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Published on 14th June 2012
VSA is delighted that the government has agreed to provide it with core funding for the next three years, rather than approving the usual one-year grant.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today announced that VSA will get a core funding grant to support its activities for the next three years. The announcement comes as VSA – New Zealand’s largest and most experienced international volunteering agency – celebrates its 50th anniversary.
VSA Chief Executive Officer Debbie Snelson says this is the first time the government has approved up front a three-year funding commitment. It means that VSA can confidently go ahead with its plans to provide more Kiwis with the opportunity to volunteer in the wider Pacific, and to develop new assignments in partnership with New Zealand businesses and organisations.
"We see this decision as a real endorsement of our work – and it’s a truly wonderful 50th anniversary present," she says. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is our core funder. Until now it has provided funding on a year-by-year basis. Knowing that we have secure funding from MFAT for the next three years will give us more flexibility to access the Kiwi skills that our overseas partners are looking for."
She says the details of the funding arrangement are still being negotiated, and it is contingent on VSA delivering satisfactory results. These include increasing the number of short-term assignments to about 55 a year, and developing 25 assignments a year in partnership with New Zealand businesses and organisations.
Under the agreement VSA will continue to focus its work in Melanesia, Polynesia and Timor-Leste.
"We are confident that we can keep playing a significant role in New Zealand’s overseas development assistance programme, particularly in the area of economic development."
Ms Snelson says VSA still needs to raise independent funds to supplement its core funding.
"Our challenge now is to continue with our fundraising efforts so that we can implement more fully our plans in ways that make a real difference to our partner organisations in the wider Pacific and give more Kiwis the chance to volunteer."