Adding Values to Communities through Volunteerism

Values are the set standards esteemed by the people of a particular community. They are the general quotas used to regulate societal stability and benchmark the worth of development occurring within a communal group. Though each community is distinguished by its own values, several communities share certain tenets. Some of these widespread values include promotion of human and animal lives, law, morals, religion, culture, hygiene, education, economy and they form the belief system of the people. Where there are no values, there are no standards and anything is acceptable. Consequently, order cannot be regulated neither can progress be measured in the absence of values.

The world is evolving and the situation in many countries keeps changing with it. The effects of adverse climate change, war, poverty, unemployment, terrorism, illiteracy, poor hygiene and economic fluctuations are creating problems for both humans and animals in several societies across the globe today. Leaders and technology pioneers are struggling to solve the many infrastructural difficulties of this age. For instance, in Africa and some parts  of Asia, democratic governments are fighting hard to resolve the seemingly insurmountable problems of poverty, unemployment, crime, poor hygiene and illiteracy. Many citizens find it almost impossible to uphold the values originally established in their societies. The environments in such societies are therefore non-supportive to the regulation of order and communal development; values are corroded and the average standard of life continually dips. These are some of the negative effects of global evolution.

To sustain life and order on earth, some governments of countries as well as their intracontinental and intercontinental unions are persistently creating programmes to help control and gradually resolve these problems. International bodies and summits like the United Nations (UN), Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation of Africa Unity, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), European Union (EU), Group of Eight (G8), are exemplary channels through which many governments cooperate to assuage the unpleasant effects of global evolution.

In addition, various local, national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are developing initiatives to complement the efforts of government in fighting these problems. Ashoka, LEAP Africa, Innovations for Poverty Action, GOI Peace Foundation, OneWorld Health, Oxfam, Water for People, Creative Commons and Stop Malaria Now are just a few of such NGOs.  However, government and NGO efforts alone cannot resolve the problems because they continue to augment every day. If truly, we will build a more salubrious global habitat and meet the millennium development goals, every youth and adult must be willing to participate.

Civic participation is one of the surest means of controlling the defects of global evolution. Each one of us must be willing to contribute an effort or resource against the existence of one or more of those problems. This is where the significance of volunteerism becomes obvious. Volunteerism is the aspect of civic participation which involves the use of unpaid help from professional and non-professional workers to perform tasks or job duties that may require certain composite skills or experience. It may also be described as the act of providing free services to other people within or outside one’s community. These tasks or duties include but are not limited to teaching and enlightening, providing healthcare, operating equipments, administering resources, ensuring safety, providing legal service, etc. Today, there are countless opportunities for people to volunteer regardless of their level of education. One can volunteer to participate in a project as a skilled professional, semi-skilled worker or an unskilled labourer.

Youth are the most dynamic human resource for driving volunteerism because they have energy, passion and intelligence. Young people can achieve any realistic objective if their hearts are set on its attainment. They can easily adapt to foreign environment and are quick to assimilate and interpret new information. They constitute the majority of the proletariat in the foremost economies of the world and are definitely the linking factor between a nation’s present status and its future goals.

Thus, youth are the best resource for volunteerism. However, the idea of volunteering is still hidden from many young people. It is not uncommon for me to find people asking how they can add value to themselves while awaiting university admission or employment. But as I often say, “the best way to add value to one’s self is by adding value to other lives.”When you engage in volunteerism, you engage in a value exchange process. You trade your efforts in exchange for new experience, knowledge and fulfillment. More information about how to become a volunteer can be found at: All Hands Volunteers, Idealist, LEAP Africa, VE Global, UN Volunteers, One World, and Christian Volunteering. Apart from these, with the right motivation, you could find a way into any organisation and offer to work for free. Along the line, your commitment will lead you to an opportunity within or outside that organisation and pay off your free work.

If as a young person, you truly want to grow in value, seek a means of adding value to the lives of other people. You will be amazed at how much value you can add to the community and your worth to other lives would have increased.

Ayodeji Morakinyo is a leisure writer. He blogs at www.moraks.blogspot.com and corresponds for the youth programme of the Commonwealth of Nations.

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