Please say hello to our newest supporting partner, International Citizen Service who provide volunteer opportunities for young people between the ages of 18 – 25 to work with local organisations on projects to help end poverty in 24 countries around the world.

Karina from Blog Action Day spoke to Dave Bull  from International Citizen Service to find out more about what they do, why they are supporting Blog Action Day and their suggestions for what you might cover in your Blog Action Day post on October 16, 2013.

What are the mission and goals of the International Citizen Service?

ICS is a UK government funded development programme that brings together young people to make a difference in some of the poorest communities around the world.

We’re passionate about bringing young people together to make a difference in some of the poorest communities around the world. We hope to achieve three main things; bring impact on the projects we work on, provide personal development for our volunteers and inspire people to be active citizens.

By mid 2015, we hope to have had 14,000 young people ( 7000 from the UK and 7000 from developing countries) with the opportunity to volunteer through us.

We are able to run this project because we are funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and led by Voluntary Services Overseas in partnership with Restless Development, Raleigh International, International Service, Tearfund and Progressio

What is your role, where are you based and what do you enjoy most about your work with ICS?

I work as the Communications Officer for ICS, based in Kingston, Surrey. I enjoy working for ICS as I strongly believe in the power of youth, 50% of the world’s population are 18-25 and they need opportunities to work, train and learn new skills. ICS provides a cross-cultural platform to achieve this in 24 countries in the global south, helping to support communities and provide long lasting impact to poor and marginalised people.

How do Human Rights relate to the work of ICS and your network of volunteers?

Human rights spans across many of the ICS programmes. ICS has five thematic areas including education, environment, livelihoods, health, and strengthening civil society. Volunteers have worked on projects directly linked to women, livelihood opportunities and education to name a few.

UK based volunteers are required to complete action in the UK following their return. Recent examples have included a group that set up a campaign day around the eradication of female genital mutilation, and volunteers who have lobbied their local MPs to take action on climate change. Volunteers in the UK act as the megaphone for communities and peoples overseas, and are helping to bring about long lasting change through embodying the concept of being participatory agents of change.

What inspires people to get involved in ICS and how can they get involved?

There are several factors which inspire people to get involved with ICS. Reason include: Young adults looking to work in development, or gain experience of working cross-culturally. People apply as ICS provides them with the opportunity to spend 10 weeks overseas directly working on projects which help to eradicate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. One of the main drivers for applying is the chance to develop personal skills, including and not limited to presentation skills, team work, facilitation and report writing, to name a few examples.

Young adults are inspired through ICS to make a difference in poor and marginalised communities around the world. ICS is unique in that it offers volunteers an opportunity to work in rural communities in the global south, working in teams with national and international volunteers. The volunteer journey is designed to train the volunteer and make them ready for their placement, a once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge themselves to change their world.

You can find out how you can get involved by going to our website,  checking out our Facebook www.facebook.com/ics or our Twitter profiles

What suggestions and content ideas does you have for Blog Action Day participants to use in their Blog Action Day posts?

I suggest that you take a look at the stories of our volunteers and be inspired by what they and the communities they worked with have achieved. You might even be inspired to apply to be a volunteer yourself!

In your Blog Action Day post you might want to discuss the issues that our volunteers are working on by creating a Vine or Instagram video as a response, make a photo album to link to your post or even asking ICS if you can interview on of our volunteers.