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Minister Sherlock launches Online Resource for Overseas Volunteering at Irish Aid Volunteer Fair

Volunteering, News/feature, Africa, Ireland, 2014


Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today launched a new online resource to assist Irish people to volunteer in the developing world.

Speaking at the Irish Aid Volunteering Fair in Dublin Castle, Minister Sherlock said:

“Volunteering overseas is a time-honoured tradition in Ireland that has left a rich legacy both here and throughout the developing world, particularly in Africa. Thousands of Irish volunteers, including representatives of missionary congregations, charities and others have used their skills in the service of others. It is a tradition that we can all be proud of.

“Last year, the Government, as part of its commitment to volunteering, launched the Irish Aid Volunteering Initiative. The initiative aims to strengthen support for overseas volunteering – from the earliest stage when a person first considers volunteering to the volunteer’s return home.”

As part of the Irish Aid Volunteer Initiative, Minister Sherlock launched a new online information portal - #VolOps. Prospective and current volunteers now have access to information about responsible volunteering and volunteer placements more easily, by harnessing the potential of social media. Individual skills can now be better matched to the needs of the countries and communities in which they will work.

“Volunteering can be a very positive experience for both the volunteer and the host communities in which they work. I believe that everyone in our society should have an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of development issues and to understand the important role that they can play in helping to combat the causes of global poverty and hunger. International volunteering is one such way that people can get involved.”, Minister Sherlock said.

Press Office
11 October 2014

Notes to the Editor:

• Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

• The Irish Aid Volunteer Fair was held in the Print Works, Dublin Castle and attracted over 300 visitors.

• 26 Volunteer Sending Agencies had information stands at the Fair.

• Last year, the Government as part of its commitment to volunteering launched the Irish Aid Volunteering Initiative. The specific aims of the Volunteering Initiative are to strengthen support for volunteering at each stage of the volunteering process – from the early stages when a person first considers volunteering abroad, to their return home.

• The Fair is an annual event, provided for under the Volunteering Initiative to promote awareness, interest in and knowledge of overseas volunteering.

• This is the ninth hosting of the Irish Aid Volunteering Fair.

• The Volunteer Fair is organised in cooperation with Comhlámh – the association of returned volunteers.

• #VolOps has been developed - as part of the Irish Aid Volunteering Initiative. Using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, it aims to bring information on volunteering opportunities instantly to the attention of potential volunteers. It also allows volunteers to connect directly with Volunteer Sending Agencies, thus enabling a better match to be made between the skills people have and the volunteering placements available.

• Full information on #VolOps can be found on: http://www.volunteeringoptions.org and the Irish Aid Volunteering Fair on: www.irishaid.ie

• In 2013, volunteers from Ireland worked in 47 countries across the globe with Irish volunteers working, in particular, in all of Irish Aid’s Key Partner countries: Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.