ICS programme update – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current situation with the ICS programme?

In September 2020 the UK government merged the Department for International Development (DfID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). This means that together that have now formed a new department called the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). ICS was originally a DfID-funded programme, therefore now this contract is with the FCDO.

At the end of September, the FCDO announced that the current ICS contract which is delivered by the VSO, Raleigh and Restless Development consortium will finish at the end of December 2020 as originally planned.

Why aren’t Raleigh and other ICS agencies continuing to deliver ICS?

The current contract for ICS, delivered by VSO in partnership with Restless Development and Raleigh International, will come to its planned end in December 2020. This is when the contract and funding for ICS ends. All Raleigh’s projects are dependent on securing the necessary funding from donors, and ICS is no exception to this.

Has the COVID 19 pandemic had anything to do with the decision?

Due to the global outbreak of COVID 19, all ICS agencies supported all active volunteers to return home from their placements in March 2020. All future cycles that had been planned for later in the year were also cancelled due to health and safety risks, and international and national travel restrictions. Going forward, it is unlikely that the existing ICS delivery model is a viable option, until the global impact of the pandemic reduces significantly from its current levels.

Will there be another ICS programme in the future?

We hope so yes. The FCDO is currently redesigning the ICS programme to ensure it is the best possible programme. It wants to ensure it provides the best possible programme for youth volunteers, communities and other project stakeholders, and for the project donor. The donor of the ICS programme are UK taxpayers.

When can I apply for the new ICS programme?

The application process for the programme is currently closed while the redesign takes place.

When will placements be available on the future programme?

Currently, any start date for a new ICS programme or individual placements/cycles are unknown.

Where/When can I find out more information about the future programme?

Further details will be shared on the ICS website and through any organisations who will be delivering the ICS programme.

Will ICS still be delivered by the VSO/Raleigh/Restless consortium when it starts again?

The FCDO will lead a competitive process for a future ICS contract and so it is not guaranteed that it will be delivered by the same agencies in the future.

I was an ICS volunteer when my placement was finished early in March- What happens to the project I was on?

The answer to this varies depending on the project you were on. Across the ICS consortium, agency staff have worked closely with our project and community partners to either continue projects to completion, or minimise any negative impact caused by the end of the ICS programme. The ICS programme is designed not to create partner dependency on our volunteers, and therefore their work will be continuing in various forms.

Raleigh Tanzania: ICS WASH

Any ICS volunteers who were volunteering on our YoSSH project in Kilombero will be pleased to know that this project has now recommenced and being delivered in partnership with MSABI. MSABI are one of the largest WASH organisations in Tanzania and are based in Ifakara. The anticipated completion date for the project is July 2021. Please note that we do not currently have Raleigh youth volunteers participating in this project.

Why is Raleigh working with MSABI to do this and why can’t we continuing volunteering on that project?

Due to the risks associated with the global pandemic, the ICS contract will not permit any volunteers (globally) to complete ICS placements using a host-home/community delivery model at this present time. Raleigh has therefore partnered with MSABI to ensure the project is successfully completed and all outcomes will be achieved.

Why are other Raleigh programmes currently being delivered using a host-home/community delivery model but not ICS?

Different projects have different donors, and donors vary in what they will or will not agree to fund. Due to the risks associated with the global pandemic, the ICS contract will not permit any volunteers globally to complete ICS placements that are not in their home communities. Other donors may have different stipulations about project delivery, and that is why other projects are operating in host-communities. Regardless of donor, Raleigh will only deliver projects in a way it has assessed as safe to do so. The safety of our staff, volunteers and other stakeholders is paramount.

Raleigh Tanzania: ICS Livelihoods

Our Livelihoods projects in Mvomero, Kilosa and Iringa are currently paused, however we are seeking alternative sources of funding to continue our important youth livelihoods work. We will update you with more news when we have it. Raleigh Tanzania staff have worked to ensure project partners and communities are kept informed of our current situation and future plans.

My placement ended early in March. Can I do ICS again in the future?

The FCDO is working to implement a fair system for volunteers whose placements ended early due to programme closure in March 2020. This will set out to ensure young people who have already started their ICS journey, including those who returned before their mid-phase review due to Covid-19, receive priority places for any future scheme. Further details will be shared on the ICS website in due course.

I have recently applied for ICS online. Will my application be valid for the new programme once the redesign is complete?

If there is a significant time period between an applicant starting their volunteer journey, and that individual departing on placement, it is likely volunteers may have to redo the application process. This includes any training they have undertaken to make sure they are equipped for a placement. We understand the time and commitment volunteers have put into the scheme and the FCDO is working to implement a fair system for current applicants. Further details will be shared on the ICS website in due course.

Alumni/NYEN

How can I request a reference from my time on ICS if I am applying for a job after the programme has closed?

Volunteers who participated on ICS with VSO, Raleigh International or Restless Development can request a reference by contacting these agencies directly. If you participated on ICS with another agency you can request a reference by contacting VSO.

Will NYEN continue to operate?

Our youth networks are very important to VSO and the FCDO, as they support youth to be lifelong active citizens. We are exploring options for sustaining the networks after December, although it is a very challenging context. Please keep looking on the ICS website for more uptodate information.

Will ICS agencies be offering any active citizenship / volunteering / training activities to get involved in in the meantime?

ICS agencies (VSO, Raleigh & Restless) have offered alumni engagement activities, such as trainings, International Youth Day celebrations and seed funding, to volunteers after their placement, often as part of a National Youth Engagement Network. These youth networks are very important, as they support youth to be lifelong active citizens. We are exploring options for sustaining the networks after December, although it is a very challenging context. Please keep looking on the ICS website for more information.

Miscellaneous

Are there any other opportunities like this I could look into?

There are many opportunities for young people to be active citizens and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, locally and globally. Check out some examples here.

Fundraising

Can money I have fundraised be returned to me as I have not begun my placement?

We are not able to return money that has been fundraised by volunteers. The funds raised by volunteers contribute towards the overall funding of the ICS programme. This means that a volunteer is not ‘paying’ for their specific place, and the money they raise won’t necessarily be spent on their particular project.

Those who donate to and support ICS volunteer fundraising are giving money to help people in some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities. Volunteer fundraising provides 10% of the total ICS budget, and that means the money donors give will support all ICS partners to run the programme effectively and safely. We will always ensure that their donations contribute directly to our work.

If you’d like further information about this you can also read VSO’s Refund Policy.

Can I carry fundraising over to a future programme?

It is not possible for any money you have fundraised to count towards a fundraising target on a future programme. The funds raised by volunteers contribute towards the overall funding of the ICS programme. This means that a volunteer is not ‘paying’ for their specific place, and the money they raise won’t necessarily be spent on their particular project.

Those who donate to and support ICS volunteer fundraising are giving money to help people in some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities. Volunteer fundraising provides 10% of the total ICS budget, and that means the money donors give will support all ICS partners to run the programme effectively and safely. We will always ensure that their donations contribute directly to our work.

What has my fundraising money been used for since placements stopped?

Despite the decision to close the current ICS programme, ICS fundraising has enabled national volunteers to continue supporting their local community during the COVID-19 pandemic, supported active citizenship of ICS alumni globally and will continue to support youth networks through ICS.

Will there be an opportunity to celebrate the impact of ICS?

The ICS team are exploring options for celebrating the impact of ICS. Alongside a legacy website, we hope to host a global call online in early December. Details of this will be shared on the ICS website and in the ICS Newsletter.