click here to visit the VSO.

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Steve Bunker