2012 Volunteer Impact Service Awards

Nominations for the 2013 VEGA Volunteer Impact Service Awards are now closed.


Mushtaq Memon (center) with colleagues in Lebanon

Through its Volunteer Impact Service Award program VEGA recognizes distinguished volunteers who exemplify its mission to empower people in developing countries on economic growth initiatives.

  • Triin Visnapuu, 2012 VEGA Mid-Career Service Award Winner  (nominated by CDC Development Solutions)  Ms. Visnapuu served in MBAs Without Borders in 2012 for a 9-month CDC Development Solutions volunteer assignment to assist the Association Al Kawtarin Marrakech, Morocco. She helped to change the organizational structure from an Association to a Cooperative, which now allows members to sell their crafts, make a profit, and be covered by the national health care plan. 
  • Dr. Mushtaq Memon, 2012 VEGA Alliance Service Award Winner (nominated by ACDI-VOCA) – Dr. Mustaq Memon was recruited in June 2010 for a short term volunteer assignment through ACDI/VOCA’s Farmer to Farmer program to train host organizations on general farm veterinary practices and their beneficiaries on general livestock veterinary issues. Dr. Memon assisted Lebanon University in improving and expanding their existing small veterinary curriculum, and provided guidance on future veterinary program development. His recommendations included securing funding to expand the teaching and research center, and allowing for greater practical experience for the students. 
  • Haoua Cheick Seip, 2012 VEGA Program Service Award Winner (nominated by IESC)  – Haoua Cheick Seip has completed five volunteer assignments for IESC in Africa and Sri Lanka. During her multiple visits to the northern region of Sri Lanka from 2011-12, Ms. Cheick designed and developed a product line that included product range, packaging, labeling and product type. She also assisted in developing descriptive literature related to the history of handloom textile or the particular areas where this handloom textile is produced. As a follow up to Haoua’s visit, the Ministry is planning to allocate the necessary funds to promptly upgrade the 21 weaving centers in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. 

VEGA has been supporting volunteers since 2004 and believes that volunteers are unique in that they bring a dedication to host country clients and a willingness to adapt their time to program needs. VEGA volunteers arrive at country assignments with years of experience and specialized skill sets. The typical VEGA volunteer has over 15 years of experience in his or her field. Furthermore, two-thirds or more have a graduate degree in their profession. Most program volunteers are not only highly skilled, but are passionate about their assignments. In fact, most volunteers, regardless of the length of their in-country assignments, stay engaged with both program staff and/or client beneficiaries long after they return to the U.S. It is the dedication and flexibility of volunteers that VEGA harnesses to create change throughout the world.

All winners will be recognized at the VEGA Annual Assembly on December 6, 2012.

2011 Winners:
  • Zahra Radjavi (Jordan) – VEGA Program Mid-Career Service Award nominated by Institute of International Education
  • Judith Moses (Mali) – VEGA Alliance Service Award nominated by Winrock International
  • Harold “Hal” Handley (Sri Lanka) – VEGA Program Service Award nominated by International Executive Service Corps

2012 Diaspora Volunteer Service Awards

VEGA commenced the 2012 Diaspora Volunteer Service Awards as a way to recognize the incredible work that is being done by diaspora volunteers around the world and to host a networking reception that facilitated collaboration between diaspora communities and volunteer-sending organizations. The event took place on Thursday, July 26th at CDC Development Solutions. The Guest of Honor and keynote speaker at the event was Ms. Wendy Abt, USAID's Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3).

The diaspora volunteers that were honored in the ceremony included:

  • Mr. Yared Ayele (Ethiopia), Award for Corporate Volunteerism
  • Mr. Manjula Dissanayake (Sri Lanka), Award for Partnership Building
  • Mr. Paul Pham (Vietnam), Award for Grassroots Innovation
  • Mr. Hugo Cardona (Colombia), Award for Social Entrepreneurship
  • Ms. Magaline Goman (Haiti), Award for Short-Term Volunteering

See our: Diaspora Volunteer Service Awards Bios

The ceremony followed a two-day Global Diaspora Forum that took place at the Department of State and USAID. This annual gathering challenges diaspora communities to forge partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and public institutions in order to make their engagements with their countries of origin or ancestry effective, scalable, and sustainable. Volunteering was a central theme of this year’s forum and Mike Deal, VEGA’s Executive Director, served as a moderator on a panel titled “Diaspora Volunteerism: Serving your Heritage.”

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