Just before the recess I was delighted to host an event celebrating the 80th anniversary of the International Voluntary Service.
Since its foundation in 1931, IVS has enabled 10,000 people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds from across Scotland and the rest of the UK to access volunteering opportunities with projects in over 70 countries.
IVS volunteers are sent to projects around the world to help meet the needs of a huge variety of projects. This work ranges from assisting local residents to restore war-torn areas, to supporting local charities abroad which rely on volunteers to survive.
Closer to home, IVS works all over the UK, providing local communities and projects with volunteers, helping sustain local initiatives.
Like other international organisations, IVS works for the sustainable development of local and global communities throughout the world. As I spoke at the event in Parliament I highlighted the distinctive qualities which have allowed the organisation to flourish including:
- Its focus on practical volunteering – welcoming people who have professional skills, and those who have few, or none
- Its inclusive policy – encouraging volunteers aged 16 to 65 and beyond
- Its flexible approach – people can get involved and still hold down jobs or commitments because, although it can be, it doesn’t have to be long term
- Its committment to peace through volunteering – where people from different nations, backgrounds and cultures come together. Volunteers eat, work, & live together, learning about each other and the issues in the local community around them.
IVS is a branch of Service Civil International (SCI), a world wide network of like minded branches and partner organisations which support the above aims. Because of this partnership, IVS has been able to maintain international volunteering experiences which directly benefit local communities, for the past eight decades.
If you would like to find out more about IVS and their work, including how you can become a volunteer, visit their website here.