About VAP > Our EC members and Staff
Nigel Watt MBE
Chairperson and Trustee
Nigel first took part in workcamps in the 1950’s as a medium term volunteer when serving as a conscientious objector. He worked as a teacher in Zambia for 9 years before joining IVS (International Voluntary Service) from 1971 to 1984, mainly dealing with overseas long term volunteers, before later becoming General Secretary.
During his time in IVS and later as the Director of the Co-ordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) from 1992 to 1998 in Paris, Nigel was partially responsible for founding workcamp associations in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia.
Nigel later worked for Christian Aid in Burundi and was awarded an MBE for his work and has recently written a book tracing the country’s history. Nigel was also the Director of the Africa Centre in London between his time at IVS and CCIVS. He has been an active member of VAP since 2003.
Treasurer and Trustee
Sam became active in VAP in 2005 when he took part in several voluntary workcamps in Thailand. The workcamps provided Sam with the opportunity to live in a remote tribal community and contribute to the rebuilding of people’s lives after the Tsunami. The experience turned out to be invaluable, and upon returning home to the UK, Sam began attending VAP meetings and training events. He went on to lead his first workcamp in the summer of 2006, at the Clow Beck Eco-Centre near Darlington. Shortly after this Sam was nominated to the Committee of VAP, where his first duty was to attend a Directing Committee meeting in Nazareth, Israel.
Since this Sam has become a regular contributor to the running of VAP, and been a representative at various meetings and training events in Europe. He has also assisted in leading VAP workcamps at the Earthship in Brighton and at the Othona Community in Bradwell-on-Sea, alongside his job as a Project Manager for an arts supplier.
Gemma took part in international volunteering for the first time in 2004 which led her to VAP in 2009. She joined VAP’s committee in 2011 in the hope of promoting the joy of volunteering to others!
“The best thing about volunteering in my eyes is crossing paths with people you wouldn’t have met under any other circumstances and making friends for life”.
Anoek De Smet
Corresponding EC member
Anoek has participated in a number of workcamps since 1991 in Spain, Turkey, Hungary and Palestine. She became a more active member of Contact J, former Belgian branch of YAP, and of the international YAP movement by attending various Directing Committees and Congresses and by organising and leading several Brussels based workcamps. Besides that, she was also a workcamp leader trainer in Belgium.
In 1996, following the Bragança seminar in Portugal, Anoek, alongside Gisèle Evrard, YAP Romania, Via Pacis (Hungary) and YAP Latvia, organised the first Arte Diem Festival in Brussels. Anoek then participated in a study visit to the Lebanon, which resulted in an exchange between Offre Joie and Contact J later that year.
After some quiet years (training as an Architect) Anoek moved to London in 2002. She has been an active member of VAP since 2002 and a member of the Executive Committee since 2004.
Corresponding EC member
Hannah recently became a member of the VAP Commitee after completing her under-graduate degree in Social Anthropology. Whilst at university she took part in a unique 6 week work camp in western Kenya made up of Japanese, British and Kenyan volunteers. The focus of the workcamp was the exchange of Japanese and Kenyan culture and language whilst working to renovate a classroom in a secondary school.
Voluntary placements have brought Hannah to East Africa on a number of occasions, reinforcing her love of this part of the world.
Hannah’s interests lie in inter-cultural exchange as a means of promoting good international relations and understanding. She is also concerned about the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers, including the ways they are received by host communities, and is interested in work which promotes refugee support and inclusion.
Corresponding EC member
Helen first became involved in volunteering whilst at university, working for a sustained period with disadvantaged children in Manchester. Helen has also been involved in voluntary work for Oxfam UK and Genesis.
Helen’s first took part in a VAP workcamp in 2007 in Kenya’s Western Province. The main focus of the workcamp was to provide clean, sanitary water for local residents by building a water tank and landscaping a local school.
She is also keen to promote the value of volunteering to young people as an 11-18 English and Media Studies teacher.
Nuno first became active within the international voluntary service in 1996 as a workcamp volunteer near New York, USA and has barely stopped since! In addition to his participation in several workcamps in France, Cuba and Belgium, Nuno has been involved with various international voluntary work organisations around Europe.
In previous roles, he has acted as a Workcamp Co-ordinator and Programme Manager in Paris with Association Concordia and Solidarités Jeunesses, a Staff Officer in Antwerp at the International Secretariat of Service Civil International, a Training Co-ordinator and elected Volunteer Official in Finland (at KVT) and Sweden (at IAL).
Nuno took over the role as Programme Officer of VAP in 2005, was elected as Secretary in 2007 and finally became Programme Manager in 2009. Nuno is currently the only full-time paid staff of VAP.
Cedric has been involved in organisations exchanging international volunteers for over 2 decades. Over the years, he has been active as a volunteer, a workcamp co-ordinator, a project organiser and mentor, a fundraiser, a training co-ordinator, a programme manager, a senior staff officer and an elected volunteer official in various national and international organisations.
Cedric acted as the Secretary of VAP from its revival (as YAP-UK) from 2000 to 2003, before becoming Vice Chairperson. In September 2007 Cedric was elected as Chairperson of VAP, since which VAP has obtained charitable status. In October 2011 Cedric left the EC to become VAP’s Programme Officer, a position paid on a part-time basis.