VSO, Global Xchange

Volunteering together for personal development and global change

A world where active global citizens create positive change and build mutual understanding and respect.”

This was the vision of Global Xchange, a partnership between VSO and The British Council, which ran a six-month international exchange programme for young people. Participants spent three months volunteering in the UK and three months on a volunteer project in an exchange country.

  • We supported Global Xchange between 2009/10 and 2010/11 with grants of £13,102 and £20,614 respectively.
  • 4 young people from Gibraltar took part in Global Xchange – they volunteered in Swansea and Mozambique; Manchester and India; and Birmingham and Kenya.
  • In 2011, Global Xchange became part of the International Citizen Service, a British Government initiativefunded by the Department for International Development.

Being better global citizens

Meenal volunteered in Swansea and Mozambique as part of a team of nine UK volunteers and nine Mozambican volunteers. In a small village in Mozambique, they made and distributed leaflets to raise awareness about HIV. They also started off a perma-culture garden to allow the community to grow their own food. Before they left for the UK, the volunteers trained young people in the village to carry on with the projects they’d started. In Swansea, they worked in a soup kitchen and built fences and a compost garden for schools. They also took part in fundraising and campaigning for the charities they volunteered for.

“I strongly believe we can help change the lives of others just by volunteering in our free time,” says Meenal. “As young people, we can be active in our community and use our energy and skills to become a better global citizen as well as a better human being.”

Emily spent her time in Manchester and Rajasthan, India. “Living in two very different and diverse communities has been a very important lesson for me,” she says. “The experience has brought to light the fact that we need to work alongside people to identify what the community needs and to have a positive impact in the realm of community development.”

“VSO’s Global Xchange programme is a huge opportunity for self-development and to experience how less fortunate people live in other parts of the world. I am very glad that the Kusuma Trust in Gibraltar has chosen to support VSO, enabling myself and others from here to be able to benefit from the Xchange programme.”

Cecile, Global Xchange participant

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