2022 State of the World's Volunteerism Report: Implications for Policy

December 02-17 Moderated by Chris Millora, Jane Muthumbi, Jurgen Grotz

About the discussion group

The 2022 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report provides strong evidence on how volunteerism can help build more inclusive people-state relationships. These collaborations are vital in expanding volunteers’ roles towards achieving and localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report's key messages are:

 

  • Volunteerism can help build a culture of collaborative decision-making
  • Volunteerism can alter unequal power relations.
  • Volunteerism offers diverse pathways to civic participation but remains unequal.
  • Volunteers build bridges.

 

With these contributions in mind, how can policymakers and programme planners create an enabling environment for volunteerism to best contribute towards building equal and inclusive societies.

In this policy-focused discussion, we invite volunteers, volunteer-involving organizations, government officials, NGOs and other stakeholders to reflect on the policy recommendations ( https://swvr2022.unv.org/chapter-7/) of this year’s SWVR. Some questions to frame the discussions:

 

  • How can we better address the barriers faced by marginalized groups – such as persons with disabilities, rural women, youth, residents of informal settlements, key populations – so they can volunteer and participate actively in public decision-making?

 

  • How can we strengthen partnerships and collaboration between various groups (e.g. community organizations, national volunteering institutions) at different levels (e.g. local, national, regional and international levels)?

 

  • What sort of strategies and practices can we adapt to ensure that women’s voices and agency are optimized?

 

  • How can we develop polices and programmes that build on volunteers existing expertise, knowledge and experiences? How do we value these contributions – especially informal ones?

 

  • How can we create better tools to measure volunteerism and its contribution to development – especially in the Global South?
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Jurgen Grotz
12.12.2021
Should governments lead volunteerism or get out the way? Should volunteer involving organisations direct volunteers or be guided by their volunteers. Should volunteering infrastructure organisations develop accreditation or open spaces for volunteering to develop? How can we build strong and equal partnerships? These are important questions when we consider the role of volunteers in co-creating inclusive localised structures and mechanisms to address 21st century challenges.
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In reply to by Jurgen Grotz

Amy Sanders
15.12.2021
These are great questions Jurgen. I wonder if the answer to the first three questions could be "both". In answer to your question about building strong and equal partnerships, one of my findings from my PhD is that we should use the equality of opportunity expertise within the equalities voluntary sector to scrutinise state-voluntary sector partnerships, to enable them to evolve as institutions towards greater equality of opportunity practices that extend opportunities for different strands of the voluntary sector to participate.
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In reply to by Amy Sanders

Jurgen Grotz
15.12.2021
Dear Amy, good points! If a bit of both then how do we know which, when and whether it is the right mixture. With regards to the role of volunteer involving organisations working in the field of equalities, how do they derive authority? Say services user organisations, from their volunteers? In other ways? How is knowledge valued? Sorry, questions questions questions. Add to this that context, for example, in the UK, varies in its four nations.
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Suresh Gautam
12.12.2021
The historical and cultural development of volunteerism has been traced in Nepal from 5th Century BC through informal volunteering practices. Nepali society has embedded characteristics of volunteerism for the conservation natural resource such as water resource, rivers, ponds, and forest. These practices have been performed through communal, spiritual, and religious purposes in the society and community. Volunteerism in Nepal explicitly was observed during natural calamites such as flood, earthquake, and recent pandemic of COVID 19. The spontaneity of the volunteers to serve people in humanitarian crisis which can be linked to the issues of global warming and climate change in recent era.

While conducting research for two communities of Nepal for State of World Volunteerism Report 2022 selecting two cases of Barghar and Guthi leads extensive volunteering practices which are conducted to conserve nature which was closely associated with the culture of people. There were such efforts of volunteers to connect nature and culture of Tharu and Newar people which can address the issues of climate change at present.

