Volunteerism Around the World

The United Nations Volunteers recently published a guidance note titled: Drafting and Implementing Volunteerism Laws and Policies.

I came across it because I am interested in knowing more about volunteering and the cross sections of international and domestic volunteers.

My favorite quote was “Achieving the MDGs by 2015 is a task for everyone, and voluntary action will be critical.This quote emphasizes the importance of global engagement.  We all have responsibility.

Some other takeaways included the following:

  • Laws and policies should be developed to support the goals of the country. (Countries should have goals!)
  • Laws and policies should be developed with civil engagement and participatory research and input. (This sounds great but I wonder if other countries struggle with civil engagement like we do in the US)
  • “The most successful volunteerism initiatives have operational plans which detail specific activities, goals, responsibilities, and deadlines for all stakeholders, including government and volunteer organizations. “

Some of the countries mentioned included Macedonia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, United States, and Pakistan.

The paper also briefly touched on the culture of volunteerism.

“Where a culture of volunteerism exists and flourishes, volunteerism law and policy initiatives can find rapid success as they are taken up by pre-existing volunteer constituencies. By contrast, where volunteerism is poorly  understood or not embraced by the population, volunteerism laws and policies may fail to be implemented properly or may be ignored altogether.”

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