Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

VSO rage

Christ. VSO Bangladesh has REALLY outdone themselves this time.

I don’t usually moan about VSO so publicly, but this is truly special. They (VSO Bangladesh) have suspended all volunteer extensions for 2010, while they review their country strategy, inline with the VSO worldwide corporate strategy. So I get the point of reviewing strategy and reviewing suitability of partners (the organisations to which VSO sends volunteers to) but you could FIRST decide on your strategy and THEN make decisions and take action. No, not in Bangladesh. Let’s rather stop the good work current volunteers are doing (or planning to do), while we um and ah, scratch our arses and come up with something illogical, useless and meaningless that we’ll pretend is a ‘strategy’.

So what this means is some volunteers who had been planning to extend their stay here in Bangladesh (and had been assured of their extensions as recently as last week) are now being told they have to leave the country when their original placements are up. For one volunteer, that is in 4 days. Four days. AND the first some volunteers heard about this was in an email VSO sent to partners, an email to which the volunteers were just copied into. No direct communication, just an email addressed to someone else from which you must guess the impact that it’ll have on you. THAT is how utterly shit VSOB is at communication and just how little they value their volunteers. And not even a ‘We’re sorry for how this may affect you’, it’s just ‘Ok bye. Please leave the country. Now’.

This has affected the volunteer who I had lined up to replace me here in Moanoghar (having continuity in volunteers is so important to the continued development of an organisation). He has actually decided to just sack the whole VSO thing, and still volunteer here in Moanoghar independently. Which I am very happy about. But this will be at some financial cost to him. Not to mention the extra stress this is all causing him. He made the decision to spend another year in Bangladesh (which is NOT an easy decision) and VSO have shown absolutely no concern or care for how much they are messing with his future by making such a half cocked and knee jerk decision. It’s bullshit.

Deep breaths.

If this had directly affected me, I’d be breathing fire right now. VSO can count themselves lucky on that front. But I really do think it’s time to put in a formal complaint to VSO UK about just how badly things are run here. Honestly, it has got to that point.

As if Bangladesh isn’t hard enough as it is, we have VSOB making our lives even more difficult.

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1 Comment»

  amanda visagie wrote @

Sjoe – think VSOb are probably relieved you AREN’T affected. They aint met a Visagie aggrieved yet !! But gosh, that is pretty shoddy treatment of people who have put lives on hold for the benefit of others.


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