About VSI

Spike Milligan planting trees with VSI members at Glencree 1974Spike Milligan planting trees with VSI members at Glencree 1974Voluntary Service International is the Irish branch of Service Civil International, a worldwide peace movement started in 1920 in the aftermath of the First World War. Voluntary Service International was founded in 1965 after several projects in the late '50s. Since then VSI has undertaken a wide variety of voluntary and community work throughout Ireland and has sent volunteers to many projects in over 60 countries worldwide.

VSI is a membership organisation and all of our current programmes - International Volunteer Projects Programme, the Africa Asia Latin America Programme, the Teenage Programme, the Long Term Volunteering Programme and the Dublin Local Group Programme - are run by working groups made up of volunteers, supported by the VSI staff team. Our Annual General Meeting (usually held in November) elects a National Committee from the membership to oversee the work of the organisation from year to year. If you would like to become a member of VSI go to our membership page.

If you prefer to hear (rather than read) our story, here is a short video describing VSI's work.

VSI is a registered charity: CHY 9220. VSI is registered as a limited company, no. 140520, having no share capital.

Mission Statement

  • OUR VISION is a world of peace, social justice and sustainable development, where all people live together with mutual respect.
  • OUR MISSION is to promote peace, social justice, sustainable development and intercultural understanding through volunteering in Ireland and internationally.
  • OUR VALUES - We base all our work on the following values:

Volunteering - in the sense of acting out of self-initiative, without seeking material reward and for the benefit of civil society, as a method and a statement for social change, whilst never competing with paid labour nor seeking to contribute to strike-breaking
Non-violence - as a principle and a method
Human Rights - respect for individuals as stated in the universal declaration of Human Rights
Solidarity - international solidarity for a more just world and solidarity between human beings at all levels
Respect for the Environment - and the ecosystem of which we are a part and upon which we are dependent
Inclusion - to be open and inclusive to all individuals who share the aims and objectives of the movement, without regard to gender, race, colour, religion, nationality, social status, sexual orientation and ability
Empowerment - empowering people to understand and act to transform the social, cultural and economic structures that affect their lives at all levels
Co-operation - with local communities as well as other local, national and international actors to strengthen the positive potential within civil society as a whole

Staff team

  • CEO: Helen Walmsley
  • Programme Officer ESC volunteer: Aine Boyle
  • Communications and Marketing Officer ESC volunteer: Maria Conte

Board of Directors

Our board of directors is responsible for our governance and overseeing our strategic direction. All of our Board members are volunteers giving their time, skills and expertise to help advance our mission.

VSI’s Board of Directors:

  • Robin Hanan (Acting Chair), retired, most recently as CEO at the European Anti-Poverty Network and also a volunteer activist 
  • Máille Brady Bates, Associate Employment Law and Pensions, Arthur Cox
  • Claire Devlin, Senior Conflict and Security Adviser at Saferworld 
  • Liam Keenan, Head of Sales Strategy, EMEA at Dropbox
  • Dervla King, former VSI volunteer & Comhlámh Programme Manager (currently on sabbatical)
  • Pearl Clarke, previously Retail Product Director, An Post


VSI greatly acknowledges the funding and support of:

- the Minister of The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Youth Service Grant Scheme and the National Lottery

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- the EU Youth and European Solidarity Corps programmes and Leargas, the National Agency for Erasmus+ in Youth

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- the Health Service Executive, Older Persons Service

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VSI are sigantories to the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice (CoGP).

The Comhlámh Code of Good Practice is a set of standards for organisations involved in facilitating international volunteer placements in the Global South.

The focus of the Code is to ensure overseas volunteering has a positive impact for the three main stakeholders: the volunteer, the sending agency and the local project and community.

VSI recommends that volunteers read and sign Comhlámh's Volunteer Charter .

The Charter is a guide for people who are going to volunteer overseas in developing countries. It sets out seven principles that aim to encourage responsible, responsive international volunteering.