Recently, Ministry of Youth and Sport also is formulating the National Volunteering Policy, Nepal (which is not yet approved from Government of Nepal) to recognize such traditional forms of volunteerism to develop resilient societies thereby increasing participation of the people including Non-Residents of Nepal, civil society, students. Policy Research Institute drafted the National Policy on Volunteerism and Youth Advocacy Nepal has been disseminating the policy throughout the country for collecting feedback. The policy aims at making volunteerism systematic in Nepal with preserving traditional heritages and wisdom, bringing innovation and newness, developing a mechanism to regulate volunteers. Such policies also help to increase people participation addressing the issues of climate change.
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Mahesh Nath Parajuli
12.12.2021
Dear Chris,
SWVR 2022 has shown that volunteerism exists in many different forms. While some might be involved in volunteering at the individual level, others might work at some organizational level. Likewise, we see that there are community-level organizations established or run by people themselves and there are state agencies working on volunteering. We also know that volunteerism has been taking place because of varied reasons like religion, culture, philanthropy, etc. The point is, volunteerism has been taking place in varied forms, its actors are varied, and they work at different levels, at different capacities, and for different reasons. Whatever forms, levels, coverage, depth, and breadth volunteerism might be taking place, they are all contributing towards larger social goods. Of course, there are exceptions as some form of volunteerism might also be taking place with partisionary or with some harmful purposes from the perspective of broader human and planetary purposes. Excepting these, in one way or the other, voluntarism has been contributing towards national development, social wellbeing, capacity enhancement, and so on. So, the concern now is how to expand and consolidate it so that it could play the role of social transformation? For this, I think, we should begin by understanding different aspects of volunteering like who are volunteering, why are people volunteering, where are people volunteering (location/fields), etc. I think many countries critically lack systematically collected research-based information on these aspects. Likewise, we also need to understand why some areas, cultures, communities have a rich history of volunteerism and why some others do not have such traditions. That is, we need to know the drivers and barriers to volunteerism. State agencies at all levels (national, regional, and local level governments) need to be active in understanding the dimensions of volunteering through different means. This would tell us what are the opportunities and what are the problems and challenges at all levels of operation. Definitely, this would need a good amount of financial investments, and organizational and other arrangements. But the outcomes of such investments would be great in terms of social, cultural, and political benefits. No state, if they claim to work for the people and planet should be hesitant for such investment. Of course, careful planning is necessary for this. Such research-based evidence would provide a sound base to further the journey. This is a long-term and continuous journey but we must begin and expand. Such a base would provide a good reason where to focus, and what to focus.
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Chris Millora
06.12.2021
Hello everyone! Welcome to this discussion board. I hope you had the change to read through this year's State of the World's Volunteerism Report. SWVR 2022 presents important evidence on how volunteerism can help foster inclusive people-state relationships towards building more equal societies. Yet we can all agree that more needs to be done in translating research findings and principles into policy and programme action - a process that is full of challenges but could also be rewarding. Do join us in reflecting on the policy and programme implications of this year's report! Perhaps we can begin with asking a difficult yet important question:

How can we better address the barriers faced by marginalized groups – such as persons with disabilities, rural women, youth, residents of informal settlements, key populations – so they can volunteer and participate actively in public decision-making?
Profile picture for user johanna.erroba

In reply to by chrismillora

Johanna Erroba
15.12.2021
Thanks for facilitating this space. Speaking of spaces, I think it's imperative that the public sector leaves space for volunteerism to happen. Embedding, for example, volunteerism in programming really helps push this agenda forward. As a concrete demonstration, in a local government unit in the Philippines, UNDP is working to build a youth volunteerism program where volunteers would be hosted by government agencies and will therefore be embedded in their structures, not as mere assistants but as valuable stakeholders in public policy and program administration. This model is being done in a conflict-affected area where many people are affected and considered marginalized. Happy to also read other colleagues' insights and suggestions.

Discussion Moderators

Chris Millora
Facilitator
Jane Muthumbi
Facilitator
Jurgen Grotz
Facilitator

Discussion Members

Chris Millora
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Jane Muthumbi
Member
Jurgen Grotz
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Mahesh Nath Parajuli
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Suresh Gautam
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Johanna Erroba
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Amy Sanders
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