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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

The role of volunteers in fighting world poverty

This news post is about 9 years old

Study shows the impact made by overseas volunteers

Research on the contribution of volunteers in the fight against poverty throughout the world has been published.

It looks at the impact they make on development and social change in developing countries, as well as factors that can prevent them from doing so.

The studywas conducted by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

It was undertaken in Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and the Philippines between 2012 and 2014 in the areas of health, education, governance and the environment and involved more than 3,700 participants, including community, national and international volunteers, government officials, young people, community leaders, teachers and health practitioners – making this the largest study of its kind to date.

There are a phenomenal number of people making a significant and powerful impact in the fight against poverty

The research findings highlight that it is not just what volunteers do, but how they support change that makes their contribution unique.

It found that volunteering has a unique role to play in contributing to sustainable development.

Dr Philip Goodwin, chief executive of VSO, said: “There are 50 million volunteers in the world – this is a phenomenal number of people making a significant and powerful impact in the fight against poverty.

“This new research demonstrates the role of volunteering in placing the knowledge and experiences of the poorest and most marginalised at the forefront.”

IDS researcher Danny Burns added: “Whilst volunteering can have a unique role to play, it has to be supported in the right ways in order for it to do so. We very much hope that this research can inform learning and practice across the development sector. At IDS, collaboration based on mutual learning, respect and appreciation is at the heart of our strategic focus on engaged excellence as we believe it is vital for reducing inequalities in the way knowledge is produced and shared.”