Impact of Volunteering

SERVE believes in volunteering. We believe that our volunteering programmes make a difference and have a significant positive impact on communities, projects and beneficiaries.

SERVE has strong convictions about volunteering:

    • We believe that the voluntary sector is a significant stakeholder and actor in the development sector;
    • We recognise that many community based grassroots initiatives are both inspired by and dependent upon volunteers;
    • We are convinced that the mobilisation of grassroots communities is essential to the full achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by;
    • Supporting programmes that mobilise voluntary effort and sweat equity in local communities in the developing world;
    • Implementing volunteering programmes that connect Irish volunteers with projects and communities in the developing world with the objective of enhancing the overall volunteering effort;
    • Building the capacity of our international partners through the volunteering component by increasing the opportunities for networking, sharing of best practice and lesson learning, transferring of skills, and acting as catalysts for mobilisation of local communities;
    • Volunteering programmes planned jointly with our international partners that enhances the quality of partnership relationships;
    • Mobilising young adults in Ireland and in the communities served by our international partners to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals;
    • Continuing the excellent Irish volunteer tradition that helped give birth to the emergence and evolution of the Irish response to development and believing that there will be a continued volunteer multiplier impact into the future.

SERVE’S Volunteering Programme contributes to the development agenda by:

1. Strengthening the voice of civil society organisations so they can influence policy, both at local and national levels, for the promotion of sustainable development and the improvement of livelihood security

2. Support communities to participate in development at local and national levels

3. Support communities to gain access to resources for local development and the improvement of essential services

4. Support communities and organisations to respond effectively to the HIV pandemic through programmes of prevention, care and support

5. Support communities to realise their human rights, especially those of women and children

SERVE Volunteering Programmes Strengthen the Voice of Civil Society by:

  • Meeting overseas partners needs by responding to requests for volunteering programmes from partner communities and organisations;
  • Enhances quality partnership relationships with overseas partners;
  • Increasing the depth of understanding of the problems faced by our partners in the developing world;
  • Presenting an opportunity for our overseas partners to share their insights and act as teachers and educators;
  • Operating a model which is participative and involves partners at every stage;
  • Matching an interest in volunteering amongst the Irish public with the voluntary sector in the developing world;
  • Enhancing, in some cases, the profile and status of our local partners;
  • Leads to an excellent context for sharing of best practice and lesson learning;
  • Connects Irish volunteers with local families that leads to lasting dialogue and mutual understanding;
  • Results in the voice of partners being heard in Ireland through the volunteers networkof living and working;
  • Increasing mutual accountability;
  • Gifting opportunities to Irish social workers, care workers and teachers to experience firsthand the realities of communities in the developing world, which helps them in their work on behalf of immigrant communities from the developing world in Ireland;
  • Creating opportunities for Shared Advocacy, synergy, new partnerships and new markets;
  • Building on ideas that emerge from volunteers;
  • Facilitating peer to peer capacity building amongst 20-24 year olds;
  • Mobilising 15-24 year olds in pursuit of the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Integrating youth participation into community development activity;
  • Advocating in favour of initiatives such as the African Youth Charter

SERVE volunteering programmes support communities to participate in development at local and national level by:

  • Facilitating partnerships that fosters participation;
  • Implementing Global Citizenship initiatives whereby partners benefit from training opportunities in Ireland;
  • Establishing links between communities in Ireland and communities in the developing world;
  • Organising on the ground expertise in communities rarely visited by development specialists;
  • Acting as a catalyst to mobilise local communities to engage in a participative approach to development;
  • Strengthening the spirit of volunteerism that is so essential to the success of so many development projects;
  • Engaging marginalised groups, especially young people in the development process;
  • Acting as an impetus for overcoming local stigmatisation of marginalised categories of people;
  • Facilitating participative methods of completing socio-economic analysis of communities;
  • Developing the team skills and group dynamic capacity of partners resulting in community responses rather than individual responses;
  • Improving local communities knowledge and responses to the challenge of environmental damage and climate change;
  • Encouraging additional outreach to the most vulnerable sections of society;
  • Presenting opportunities to move away from a project approach to a strategic and Programmatic Approach;
  • Encouraging inter-generational development planning through dialogue and conversation with young people and their elders;
  • Developing and/or strengthening opportunities for young people to learn their rights and responsibilities, promoting their social, political, development and environmental participation;
  • Encouraging and promoting youth associations through financial, educational and technical support and promotion of their activities;
  • Encouraging increased national, regional and international cooperation and exchange between youth organisations;
  • Facilitating “learning by doing” opportunities for young people and marginalised groups;
  • Boosting youth volunteering for development by engaging young men and women in a range of activities that can improve their participation and positively direct their energy, vigour and innovation towards the realisation of national and global development goals.

