Minister of State Dara Calleary is one of four TDs and senators due to fly out to Africa and Asia to serve as volunteers with Voluntary Service Overseas.
The other volunteers are Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton, Labour Party senator Dominic Hannigan, and Independent senator Fiona O’Malley. They are participating in VSO’s Politicians for Development Programme in which Irish parliamentarians volunteer for up to two weeks during the Dáil and Seanad summer recess in order to raise the profile of volunteering both at home and in their host countries.
VSO is the world’s largest volunteer placement agency and sends experienced professionals to 44 developing countries to share their skills and change lives.
Deputy Calleary, who is Minister of State in charge of change in the public service, will travel to Mozambique where he will meet people living with HIV and Aids and their carers, who are mainly women and girls. The Minister will also meet Mozambican parliamentarians dealing with HIV and Aids policy, and will liaise with an alliance of volunteering organisations, led by VSO, on how best to work with the Mozambican government towards the adoption of a policy to promote national and international volunteering.
The director of VSO Ireland, Malcolm Quigley, expressed his appreciation to the politicians for giving their time. “The organisations with which VSO partners in the countries being visited by the TDs and Senators have specifically asked for help with their campaigning and lobbying activities,” said Mr Quigley.