Ethiopia Can Reap More Benefit From Volunteerism


In many urban and rural areas it is common to see people living in old neighborhoods for decades. Due to economic constrains they are not in a position to renew their houses as per even the lowest standards of the time.

These are but a few and typical examples that demonstrate how volunteers can benefit the community. People alike are in many cases at the mercy of philanthropists and volunteers who rescue these people from the grinding situation they are in. For instance in Ethiopia, following the initiatives taken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) volunteers had embarked up on renovation of such dilapidated houses that belong to scores of poor people. The volunteers contributed their knowledge and labor while some philanthropists cover the expenses for materials to rebuild the devastated houses in to better, livable homes.

Such initiatives set examples to the big potential of volunteerism in transforming the social and economic development of the entire nation. Volunteers can contribute their estimable knowledge, labor, and in some cases funding to alleviate persistent problems in the nation.

Furthermore, volunteers themselves can also benefit from such large scale and well organized volunteerism programs in many ways. For instance, skilled volunteers can develop work experience, work connections and networking opportunities, exposure, social attribution and satisfaction among others.

As in any time of economic uncertainty, levels of poverty and unemployment rise which result in an increased demand for services. Many of these such as homeless services and care services rely on the support of volunteers to function effectively.

With increased levels of unemployment predicted, volunteering has a role to pay in getting people back to work. Volunteering supports those in unemployment to return to the workforce by helping them develop skills and build confidence.

Volunteering also has significant benefits to the health and well-being of those who volunteer and by extension their communities. This represents a significant cost saving to an already overstretched HSE.

The summer season in Ethiopia which is going to set on in about a month will see many nationwide activities that involve the government, the community and various other stakeholders. One such national feat is volunteerism activity.

The country has been promoting volunteerism as a means of contributing to the overall national economic and social development for about a decade or more. Ethiopia is one of the most populous countries both in Africa and the world. Majority of the population is also composed of young and working age population. Involving such a large number of people can play viable role in transforming the country's fledgling economy.

It is important to note that the population of the country is an integral element in the development of the country. A country may have a huge amount of natural resources and other infrastructure. These are indeed vital in the development of the country. Still healthy and well trained workforce is also mandatory to harness these resources and change them to usable wealth.

The extent to which the work force undertakes the jobs with quality, speed also determines the success of the performance of the economy. For this end due attention should be given to diversifying and maximizing the exposure of the youth for various types of working opportunities.

Indeed the country trains and graduates about a hundred thousands of youth from various higher educational institutions both public and private. While some of them get employment opportunities in various public institutions and projects as well as jobs created by the private sector, still many trained people remain looking for working opportunities. On top of this still many youth are in dire need of job opportunities.

While the country is building an economy that focuses on harnessing the affordable labor available in the country, it is also important to expand working opportunities for youth where they can immerse themselves in to the world of working and earning through providing voluntary services. In this regard for a country like Ethiopia, where there is a large gap of job opportunities and job seekers, as well as a huge demand for voluntary services, the role of volunteerism can be paramount.

For instance, as observed during the last couples of years, there are many people who need the philanthropic support of their fellow compatriots in various aspects of their lives. For instance many people in urban and rural areas are leading a mean life due to their inability to build houses, renew their old ramshackle houses, or due to absence of making income to subsist on ... etc. The government, humanitarian organizations or other stakeholders do not have the capacity to help them rebuild their houses. Hence, volunteers had stepped in to address the alarming situation of their compatriots.

In addition to addressing individual problems, volunteers also play meaningful roles in responding to nationwide and societal issues. For instance, they can actively and massively involve in seedling transplantation, sanitation and environment protection as well as community sensitization efforts.

Hence, considering their role the government and stakeholders need to strengthen the engagement of youth and other volunteers in such important activities. It is necessary to plan the voluntary works, mobilize resources and gather experiences of successful countries for a better implementation of upcoming voluntary works.

Editor's Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The Ethiopian Herald

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