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  • Calling all active citizens: Seven ways to help those in need right now

    We’re living in unprecedented times and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

    But despite the constant stream of worrying news about the coronavirus pandemic, now is a great time for us to make positive moves to…

  • Find your council's advice on coronavirus

    Your local council is the best source of official advice on local services.

    In this uncertain time, the value of trustworthy advice is so important. Signpost friends, family and colleagues to reliable information and make…

  • Climate Justice: leading the change

    To celebrate International Women’s Day, ICS alumni Hope Carpenter attended the Women of the World Festival in London to hear from Ireland’s first female President and global climate activist, Mary Robinson. After attending panel…

  • Navigating (the lack of) diversity and inclusion in international development

    My ICS placement and introduction into International Development

    My first introduction to the international development sector was in 2014 when I went on a volunteer placement with International Citizen Service (ICS). Fresh out of…

  • Coronavirus statement

    International Citizen Service responded swiftly to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and brought home all UK volunteers who were on ICS placements across Asia and Africa. The safety, security and wellbeing of our volunteers…

  • Think equal, build smart, innovate for change: technology innovations creating gender equality

    International Women’s Day at London’s Women of the World festival was filled with talks about how the rise of gender equality is changing the world around us. Carry on reading to explore some of the ways women are using technology…

  • Youth power in Tanzania

    Tanzania is one of the largest countries in East Africa and home to over 120 different tribal groups. ICS volunteers carry out projects on the eastern island of Zanzibar and in rural villages in the central…

  • Our definitive guide on how to find your first job in development

    Whether you’re just back from ICS and want that first job in the sector or already have a career underway – we show you how to make your move into international development.

  • How ICS helps in international development jobs

    After ICS, many volunteers are inspired to pursue a career in international development. We spoke to four alumni who told us what you can expect from those first steps in the sector. 

  • I cannot make the assessment day

    We're sorry you cannot make the assessment day. Please fill in the short form below to alert us of your decision.

    If you cannot make the assessment day because the date or time is not suitable then we will be in touch to…

  • What to bring

    Before the Assessment Day, please ensure you have completed your medical form, and DBS check. 

    You will need to bring a few things with you. These are:

    Your passport


    Driving Licence (if you have one) or…
  • What to expect

    What happens at an Assessment Day?

    The day will be made up of an individual interview and a range of group activities.

    It is important for you to know that you will not be in competition with, or assessed against any of…

  • Sharing information

    Information we ask you for, and why

    As an ICS volunteer, your safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance to us. To make sure that we can keep you safe, and to ensure you have the best possible ICS experience, we ask you to…

  • Filling in your Disclosure and Barring Service

    You need to complete a DBS check

    The below notes may be useful to you as you complete the form. If you have any questions. Please contact us

    Click on the ORANGE BOX labelled 'CREATE A DBS APPLICATION (Standard DBS or…
  • Filling in your medical form

    You need to fill in the online your medical form 

    The below notes may be useful:

    Choose ‘Employee/volunteer’ on the first screen Your employee number should have been provided on your assessment day confirmation email…
  • What you need to do in advance

    So we can start the process of preparing volunteers for a placement overseas, we need all applicants to begin medical and criminal background checks. This will mean you have to provide some information in advance as well as bring…

  • Claiming expenses for travel and accommodation

    The ICS programme aims to be as inclusive as possible and this is why we reimburse the lowest cost of travel and, where applicable, accommodation expenses.

    Candidates can claim back their expenses after they attend their…

  • Assessment Day location


    VSO holds its Assessment Days its head office:

    100 London Road, Kingston, KT2 6QJ

    If you have any questions, please contact us

  • Organising your travel and accommodation


    VSO holds its Assessment Days at the head office:

    100 London Road, Kingston, KT2 6QJ

    Travel costs 

    We will cover the cost of travel to your Assessment Day.

    You can arrange…

  • Preparing for your Assessment Day

    Everything you need to prepare for your Assessment Day can be found here. 

    You may wish to save this page so you can easily find it again.

    If you have any questions, please contact us


  • Assessment day confirmation

    Congratulations on passing the first phase of your ICS experience. 

    To confirm your place at the upcoming assessment day (date and time are in the email you received), please confirm your name in the fields below and click…

  • You're a wizard Harry... at fundraising!

    When you are right at the start of your ICS journey fundraising can seem like a daunting challenge. Lots of volunteers feel that way, but by the end we find that most volunteers have put in to action some of the most creative and…

  • Take a look back at our 10 favourite moments of 2019

    Last year was big for us. We celebrated the eighth year of ICS, getting more volunteers on placement and making more progress than ever before. Here were our highlights.

    1. We discovered the hidden financial value of…
  • Want to get motivated this January? These alumni tell us how they pushed boundaries with ICS

    To celebrate the start of a new year, we wanted to share some inspiring stories to get us excited for the year ahead and everything we will achieve. We hear from Mahomed and Shanti, two ICS alumni who share their…

  • Want to make a change this year? Here’s 20 things you can do in 2020

    Whether you’re on track with your New Year resolutions or not, here’s 20 things you can do to make the world a better place this year. 

