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  • ​​​​​​​Building understanding: Mental health and youth volunteering

    In the UK alone, one in every four people has experienced a mental health problem in the past year. Yet despite this prevalence, the topic is all-too-often overlooked and misunderstood.

    While the stigma…

  • “Sometimes stigma isn’t always obvious” – Richard’s story

    Richard Wheatley, 23, from London, is functionally blind in one eye due to a brain tumour diagnosed at age five. But never one to be put off taking on a challenge, Richard has been using his skills in the…

  • “We beat the best goalball players on earth” – Patience’s story

    Patience Bamelikuu, 26, from Ghana, had never played the Paralympic sport of goalball before her International Service ICS placement. What she didn’t realise was how much the sport would change her attitudes…

  • Networks

    What happens after volunteering is just as important as what happens on placement. We're committed to empowering young people to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and continue their journey as…

  • Using Your Hobbies to Fundraise

    Want to put the fun in fundraising? Use your hobbies and do what you love to smash your target. ICS volunteers Hailey Shaw and Chloe Bradbury used their different hobbies of football and dance to hang out with friends, reach people…
  • Call it out, dial it in: Bangladeshi youth volunteers stand up to harassment

    In Dhaka, public transport is an unpleasant – and often dangerous – experience, especially if you’re a woman or girl.

    Bangladeshi volunteer Atika Shafa, 21, is part of a team of 10 ICS…

  • Pictures that tell a thousand words: Our 2017 photo competition winners

    From those special moments shared with your volunteer counterpart, to celebrating breakthrough successes following weeks of hard work – there’s nothing that offers a better insight into the ICS experience than…

  • After two years of ICS in Battambang, here's how locals are celebrating volunteers' impact

    In Battambang, Cambodia, a lack of skills and jobs are forcing young people to migrate to Thailand. Volunteers on VSO Cambodia's ICS programme are changing that. They’re raising awareness of the places where…

  • Register for the UK National Youth Engagement Networks (NYEN)

    ICS is committed to empowering young people to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and continue their journey as active citizens after their ICS placement.

    One way we’re doing this is…

  • "Goalball makes disabled people visible" - Lucy's story

    Lucy Ashton, 22, from Bolton, lives with a visual impairment which doesn’t always make life easy. When she went to volunteer in Sandema, north Ghana, on International Service ICS’ goalball project, REACT, she…

  • 10 photos celebrating Youth Day in the UK

    All around the world this month our focus has been on youth. 

    We put on 13 events spanning three continents, celebrating the impact of 30,000 volunteers. We saw alumni interviewed on national TV about the…

  • Spotlight on Africa: celebrating International Youth Day

    Young people under 30 make up half the world’s population.

    And the problems facing the world in the years to come will be ours to solve. 

    From July through and past Youth Day in…

  • ICS photo competition

    Enter the ICS Photo Competition 2018 Categories Host home - We're looking for an image that captures life on placement - outside of the project work. This could be your host home, host family or an activity you and your hosts got up…
  • Here's how disability brought these women's lives together

    In the dusty town of Machakos, just south of Nairobi, disability is a dirty word.

    Parents hide their disabled children at home, teachers are put off taking jobs at special needs schools for fear of…

  • 2018 Global Youth Volunteers Forum

    We’re attending the Global Youth Volunteers Forum 2018 in Augsburg, Germany this October.  

    The theme is ‘Youth Volunteers Shaping the Future’. We’ve chosen three volunteers - two UK, and one Kenyan - to…

  • Charity work abroad

    Work with a charity abroad

    International Citizen Service (ICS) is a UK government funded programme that supports young people aged 18-25 to volunteer with a charity overseas. 

    The projects you will be…

  • A million stars to end gender violence

    Gladys Muthara, 29, and Susan Waruingi, 26, are Kenyan gender-based violence (GBV) campaigners. Thanks to the ICV Alumni Grant, they ran a year of workshops with teenage survivors of violence in the slums of…

  • We united blind and visually-impaired young people to fight stigma

    In northern Ghana, stigma around disability makes life challenging for people with visual impairments. We decided to bring together a team of fully-sighted and visually-impaired volunteers to see what we could do…

  • It was like the deaf were in a deep sleep

    Harrison Kariuki, 28, is a teacher and was part of VSO ICS’s all-deaf placement, Deafway, in 2016. Currently a volunteer at Kapsabet School for the Deaf in the west of the country, he's using sign language to…

  • Meet the Youth Steering group

    On 12 August 2018, we held a UK-wide celebration of all things ICS - championing the seven years and 30,000 volunteers that have made ICS what it is today. Organising it were a small but dedicated team of alumni…

  • Six photos that show ICS is no holiday

    Volunteering isn't easy. And ICS definitely isn't a holiday.

