Volunteering in Africa is faced with diverse challenges that underpins its development and ownership of national volunteering initiatives, with little or no relevance of traditional or indigenous volunteering. The lack of expertise to advance meaningful and responsible volunteering, data collection as evidence to attract investments, funding, and state recognition/support towards national volunteer engagement have been great setbacks to the growth of traditional volunteering in Africa. However, the contribution of international volunteer organizations has been very visible and valued by the government. Unfortunately, this has ultimately undermined the growth of indigenous volunteering due to lack of collaboration and integration of traditional and international volunteering.
The international aid and development sector is being increasingly challenged to decolonize. Research indicates that localization of development decision-making and delivery has been a long-standing response to shifting power within the sector, yet the rhetoric of decolonization and localization does not always translate to changes in power and practice. These same concerns are also felt within the ‘volunteering for development’ community.
In this webinar, we will explore what the Global North can do to center Southern expertise and re-imagine the connection between volunteering and development to deliver transformational change. We will explore four enablers to support the locally owned development of volunteering, including: 1) shifting decision-making at all stages to Southern organizations and stakeholders; 2) South-South collaboration, knowledge sharing and exchange; 3) harnessing of technologies and capacities for conducting research in the South; and 4) supporting Southern investment in volunteering from government and the private sector. Speakers from across Africa will provide personal insight on each of these four enablers.