    1. Start volunteering regularly  

    If you’re no longer volunteering…

  • Want to make a change this year? Here’s 20 things you can do in 2020

    Whether you’re on track with your New Year resolutions or not, here’s 20 things you can do to make the world a better place this year.

    1. Start volunteering regularly  

    If you’re no longer volunteering,…

  • Frequently asked questions

    Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions. Greater detail on what is required throughout the volunteer journey can be found in the how it works section of the website.

    If you cannot find the answers to your…

  • A night of success and inspiration: meet the ICS award nominees

    To round off 2019, we want to take a moment to celebrate the power of volunteering: from normalising sexual health conversations in Zambia to using interactive theatre to tackle child marriage in Nepal.

  • Unheard Stories: My documentary on the lives of Kenya's Deaf

    My name is Raabia Hussain. I was born Deaf and I've lived in Oldham all my life.

    In my world, there is no sound.

    British Sign Language is my first language…

  • ICS Photo Competition 2019: See the five winning shots

    Hundreds of volunteers entered. Thirty were shortlisted. Just five won.

    From proud pictures of a Tanzanian youth group’s poetry performance to a cheeky snap of two counterparts in their…

  • ICS made me one of Africa’s 100 Most Influential Young People

    There’s something interesting about 28-year-old tech entrepreneur Kennedy.

    I think it’s the fact he manages to balance his quietly fierce entrepreneurial drive with a refusal to forget…

  • Is global citizenship on the decline? Six ICS alumni speak out

    With rapid advances in technology and travel, for many of us it seems that the world is constantly getting smaller. Almost the whole world is connected, increasing our understanding, communication and collaboration with other…

  • What we stand for

    We bring about change in partnership with local communities. We support the development of our young volunteers and we're creating a lasting legacy of active citizenship.

    The power of difference

    The most wonderful moments…

  • “When we arrived at the orphanage, it seemed like the children were forced to dance for us” – James's story

    When James Boosey, 24, went to Uganda to volunteer four years ago, he hoped to build positive memories that would last a lifetime. Instead, shocked by his experience of seeing harmful orphanage volunteering, he came back to the UK…
  • “Growing up in Nigeria, I saw volunteers motivated more by making their Instagram look good than doing good” – Elena’s story

    Before moving the UK, Elena Ricci, 23, spent part of her childhood with her mother in Nigeria. It was here that Elena saw Western tourists coming into her community and volunteering in ways that weren’t…

  • We asked you to send us your stories of voluntourism. Here's what you sent us

    One thing isn’t up for debate: volunteering can be an incredible, life-changing experience. But it’s also complex.

    Done right, you can empower communities to make long-lasting, positive…

  • Kitchen gardens and food forests: Lilian’s project helps Kenya’s rural farmers become self-sufficient

    Small-scale farmers produce food for 70% of the global population. But as some of the world’s poorest and most food-insecure people, they’re a group facing the most immediate effects of climate change. In Kenya’s…

  • Our eyes are our ears: The fight for Deaf rights in 13 inspiring photos

    This summer, Deaf volunteers from the UK and Kenya came together in Nandi, 200 miles north of the capital, Nairobi.

    Bringing different personal experiences of Deafness, these volunteers from two continents encouraged people across…

  • Be Heard! Join us at the IVCO and IAVE conferences

    We believe that all discussions and decisions that ultimately affect the lives of young people should be made in conjunction with young people, and that ICS alumni have lots to contribute to the volunteering for…

  • “ICS is open to people who wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise” – Beth’s story

    After Beth Adams, 22, finished her undergraduate degree she became aware of the politics of development. Thinking about the white saviour complex and neocolonialism, Beth began to question the previous volunteering abroad placement…
  • Debunking 4 myths behind youth volunteering

    At ICS, we know that young people are an incredible force for change, pushing for progress all over the world. We also know there’s a lot of misinformation about youth volunteering. Here we debunk four common…

  • Youth power in Nepal

    More than seven years of ICS, thousands of volunteers. But how much do you know about our work in Nepal? 

  • 5 ways to use your ICS experience to get ahead

    Back from placement and looking to move your career forward? Why not show employers how setting up girls’ clubs in Bangladesh makes you a great project manager? Or how delivering sexual health sessions in Kenya…

  • 9 photos celebrating International Youth Day around the world

    This week we're focusing on young people.

    For International Youth Day, we've put on a series of global events in Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, the UK and Zambia, empowering young people to be active citizens on the issues…

  • School is more than just the classroom. This is what education in 2019 looks like

    This year’s UN International Youth Day theme is ‘transforming education’. Today, people across the world are showing how they’ve been improving education for the most marginalised.

    But with 265 million…

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Funded by the UK Government

ICS is funded by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) which leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty.

Find out more