Why is inclusivity important in the field of volunteering?
Anishka Wijayarathne
2 නොවැම්බර් 2019

Inclusive volunteering is opening the act of volunteerism to people from diverse backgrounds regardless of age, culture, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, social status or disability. Inclusivity in the field of volunteerism is important because it generates many positive effects by involving the traditionally excluded volunteers to work for their communities, organizations and self-growth.

Why is inclusive volunteerism important to the community?

It’s an opportunity to network and build relationships with state institutions, social service groups and Volunteer involving organizations in order to deliver a better service to people from vulnerable groups. Inclusive volunteerism provides opportunities to vulnerable groups to integrate well into society. This is particularly relevant in situations where they are not able to find a job. It benefits the communities to obtain support for activities carried out at a local level to improve the quality of life while opening doors to greater economic prosperity. Inclusive volunteerism builds the overall trust within the community and it breaks down some of the systemic roots of exclusion, leading to greater participation by all groups creating better employment perspectives to benefit the community

Why is inclusive volunteerism important to the Volunteer involving organization?

It facilitates in attracting a more broad, sustainable and diverse pool of volunteers with a wide range of experiences, skills and perspectives. It can be considered as an opportunity to other volunteers and employees to learn new skills and broaden their perspectives while creating an atmosphere in the organization to promote equality, enhance organizational effec­tiveness and capitalize the different abilities of staff members. It is a successful method of building trust among the volunteers by becoming more open to vulnerable groups. Inclusive volunteerism helps to build an organizational culture where difference is viewed as a fact of life rather than a problem, it is a challenging yet exciting venture to the staff and the organization

Why is inclusive volunteerism important to the volunteer?

The volunteer will gain added positive experiences into their lives outlining enjoyment, pride, self-respect, confidence, empowerment to bring about change and to express generosity to others. The volunteers will also be able to have improved vocational and interpersonal skills to gain access to employment, education and training in diversified environments. It gives the opportunity to make use of a particular set of skills or experiences that one possesses but is unable to use in their existing communities. Volunteers will enjoy access to new social networks and new opportunities while experiencing increased self-confidence and self-esteem, it is also a great opportunity to combat discrimination and demonstrate that they can be respected members of a team and become a positive inspiration in action for others and being self-satisfied due to the thought of giving something back to the society.

Barriers to inclusive volunteering

 

There can be many barriers preventing volunteering opportunities to inclusive volunteerism both on the side of the organizations and potential volunteers, many organizations represents lack of experience on handling and working with a specific target group and therefore resulting in being fearful of involving volunteers to use their experiences, skills and perspectives for the betterment of the communities, another considerable factor is that the continuous thought of practicing inclusivity in volunteerism is time consuming and difficult. limited knowledge on the subject is the underlying cause of the organizational barriers to inclusive volunteerism

 

Barriers to inclusive volunteerism on the side of potential volunteers brings out the lack of awareness of the true idea and spirit of volunteerism, limited access to knowledge and awareness about potential volunteer positions, most volunteers often don’t know about volunteer positions and even if they know, many tend to have difficulties in the starting point. Lack of self-esteem and confidence among differently abled and skilled, having negative experience of trying to become a volunteer, lack of motivation to volunteer due to slow or no follow up from the organizations, physical and social barriers, or having no reimbursements on expenses.

 

Anishka Wijayarathne
2 නොවැම්බර් 2019
Anishka Wijayarathne works as a consultant at the United Nations Volunteers, Sri Lanka. She is a graduate in international Business Management from the University of Plymouth

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