Volunteerism and Working with Volunteers
Volunteering from a Global PerspectiveNarendra Mishra, Nil Memişoğlu
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. We work with partners to integrate qualified, highly motivated and well supported UN Volunteers into development programming, and promote the value and global recognition of volunteerism. UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and reports to the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board. Volunteers are at the forefront of every major conflict, natural disaster, and other acute shock. Less visibly, every day and everywhere, all types of people are volunteering to tackle stresses that test their resilience, such as poor education, ill health, and poverty. In many communities, particularly where public support and safety nets are absent, volunteering emerges as a fundamental survival strategy, because it enables collective strategies for managing risk. Volunteers can have a very powerful impact on students and universities. What follows briefly highlights some research on the benefits and ways to use volunteers and ways for universities to move forward in implementing volunteer programs. This chapter is designed to help university students to realize the full potential of volunteerism at global, national and local levels. The report suggests that the ability of volunteers to support development progress depends on the willingness of universities to ensure that the space and supportive environments which encourage their participation and initiatives are available. Volunteerism can help to generate social trust, advance social inclusion, improve basic services, and boost human development. Volunteers and volunteerism bring the greatest benefits where enabling conditions like freedom of speech and association and an atmosphere of vigorous political debate are already in place.