Foreign Affairs Select Committee endorses VSA

Published on 16th December 2010

The Foreign Affairs Select committee has endorsed VSA’s (Volunteer Service Abroad) “valuable” role in education, training and mentoring in the Pacific.

In a report, written over the last four years and released in December 2010, the committee says it, “would like to see [VSA] receive significantly more funding to expand its activities into supporting entrepreneurial activity in Pacific Countries”.

VSA’s CEO, Deborah Snelson says the comments by the committee show a strong and clear understanding of the importance of relationship building and mentoring at the grassroots in education, and its role in growing stronger and more economically viable communities.

“The committee has come up with some complex solutions to the complex problem of looking at economic sustainability as a holistic exercise,” she says. “VSA is looking at dynamic ways to increase volunteering options in the Pacific to allow more New Zealanders to contribute.”

The report recognises education costs hamper many in the Pacific Islands from accessing education and that it is inadequate, especially for women.

VSA has just completed two case studies into education in Tokelau and in the Solomon Islands which echo some of the sentiments of the select committee report. The case studies include recommendations about increasing VSA’s mentoring role for school leaders and overall governance issues.

VSA currently has around 70 New Zealand volunteers working in the Pacific, based in Papua New Guinea, the Autonomous region of Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tokelau and Samoa.

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