David Caprara, Jacob Mwathi Mati, Ebenezer Obadare and Helene Perold
Technical paper

Volunteering and Civic Service in Three African Regions

David Caprara, Jacob Mwathi Mati, Ebenezer Obadare and Helene Perold
Enabling Environment for Volunteering
South-South Cooperation and Volunteering

Fast read

  • This paper discusses the growth of volunteerism as a form of social capital that enhances cohesion and regional integration. It focuses on three regions across Africa: the south, the west and the east.


The findings highlight Africa’s deeply-rooted traditions of mutual aid. In East Africa, the research provides examples of national and community service schemes. In West Africa, it explores national services for youth empowerment and civic education to foster civic pride and citizenship, citing the examples of national youth volunteer service in Liberia, the national youth service corps in Nigeria and the national service scheme in Ghana. The research on South Africa examines the spread of informal volunteering in the country, in contrast to formal volunteering opportunities, which tend to be focused on young people and linked to NGOs and national service schemes. The research also examines North–South and South–South volunteering models, focusing on how values of volunteering like solidarity and reciprocity interact.

The research provides decision makers with new evidence and recommendations to enable volunteerism to achieve its potential impact on regional integration, youth development and peace.