At the moment the coronavirus is present in almost all countries where VSO works. COVID-19 can have major consequences for the people we want to help. In many countries, health care is inadequate, the economy is vulnerable and people’s ability to keep their distance or stay at home is limited.
The welfare of the communities, local volunteers, experts, employees and partners is our highest priority.
We are in constant contact with our local staff to discuss the latest updates and advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and national governments so that we can respond to the situation on a country-by-country basis. Our international medical and safety teams closely monitor the situation and take action where necessary.
We all face a huge challenge but will continue to help people in the most vulnerable areas of Africa and Asia. Your support and trust are more important than ever. Thank you for that.
We wish you and your loved ones good health and strength.
Frequently asked questions
Attention: developments surrounding the coronavirus are developing rapidly. This information was last updated on 4-2-2020.
What is VSO doing now with the projects in the countries affected by the coronavirus?
As an international organisation, we too will have to adjust our activities in the coming months. Our programmes and projects will have to be adapted temporarily or given a different content, depending on local circumstances.
Our experience in deploying local volunteers to strengthen communities and health care – such as during the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique – could prove to be invaluable right now.
We are currently investigating how best to apply this experience in the current crisis.
What does VSO do with the experts deployed in Africa or Asia?
Like all our employees, all our national and international professional experts can return home whenever they want. VSO supports them in this. Now, almost all international professional experts have temporarily returned home.
All VSO country offices have an emergency plan to protect all employees and volunteers in case of threat, including health risks.
VSO’s medical and safety teams continuously monitor the situation and offer specialist assistance in managing the impact of the pandemic in all places where we work.
What happens to international experts who were soon to be deployed on a local project?
We are not deploying any international experts at the moment. The people who would soon be working for VSO abroad can postpone their deployment. The situation is closely monitored by our teams, here and in the countries we work in.
Why are you still recruiting for professional volunteers abroad?
We are continuing to recruit new professional experts due to the long preparation time (four months on average). So we are prepared and have a pool of professional experts ready to work together on plans for the future. A future in which we will continue to dedicate ourselves nonstop to the most vulnerable communities in Africa and Asia.
Where can I find the latest and reliable information about COVID-19?
For more information, visit the websites of the Dutch government and the RIVM.