Edition no. 9, January 2015
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VSAConnect E-nius

The bimonthly enewsletter of VSAConnect, VSA's alumni association.

Notice things look a bit different? We've changed the E-nius in response to requests. So now you can read all of the links without having to sign in to VSAConnect online.


CEO’s spot

A happy new year to you all. Thank you to those who participated in discussions with the MFAT evaluation consultants; that process is ongoing.

One of the subjects we have discussed during the evaluation is VSA’s New Zealand and Regional Partnerships Programme. Developing partnerships encourages a wider range of volunteers with diverse skills who can help us meet in-country partners’ needs. The Programme enables an increased assortment of interesting assignments, and gives more people an understanding of development and the challenges we face in today’s interconnected world.
Through our partnerships with Downer and GHD, for example, their staff develop their understanding of working in development. They contribute in concrete ways through building infrastructure, design and engineering capacity, and transferring their skills in project management and environmental sustainability. Similarly, placing highly skilled volunteers with partners like Child Fund, Save the Children and other New Zealand NGOs supports their work.
I look forward to being in touch over the year.
Warm regards,

Fancy another assignment? 

Agriculture Resource Centre Management Adviser
Work with Ramoaina Technical High School to manage their agriculture centre.

Business and Development Adviser
Work with the Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) Business Centre to provide sustainable business opportunities to youth.
Operations Adviser
Support the Poutasi Development Trust (PDT) to carry out business activities.

Technical Assistant – Lecture Methods and Student Assessments
Support academic staff at Solomon Islands National University (SINU) to provide quality teaching services.
These positions close Sunday 15 March 2015
Go to VSA's vacancies page for more details.


Sir Frank Holmes Memorial Lecture - Global Development in the Twenty-first Century. Wednesday 25 February. RSVP essential

Do you have an amazing development work photo? Why not enter InterAction's photo contest. Entries close 13 March.

Celebrations for International Women's Day 8 March are happening all over the world. Check out the UN Women NZ website for events in your area. 

Are you a story teller?

The VSAConnect speakers programme can connect you with Rotary and Probus Clubs in your area. Email us for more information.
Nataly Noguer (left) with fellow VSA volunteer Lorena de la Torre. (Bougainville)

Check in with recent RVs:

Welcome to 2015. 
Photo from Olivia Owen, Partnership programme

Focus on VSA's Partnerships Programme

Partnership has always been at the heart of VSA. Our Partnerships Programme allows US to work with like-minded organisations to create volunteer assignments in countries outside our usual scope, and on a broad range of issues. VSA has been developing our partnerships programme since 2011. We had 24 NZRP assignments in 2013-2014, up from 11 the previous year.
  • Learn about the unique assignment that has six Downer Cadets working over two years with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, in the Solomon Islands. Read highlights from Kelvin Hewetson the most recently returned Cadet. 
  • Have you watched the video of Rachel Skeate's experience working in the Solomon Islands? Both Rachel and her partner Blair Miller were VSA/World Vision volunteers in the Solomon Island's during the 2014 floods
  • Read more about VSA's New Zealand and regional based partnership programme. 
Children at Kaqamana School in the Solomon Islands. This photo is from Andrew Sorensen. 

Issue focus


VSA volunteers have a long history of working in education. Check out some of the amazing things our volunteers are doing. 
  • Jacqui Iseli created a dictionary during her assignment â€“ work that will be a useful resource for parents and teachers of deaf babies and newly deaf children. 
  • Read about why Olivia Loftus hopes that the children at Callan Services keep dancing now that her assignment has ended. 
  • Learn about the work that Julia Sherriff was doing with ChildFund in Timor-Leste. And check out the photo of her from 2013 which was voted one of the best of that year. 
  • VSAConnect exclusive: Where are they now? Sam McLachlan. Sam was a UniVol working with young people in South Africa, discover what he's doing now.

Development focus

Check out the best photos of 2014 from VSA. Each year our volunteers, staff and supporters send us fantastic photos from across the wider Pacific. We've chosen our top 12 favourites (one for each month) from 2014.

Boxing day of 2014 was the tenth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami. ODI featured an assessment of what has changed about humanitarian response since the disaster, while RadioNZ featured an interview with Senior Sergeant Richard Richard McPhail and CEO of Tearfund NZ Ian McInnes.

The start of a new year always brings predictions for the next 12 months. See what the Pacific predictions for 2015 are from Devpolicy Blog. The Conversation has identified five challenges for the UN in 2015, and Helen Clark features in the first ODI podcast for 2015 detailing the latest on the Post 2015 agenda. 

Remember the Millennium Development Goals? Well this year they are being replaced with the new and improved Sustainable Development Goals which will articulate the global focus for international development for the next 15 years. Learn about the process and the SDGs themselves with this great interactive from The Guardian

Connect with VSAConnect online

Another blast from the past: Paul Beaumount emailed in this newspaper clipping from 1971. See the full article (and more pictures) on VSAConnect online.
Or email us your flashback.
Join VSAConnect online
Connect with someone you know, read latest development news, join the conversation with other returned volunteers.

Thank you John

John Bowis and his wife and fellow returned South Africa volunteer, Alison have moved! This means that John is no longer going to be the VSAConnect coordinator. John has been amazing with the development of VSAConnect and will remain involved while we search out his replacement. 
This newsletter is sent to all VSAConnect members who have supplied VSA email addresses.
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