Sight Restoration Charity Quits Uganda

Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) has announced plans to close its programmes in the African countries of Malawi and Uganda.

The change was part of a strategic review being led by VAO’s new executive director Nigel Wilson, the charity announced, in a bid to deliver greater impact in a fewer number of locations.

VAO has had long-standing projects in Malawi since 1990 and Uganda since 1991, enabling professionals from the UK and Europe to provide eye care services to people living in poor communities. The charity’s work has reached 38,189 patients in Uganda and 19,407 patients in Malawi.

Wilson said: ‘This decision will mean we can help a larger number of people more quickly and create a sustainable and long-term impact in the six countries where we work. It is a strategic decision intended to improve the quality of our work.

‘That being said, I wouldn’t rule out a return to either location in the future if we had a programmatic model which matched the needs on the ground. I know our work will be fondly remembered by the many people we engaged with, and I hope that everyone will be proud of the huge difference we have made to eye care in both Malawi and Uganda.’

The focus would now be on programmes in six countries in Africa including Burkino Faso, Ethiopia, Zambia, Botswana, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Last year, the charity worked with 98 professional volunteers on its international programs.