The requirements for volunteers to have at least a couple of years’ work experience and relevant qualifications means it is unusual to send anyone under the age of 25.
Students aged 30 and under who are in their final year studying Development Studies, Geography, Marketing, Communications or related disciplines at Otago, Victoria, and Massey universities or are from the School of Social Sciences at University of Auckland may be eligible to apply for VSA’s UniVol programme..
Impact of COVID-19
The safety, health and wellbeing of our volunteers is of absolute importance to us. We have a duty of care to all our volunteers and to the communities in which we work.
It is critical that we do not place any extra burdens on partner organisations, communities and the health infrastructure in the countries where we operate.
The medical advice over COVID-19’s risk factors, based on international, science-based evidence, is that certain groups of people are much more susceptible to more serious symptoms if they contract COVID-19.
These higher risk groups include people with certain existing medical conditions and those who are aged 65 and over.
For example, international evidence from the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention has shown that people 65 and over are five times more likely to be hospitalised and 90 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people in their twenties (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html).
Based on this information, we have therefore made the difficult decision that people in these susceptible groups (including people who would be turning 65 while on assignment) will not be able to be deployed out of New Zealand while the pandemic continues.
We have not taken this decision lightly. We have done this to ensure the health of our volunteers and to ensure we do not place extra burdens on the communities where we operate.
E-volunteers who are working remotely from New Zealand and whose assignment does not require overseas travel are not affected.