Skilled Volunteers Exemplify US Goals at Home and Abroad

  • IMPACT Highlights

VEGA Volunteer Impact 360° celebrates those Americans who contribute their skills to promote international development.


When you send a volunteer on an international development assignment, you send a passionate,
experienced problem-solver who acts as a peer and has specific, real-world knowledge to discover and address the root causes inhibiting economic development in emerging markets. Hosts consistently report that they trust volunteers and value their advice and friendship.

Hosts say volunteers help them make their dreamscome true. Many mentoring relationships far
outlast the original assignment, and volunteers link hosts to industry players, technology, investment and know-how. This leads to more jobs, financial stability, new markets, higher incomes, better operations, and prosperity. Hosts are business owners, public officials, cooperatives, women’s groups, producers, farmers, and nonprofits.

Back home, volunteers become “ambassadors” in their communities, workplaces and other circles – increasing cross-cultural understanding as well as awareness of U.S. development programs. Often they inspire new volunteers who continue the cycle.

“When we started this business it was very challenging to attract investors or to get banks to finance our business because demand for these polysacks really went down. That’s when volunteers came from the US and helped us to properly plan our financial forecast to the bank and succeeding in securing a loan. We are really happy to have a partnership with USAID VEGA BIZ+ because without them the starting of this business would have been impossible. With their support we have succeeded and we have provided 100 plus jobs and are really happy.”
– Muhammed Sanoon, managing director, East Lanka Polysack (Pvt) Ltd., 72% of new jobs have been filled by women

What sets volunteers apart is that they are passionate about what they bring. It’s not a job. They want to see that knowledge transfer, and they work in an extremely collaborative way.
– Jennifer Brinkerhoff, former chief of party of VEGA’s Sri Lanka Biz+ Program

Volunteers report that they return refreshed and inspired, applying what they’ve learned to their own work, which improves their companies and organizations. Improved understanding of emerging market contexts improves U.S. businesses’ performance.

VEGA is the largest alliance of economic growth-related organizations. VEGA has implemented $350 million in USAID assistance, trained 25,000+ people, reached 112,000+ direct beneficiaries, provided 35,000+ volunteer days, and contributed $18 million in cost share.

Volunteer Impact at Home and Abroad


Host Organization: new technology, increased productivity, financing, operational improvements, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, new markets, trade, investment, peer relationships, worldwide networks.

Host Community: job creation through private sector expansion, new technology, improved services (chambers of commerce, investment agencies, cooperatives, public finance), improved access to finance.

Volunteer: broadens skills and experience, develops bonds with peers in new countries, transformational life experience, deepens cultural awareness, learns patience.

US Taxpayer: positive return on investment, creating new markets, reducing investment barriers in emerging markets, stretching US government resources, spreading American good will, increasing host country investment in private sector development.

Volunteer’s Community: increases cross-cultural ties and understanding by “virtual” experience in new countries by volunteer through social media, presentations and dinners; creates potential new market, investment opportunity or supplier for volunteer’s employer; volunteer’s new skills/experience are translated into improved job performance.

Resulting in better production, trade, jobs and outcomes across industries and institutions.

Resulting in better production, trade, jobs and outcomes across industries and institutions.