SERVE volunteering programmes help communities to gain access to resources for local development and the improvement of essential services by:

  • Gaining access to funds from external partners for improvement of essential services. Many of our partners have had serious difficulties obtaining external funding;
  • Helping to secure overseas markets for the sale of partner’s produce that are manufactured under fair trade conditions;
  • Offering guided assistance and capacity development to improve partners ability to prepare project proposals;
  • Sharing the concept and selling the idea of a Programmatic Approach;
  • Increasing economic activity in the local community;
  • Providing opportunities for mutual learning with similar peer organisations in other countries;
  • Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit based on successes in other countries;
  • Transferring skills in areas such as engineering, woodwork, graphic design, art, teaching, website design and management, cooking, sports, social work, counselling and youth leadership skills;
  • Identifying the development needs of children with a corresponding early intervention strategy that is likely to lead to greater results;
  • Empowering partners to learn about group dynamic techniques, team teaching and pioneering care and intervention strategies that are being implemented in Ireland;
  • Teaching of English can empower people to have greater access to employment;
  • Helping partners to develop business plans for local produce, developing their internet capabilities and securing markets for their fair trade produce;
  • Beneficial and sensitive sharing of best practice (as we know it in Ireland) with community groups on health & safety, boundaries etc;
  • Delivering services that are recommended in education and care by the OECD for children in areas of disadvantage. Studies show that disadvantaged children throughout the world regress during holiday periods from school and care projects. Providing good interventions during the holiday period acts as an important catalyst in enhancing a child’s ability to engage with the education process and to overcome development needs;
  • Gearing priorities towards meeting the basic needs of the poorest of the poor;
  • Interacting opportunities between volunteers and children leads to positive psychological dynamics for vulnerable orphaned children etc;
  • Acting as an impetus for increased urgency in implementing plans;

SERVE volunteering programmes support communities to respond effectively to the HIV pandemic through programmes of prevention, care and support by:

  • Promoting a partnership approach to youth HIV/AIDS prevention programmes;
  • Sharing and application of SERVE’S HIV/AIDS Youth Prevention Manual which is an excellent resource for workshops on HIV/AIDS prevention work;
  • Provision of unique opportunities to provide rest and reflection time for those immersed in caring for those suffering from HIV/AIDS;
  • Delivering care hours in partnership with local volunteers, helping to replenish the energies of very stressed care staff;
  • Sharing of international best practice on HIV/AIDS;
  • Providing local communities with the opportunity to utilise volunteers presence to help combat local cultural taboos and stigmas;
  • Acting as a partner in advocating in favour of a HIV/AIDS free generation;
  • Advising on mainstreaming HIV/AIDS into all partners activities

SERVE volunteering programmes support communities to realise their human rights, especially those of women and children by:

  • Sharing of best practice on child care and child protection;
  • Acting in solidarity with marginalised women in rural areas and those involved in sex tourism;
  • Communicating and modelling progressive gender models;
  • Witnessing human rights abuse which prompts advocacy and lobbying;
  • Providing legal support to anti Child Pornography campaign in the Philippines;
  • Taking initiatives to tackle the sex tourism industry in Thailand and the Philippines;
  • Mentoring of vulnerable and orphaned children, and adolescents;
  • Strengthening the education base of children and adolescents;
  • Supporting income generation initiatives for street children;
  • Helping local groups to creatively perform role plays and drama around the issues of gender violence, and in particular, domestic violence against women;
  • Interfacing with the plight of poverty and the plight of individuals leads to greater human rights attention, awareness and advocacy;
  • Sponsoring campaigns against gender violence