Services

Volunteering in Africa

  • The idea of giving of oneself for the benefit of others has its origins in early African associational life, which had a strong normative and moral basis.
  • Service and volunteering for the public good – shaped by cultural beliefs, values and practices of kinship support, mutual aid and reciprocity that contributed significantly to the social cohesion of individual societies – has a long history in Africa.
  • The advent of colonialism brought new values and beliefs such as religious motivations for service and volunteering.
  • The resultant social, economic and political changes in many African countries placed great pressures on indigenous systems of support and increased the responsibility of individuals, families and communities in meeting human needs.
  • Other actors – such as the church, philanthropy and rudimentary state provision – emerged in response to growing needs and increasing resistance to foreign rule.
  • While indigenous systems of support were increasingly under strain and eroding, some practices and beliefs about volunteerism continue to exist today while others have been refashioned to respond to present conditions (for example, youth service programmes and faith-based volunteering
  • Volunteering and voluntary service initiatives are most likely to flourish in enabling democratic environments and those in which there is a socio-cultural ethos that supports volunteerism.

Volunteering in Ethiopia

  • Ethiopia is one of the countries of the world where voluntarism is practiced in a wide area of development.
  •  Informal Associations (self-help) established on a voluntarily basis (እቁብ፣ እድር፣ ደቦ/ ጂጊና ወንፈል) – to solve community concerns, social stability, conflict resolution
  • Volunteerism during Natural and Manmade disasters (“ክፉ ቀን፣ ህዳር ሲታጠን”)
  • Ethiopia has experiences in volunteer service/ support (for Peace Settlement purpose) for conflict prone countrieslike (Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Korea etc.)
  • During Emperror Minellik’s administration (1888) Italian colonialism attempt- Russian Red Cross Volunteers served in humanitarian services.
  • During the second Colonialism attempt to Ethiopia in 1933-  Swiss Red Cross & Red Crescent has been moved to Ethiopia for volunteer services
  • In 1935 E.C  - Ethiopian Red Cross Society established
  • In the Imperialism/ Royal Era- Proliferation of volunteer associations/ organizations (FGAE, YMCA, YWCA, American Peace Corps)
  • Later in the 1960’s- [የሰላም ጓድ የበጎ ፈቃድ አገልግሎት ዘመቻ፣የኮሪያ በጎ ፈቃደኛ ዘማቾች ዘመቻ፣ የፊደልሰራዊት የበጎ ፈቃድ አገልግሎት ዘመቻ፣ የጸረ- ወባ ዘመቻ፣ የዕድገት በህብረት የዕውቀትና የስራ ዘመቻ እናየመሠረተ ትምህርትና የመንደር ምስረታ ዘመቻዎች ]
  •  After Derg Regime- Community and youth focused volunteer activities emerged
  • Enabling Environment ( after the right to association)- Many Civil Societies established
  • Recently, in the outbreak of Ebola- Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone volunteer Medical Staffs went to these countries to serve the community
  • Volunteer programs are getting much attention- Blood donation, plantation, HIV/SRH, traffic management, Caring for the needy people etc.
  • Most of the volunteer programs are not well coordinated- Irregular/ seasonal
  • Most volunteering happens through community- based networks of support and reciprocity. This form of volunteering is often unaccounted for and unrecognized. More research on the size and scope of informal volunteering is needed.
  • Currently there are different national development initiatives by the Prime mInister (Entoto project, Sheger Project, Gebeta le Hager project- all initiatives considers a voluntarily contribution of individuals and institutions to support the national project)
  • The Green Legacy campaign initiated by the PM
  • One meal for one person (PM’s sharing a meal initiative during Covid- Each one, feed one)
  • Campaigns to support IDPs in conflict areas
  • Campaign to support families during Covid 19 – resource mobilization etc.
  • Furthermore, there are some governmental (MoP, MoWCY etc.) and NGO’ working in promotion of voluntarism in the country
  • One of the new mandates introduced to Agency for Civil Society Organization’s (ACSO) under this proclamation is nurturing the culture of volunteerism and philanthropy in CSO’s and the community. It is therefore, recognized that the CSO sector is essential to support the country's economic and social growth and improve the quality of public services, and leveraging partnership for shared growth and development, particularly through promoting the culture of volunteerism
  • ACSO has established volunteerism promotion and fund administration directorate; leveraging its effort to promote the culture of volunteerism through partnership, joint project initiation, capacity building, trainings, and system designing and structural transformations.
  • Little is known about volunteerism in Ethiopia. Information about the sector is scanty, inaccessible and fragmented
  • There is no conclusive data on :
  • How many voluntary involving organizations do exist; which sectors are they engaging in
  • The number of volunteers in each year disaggregated by age, sex, education background, employment status etc. and the total number of hours they volunteer
  • More inclusively the sector contribution to the country development