Rural Pulse: Volunteer! It is Part of African Culture
Last month, we began a new series – Rural Pulse, to feature people living and working in rural communities on what they consider as the best practice for sustainable development.
This week, we asked Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Country Director in Nigeria, Mr Sriramappa Gonchikara, the role of volunteerism, especially in rural development.
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. The organisation has trained and empowered thousands of volunteers via participatory approaches that strengthen bottom-up approaches to development.
In Nigeria where Mr Gonchikara work, VSO has actively promote volunteerism among Nigerian youths and worked with other stakeholder to advocate for a national volunteering policy. Kenya already has a new volunteering policy which is encouraging people there to become volunteers locally.
Here is Gonchikara’s view:
“Volunteering is part of African culture. There is hardly any African community where volunteering is not practiced in one form or the other. It usually takes the form of collaborative community service, mostly in the area of agriculture and livelihoods. It is only in more recent times that the younger generations have jettisoned volunteerism in favour of paid work.
Volunteering is especially important for young people because it exposes them to new ideas and ways of achieving things. Young people easily acquire 21st century learning and innovation skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity while volunteering. Also, volunteering affords young people the opportunity to develop and improve on key competencies which will be useful for building a career in the corporate world. Volunteering is also an invaluable training ground for would-be leaders.”