Statement of Purpose: Skillshare International works for sustainable development in partnership with the people and communities of Africa and Asia. We do this by sharing and developing skills, facilitating organisational effectiveness and supporting organisational growth.

The roots of Skillshare International go back to 1917 when Service Civil International (SCI) was set up to work towards the cause of peace following the First World War, sharing skills, experience and understanding across frontiers. The British section of this was called International Voluntary Service (IVS).

During the 1960s, a long-term overseas volunteer programme became established. However by 1985, it became clear that this long-term programme had different needs and priorities to the rest of the IVS programme. IVS recognised the need for change and ultimately resolved to separate the long-term volunteer programme from its other activities.

By 1990 Skillshare Africa was established as a development organisation rather than a volunteer-sending agency. The keystone of the new organisation was localisation. It employed staff local to each country, to run and manage a programme determined by locally identified needs. This meant that the work of the organisation was not taking place in areas that would have no benefit to the local communities. The programmes of work established by IVS in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland were continued by Skillshare Africa. The end of apartheid in South Africa in the mid 1990s meant that opportunities arose for the development of new areas of work and Skillshare was able to open programmes in Namibia and in South Africa.

In 2000, Skillshare Africa was joined by Action Health, a development agency with a similar philosophy which had been working in India, Tanzania and Uganda since 1984. Action Health's principal strategy was the provision of health trainers to share skills and knowledge not available locally. The two organisations merged to become Skillshare International.

How do we work?
We currently work with partner organisations in nine countries - Botswana, Lesotho, India, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. These organisations come to Skillshare International with specific needs. We aim to provide a route for those needs to be fulfilled. Often, this is with the provision of a development worker or health trainer. These are individuals with skills and experience that they share with the partner organisation.

We also work directly with organisations to put into place systems to help them improve their effectiveness and give them the confidence to realise their potential. Our Leadership Development Programme (LDP) concentrates on the heads of partner organisations, providing them with the skills to improve their leadership qualities.

The bulk of our work is in education and vocational training, agriculture, healthcare, HIV/AIDS, engineering and planning, the environment and income generating initiatives. These incorporate rural development, empowering disadvantaged groups and improving opportunities for young people.

Do you have a skill?
Skills development forms a large part of Skillshare International's role in Africa and Asia. We feel that building people's skills and strengthening the capacity of local organisations is vital for promoting self-reliance and breaking the cycle of dependence in developing countries.

Skillshare International believes this is the most effective way of encouraging independence and tackling poverty. And it brings improvements to people's lives in key areas.

We recruit development workers and health trainers to share their skills and expertise with partner organisation, usually on one to two-year placements. They work together with individuals and communities building on existing local knowledge, developing the abilities and confidence of their colleagues.

Could you share your skills? Visit our Recruitment Section to find out.

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