Image credit: Pexels - Photo: 2019

Volunteering Kicks Up a Notch in Kenya

By J W Jackie

RENO, Nevada, USA (IDN) – One of the biggest cross-nation collaborations currently, is between the European Union and Kenya. This unusual pairing provides Kenya with the resources to implement development strategies with a Sh8 billion line of credit (USD 78.922.800,00) from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

While the loan is earmarked for the private sector to improve development, there is a definite need for support in all areas to make these funds go even further. One of the biggest cost items for any development project is labour. While paid labour will still be a component, a large form of relief is through skilled volunteers.

Kenya is no stranger to volunteering and the spirit of Harambee looks at how the community can come together for the greater good of the entire community. While the pooling of resources is one component of Harambee, another is that the individual is not greater than the group.

Volunteers are, therefore, integrated into projects fairly easily as there is a general consensus of getting the job done. For volunteers, another ground-breaking move to make volunteerism simpler and easier in Kenya is the National Volunteerism Policy. The sheer labour force provided by volunteers in 2016 was the equivalent of USD 2,362,778,900. By understanding the economic value volunteers have in developing countries, it becomes easier to integrate them into projects.

25 Year-old Anna Rammou from Clapham recently returned from her Kenyan volunteering mission, and for her, one of the biggest gaps communities face is skills development. These gaps filter into their social development too, as the lack of skills leads to a lack of income.

This causes severe pressure on providers and those who are constantly under the poverty line, with drinking and drugs seen as a means of escape. By equipping those in developing countries with skills to improve their personal situation socially and financially, volunteerism opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Not only do these skills bring new types of jobs and services to the mix, but they also open up the door to further learning and skills development. This creates a life that people no longer want to escape from, but rather opens up a world of possibilities.

Volunteers have the opportunity to not only provide a helping hand in areas that developing countries need most, but there is also the chance to see a part of the world that has a whole new outlook on life.

For volunteers, immersing themselves in the culture and community they find themselves in, they have the opportunity to gain so much more from their volunteering stint. Before signing up to a volunteering program, it’s important to determine whether the organisation is targeted in their approach, protects the vulnerable, and has a clear understanding of the turnaround time required to meet their objectives.

Volunteering is not only essential for the progress of development initiatives to take place, but also gives the volunteer the opportunity to give back. [IDN-InDepthNews – 05 June 2019]

Image credit: Pexels

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