Trustee - Universities

Location: Meetings held in London and Gatwick

Founded in 1985, Vision Aid Overseas has been helping some of the poorest people in the world to see more clearly. Whether you are a teacher in Ghana, a seamstress in Zambia or a school pupil in Ethiopia, poor eyesight can have a devastating impact on your life and livelihood.

We are seeking a new Trustee to join our Board of Trustees, who is either working in or has recently worked in or with a University Department related to Optometry or Ophthalmology, and is enthusiastic to take forward our education and training work with Universities in Africa.

This is an opportunity to help shape the fortunes of a charity whose work is transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across Africa. We have ambitious plans in our new strategy 2020-2030, to reach many more people, both in those countries where we currently operate and in new locations and through new partnerships.

We are looking for Trustees who are interested and committed to the aims of Vision Aid Overseas and would like to join a dynamic, welcoming Board. All will have governance responsibility for overseeing the affairs of the charity and ensuring it is solvent, well-run with thorough safeguarding procedures in place and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.

In line with our equal opportunities policy we welcome the widest possible range of expressions of interest in order to increase the diversity of our Board.

This roles is not remunerated but modest expenses will be paid. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Vision Aid Overseas’ Trustee and Board Secretary Lucy Devine on  [email protected]   or the Board Chair Nora Colton on [email protected]

If you are interested in applying please send a copy of your CV with a covering letter detailing your interest and in which role and the particular skills and knowledge you bring to [email protected]

Closing date: Sunday 26th January 2020. Interviews will be held in February 2020.


Specific Responsibilities

In addition to general Trustee responsibilities, please see the full role description, we are looking for a Trustee who will help develop and support VAO’s links with UK and international Universities.

Increasingly, Universities which we support in our programme countries are expressing an interest in collaborating with Universities in the UK and Ireland in terms of academic support and research. VAO can potentially play a role in fostering these kinds of partnerships, and as such, are looking for a Trustee who will be able to support us in developing a more intentional strategy for our engagement with some of the leading Optometry Universities in the UK and Ireland. 

The relationship would look at:

  • Fostering University (UK/Ireland) - University (African) collaborations
  • Developing VAO - University relationships
  • Identifying other ways Universities could support VAO and vice versa, identified through mutual discussion
  • Support the executive with developing research proposals and
  • Identify possible funding streams for this work
  • Identify possible methods of exchange placements including funding and long-term volunteers

Person Specification

Each Trustee must have:

  • A commitment to the mission and value base of VAO.
  • A commitment to the key policies of VAO – on Harassment and Misconduct, Whistle-blowing, Recruitment of ex-offenders, Child Protection and Anti-Bribery.
  • A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort.
  • Strategic vision.
  • Good, independent judgement.
  • An ability to think creatively.
  • A willingness to speak his/her mind.
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship (training/information will be offered in this area).
  • An ability to contribute effectively to the workings of the VAO Board and any sub-committees or working groups.

In addition to the above, this specific appointment is looking for Trustees that have:

  • Professional links with UK Universities that run Optometry/Ophthalmology programmes.
  • A solid understanding of UK and international higher education systems.
  • A comprehensive network in academia in Optometry/Ophthalmology (and a willingness to use these networks to promote VAO).
  • Experience in developing and/or supporting research in the field of eye health.

To see the full role description click here.