Decolonizing & Repositioning Volunteering for Development Webinar Series (Part 3 of 5)

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Decolonizing & Repositioning Volunteering for Development Webinar Series (Part 3 of 5)

June 7 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Harnessing of Technologies and Capacities for Conducting Research in the Global South is webinar 3 of 5 in the Decolonizing & Repositioning Volunteering for Development Series

Organisations in the Global South are constrained by the required expertise and technology to research volunteering. Most of the existing research is currently conducted by organisations in the Global North equipped with the expertise, resources, and financing to conduct research in the Global South adequately.According to research commissioned by Forum, inequality in volunteering research is a product of multiple factors, manifesting in five key ways:

  1. Hierarchies symptomatic of the broader sphere of global knowledge production manifest in volunteering research. The focus of volunteering research is heavily skewed in favour of northern actors owing to historical, political economy, geopolitical and managerial imperatives. The hierarchies lead to the relative neglect of the interests and practices of southern volunteering actors and limit opportunities for them to contribute to the global knowledge base. Even where local southern volunteering actors produce research, the same hierarchies tend to denigrate it as wanting and inferior.

  2. Assumptions and discourses about volunteering: While volunteering practice is embedded in local cultures and activities, dominant discourses and assumptions in volunteering research are not. Instead, experiences and practices from northern geographies tend to be generalised as universal, which produces distorted interpretations in international comparative studies. This narrows our understanding of the complexities of volunteering practices and perspectives on volunteering in different geographies and compromises the evidence base.

  3. Low investments in research, development and innovation in southern countries result in the low prominence of volunteering research. In addition, donors have not invested sufficiently in institution-building, preferring to use ready-made vehicles to deliver the research they seek. This weakens the institutional base for growing volunteering research in southern countries and undermines sustainability.

  4. The capacity for volunteering research is concentrated in the North by virtue of the structural relationships between IVCOs, governments, foundations and universities, as well as other players supporting aid programmes.

  5. COVID-19 spotlighted the need to include informal volunteer action/expressions of volunteering in volunteer programmes, which may feature in ‘blended’ or ‘hybrid’ modalities. Volunteering research must assist in understanding the engagement between different types of volunteers working together and the outcomes that flow from these interactions.
This webinar brings together experts from Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia alongside a research expert to lay out the expertise and strategies needed to support Southern networks and organisations in creating equitable collaboration with others or to become research leaders in volunteering and development-related issues.

Research and evidence reflecting Southern perspectives and priorities can support innovation and transformational change in the sector. Join us to discover successful pathways for Southern organisations to contribute to the evidence base that connects development and volunteering in the region.

About the Series:

The series explores how to enable and support the locally-owned development of volunteering in the Global South. Topics include:

Click on the links to watch previously recorded sessions and get a fuller sense of the Decolonizing & Repositioning Volunteering for Development webinar series.


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