Table 3

Challenges of working with non-governmental organisations such as VSO

SubthemesQIllustrative quotes
Length of placement27“if it is too short a time, the volunteer comes, and they are orientated they are supposed to get on board, and they are supposed to do brilliant work. If the time is too short, you find that by the time they are getting ready to work their time is up.” (P12, VSO Gulu)
Communication with VSO28“most of the times when the volunteers are coming we do not get the memo of what their job description is or what their expectations are, so we can’t really say we can assess. Because if you don’t know what someone is supposed to do on their round then you can’t say they do this, or were they supposed to do it anyway.” (P5, GRRH)
Relevant stakeholders not included29“A person like me the in-charge. I am not included always… So, it makes it makes me difficult for me to know where we are and where we are going you see because I am not involved in anything.” (P4, GRRH)
Poor feedback processes30“they [volunteers] never shared with us the challenges….” (P11, GRRH)
31“the information is there, the feedback is there, but actions are not generated and tracked… when the volunteers are in the hospital they do maternal death reviews and audits and they generate actions, we want to be tracking with the hospital and saying, ‘yes, we agree to A, B, C, D. What has happened? what do we need to do?’” (P12, VSO Gulu)
Sustainability32“depending on if we [VSO] were to pull out now… I think the people who have been trained will continue, but of course there will still be the knowledge gap, because I told you [staff] rotation.” (P12, VSO Gulu)
33“there is low staffing level so now if you are coming to build capacity whose capacity will you be lifting if no one is coming for you to build capacity? It provides a challenge and it throws back the work that they are supposed to do for the volunteers to do it.” (P13, VSO Gulu)
Funding34“the disadvantages looking at maybe the local donors who are within the country, they think that it is too expensive to bring international volunteers and the local volunteers should be developed and given opportunity. …Especially the UN [United Nations] bodies. They prefer local, national volunteers… it is cheaper.” (P13, VSO Gulu)
35“Getting, sourcing a volunteer takes longer, sourcing the appropriate volunteer takes longer and it costs more.” (P17, VSO Kampala)
  • GRRH, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital; VSO, Voluntary Service Overseas.