The Impacts of International Volunteering: Summary of the Findings

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Schech, Susanne Barbara
Mundkur, Anuradha
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Flinders University
Copyright © Flinders University 2016. This report is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
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Flinders University
Results From The research Building partnerships through IDV. Volunteerism works through relationships. AVID volunteers spend significant amounts of time and effort to establish good and productive relationships with host organisation staff. Most host organisations value relationship building highly. Relationships are the conduit for capacity development and the ‘stuff’ of the people-to-people links that are IDV’s principal objectives. Both volunteers and host organisations describe the relationships they build as equal and mutually beneficial – qualities that characterise a true partnership. IDV programs such as AVID are therefore part of the global push for a shift from donor-recipient relationships to equitable and mutually accountable partnerships. They contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 17: ‘a global partnership’. Capacity development and reciprocal learning. Capacity development through IDV is mutual rather than one-sided. Host organisations gain specific skill and ideas that help them innovate and work effectively in a global environment, and these capacities are more sustainable if they are aquired through collaborative work rather than formal training. The research found that volunteers also develop their capabilities by gaining valuable soft skills, international professional experience and specific country knowledge that are useful for living and working in a global world. This outcome, and the contribution of host organisations to it, should be acknowledged as a positive impact of IDV .Developing cosmopolitan orientations. The research confirms previous findings that IDV assists in promoting a positive image of Australia overseas. But it also found more far-reaching impacts on the orientations of volunteers and host organisation staff towards development, volunteerism, and engaging with other cultures. IDV offers volunteers opportunities to practice and gain a reality check on their openness towards othercultures, as well as developing their intercultural competencies. Host organisations enhance their ability to engage effectively with foreign development actors by developing and practicing different cultural repertoires and opening up to new ideas and knowledge.
Copyright © Flinders University 2016. This report is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
international development volunteerism (IDV), Volunteering, bilateral aid programmes, International aid
Schech, S., & Mundkur, A. (2016). The Impacts of International Volunteering: Summary of the Findings. Bedford Park, SA: Flinders University.