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SASVO (Southern African Student Volunteers)

This page is for archival purposes only.

The Southern African Student Volunteers (SASVO) was established in 1993 to give students and communities in the southern African region the opportunity to work together as volunteers in sustainable community development projects.  Although based at the University of Pretoria, students from all universities in southern Africa and from all disciplines participated in SASVO projects.

SASVO goals were to improve the quality of life in rural areas by working with community members on various projects. Three-week work camps were organised for student volunteers during holiday periods. Special camps were organised for student leaders so that they could develop volunteer programmes from their campuses.



The 50/50 Principle

SASVO’s policy involved working on the basis of ‘meeting communities halfway’ – the principle of 50/50 – with half the effort coming from SASVO and half from the communities.

In its 12 years of existence, SASVO provided opportunities for over 9,000 students to be responsible and committed citizens. The following values were promoted:

  • Volunteerism, Self-reliance
  • Love of Africa
  • Regional cooperation and unity
  • Interchange of people of diverse backgrounds
  • Responsibility towards community
  • Leadership development
  • Gender equality and
  • Physical involvement in development

Holiday Work Camps

During the holiday work camps, the SASVO student volunteers became involved with and participated in:

  • Establishment of fruit and vegetable gardens (food security/permaculture)
  • HIV/AIDS awareness
  • Upgrading physical infrastructure, i.e. small-scale renovation of schools, fencing, latrines, painting and maintenance
  • Providing voter education to over 10,000 voters

While volunteering their labour and skills during their free time working with disadvantaged communities, students themselves were enriched and they were encouraged to develop a commitment to uphold the spirit of volunteerism throughout their lives.


SASVO has been funded by a number of donors, including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the European Commission, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Development Cooperation Ireland, AusAid, Deutsche Bank, SANTS, UNDP and the UN volunteers.


For queries regarding SASVO (Southern African Student Volunteers) please contact the Centre for Human Rights:

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3810

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