    On your placement you'll be pushed out of your comfort zone. You'll do things you never thought possible. But when your placement's over, you'…

  • Hosting has taught me that despite our different skin tones, we are all the same

    Grace Munini, 59, lives in Loitokitok, southern Kenya, with her husband Ruben. Her four grown-up children now have families of their own, and she has opened her home to participants of ICS.

    Mama Helen, as…

  • The 7 people you will meet on ICS

    It's always about the people, isn't it? 

    On ICS, you'll meet people on your team, in your host home, in the communities you work with and staff from a different part of the world. You'll see that somethings are exactly the…

  • Top Tips from a Top Fundraiser

    ICS volunteer April Quigley absolutely smashed her £800 fundraising target to raise a whopping £1245 before her placement with Raleigh in Nepal. Check out how she did it and her top tips to help you reach your own goal.…

  • ICS Celebration and Engagement Event

    July - August 2018
  • In conversation: Youth Adviser Takyiwa talks lifelong volunteering

    In 2017, VSO’s International Board recruited two Youth Advisers, young returned ICS volunteers with personal experience of VSO’s programming – Takyiwa Danso, 25 from the UK, and Felix Owino, 26, from Kenya – both…

  • Here’s what happened when we played Ghana’s national goalball team

    The first thing you need to know about goalball is that it's not just for the visually impaired.

    What is goalball?

    It’s a team sport in which a ball containing a bell is thrown at the opposing team’s…

  • How to maximise social media for your ICS fundraising

    So you’ve created your JustGiving page, and now it’s time to share it... But wait, you’re feeling shy? Cheeky? Embarrassed? Nervous?

    It's natural to feel this if you’ve never fundraised before, but this 5 step guide will…

  • I learnt to be a leader. You can too.

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my experience as an ICS team leader and how it’s shaped who I’ve gone on to become. I’ve been a confident person for as long as I can remember – but I wouldn’t say being in a leadership role…

  • My 12 weeks in Cambodia

    I spent 12 weeks volunteering in Cambodia this year. Here’s a glimpse from my time there in photos.

  • Using apps to fill the gaps: bringing education to Rohingya refugees

    For almost 700,000 refugees, Cox’s Bazar in eastern Bangladesh is all they have to call home. For those arriving – with more than half being children – lasting trauma and a lack of education continues to define…

  • How do I hit my ICS Fundraising target? Here's how Lydia did it!

    Fundraising can be a daunting experience (we hear ya!). But, we’re lucky over at ICS HQ because we get to hear stories of inspirational volunteers achieving the one thing they thought they couldn’t and hitting (or often exceeding)…

  • Raise your voice to a global audience on disability and aid

    On July 24, 2018, The UK Department for International Development and the Government of Kenya will jointly host the first-ever Global Disability Summit in London.

    ICS will be there ensuring that young…

  • ICS Celebration and Engagement Event

    Please confirm your attendance at the ICS Celebration and Engagement event on Sunday 12 August 2018 at The Studio, Birmingham.

    Event timings: 10:00am - 4:30pm, networking until 6:00pm…

  • What’s the Commonwealth got in common?

    More than a quarter of the world’s countries belong to the Commonwealth.

    It’s a diverse network that spans the global north and south. It’s a unique platform that can influence decisions affecting a huge…

  • I want to be free and I want to be feminist

    I live in Uganda. As a woman here, 60% of us have experienced violence in our lifetime. One in five of us have suffered physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in the last year. And one in four in…

  • Fundraising during Exams

    It’s that time of year again! A year of skipping lectures to have a lovely lie in and putting off essays to the last minute comes back to bite. EXAMS!! But, fear not! With a little careful planning and creativity there’s no reason…

  • Wrong place, right time

    At 18, Keah Mcilwain was volunteering with ICS in Nepal when the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the remote village of Sotipasal, in the central district of Lamjung. Keah and her fellow volunteers…

  • Register for Global Citizen Tickets

    Sign up below to register for tickets Global Citizen Live on 17 April at the 02 Academy Brixton in London.

    Tickets are allocated on a first come first serve basis. 

     

    Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately all…
  • ‘Development is about hearing everyone’s ideas’: Evelyn’s story

    Before I volunteered with VSO ICS in 2015, I was completely lost.

    I had no sense of direction, no focus, and the future for me was blurred. Although I’d graduated from university, I didn’t know where to…

  • ICS photography guidance

    Your story is more likely to be published in your local media if you provide up to three images with your press release, in which you can be clearly seen. 

    Please upload your photos to Imgur or a similar…

  • What I learned at WOW this year

    Every year the WOW Festival at London’s Southbank brings together some of the world’s most inspiring women to take a closer look at the issues affecting women globally and celebrate the leaps being made to tackle…

  • Water is life: I gave my village access to clean water for the first time

    © Bright Bosu-Tekpor Bright installed a well in his local community to ensure they have access to…
  • To pee or not to pee: My viral water-saving campaign to wee in the shower

    VSO ICS alumni Deborah Torr, 24, never expected the light-hearted water saving campaign she started while at university to attract so much international media attention.