The thread that binds: Is innovative volunteerism the solution to Africa’s developmental challenges?

At the 2018 Youth Connekt summit on 10 October in Kigali, Rwanda, UNV's session "The thread that binds: Is innovative volunteerism the solution to Africa's development challenges" will look at how volunteerism and resilience interact, and explore how young people can join together to solve development problems through volunteering.

Volunteerism as a contributor to growth and prosperity has not been properly captured by the development discourse of Africa. However, the sprout of movements, organizations, and groups, now working on and in support of volunteerism across the continent serve as a testament to an increased recognition of the value of innovative volunteerism as a mechanism for addressing most of the economic and socio-political challenges faced by Africa.

During the UNV session, discussants will look how volunteerism and community resilience interact across diverse contexts and explore the strengths and limitations of community responses to a range of shocks and stresses and examine how external actors can build on communities’ self-organization in a complementary way, nurturing the most beneficial characteristics of volunteerism while mitigating against potential harms to the most vulnerable.

In doing so, the session will  interrogate the fundamental contribution that volunteers in every community and society are making to strengthen resilience, and highlight how Member States and their development partners (CSOs, Private Sector) can  tap into the opportunities  provided by volunteerism  to  build development responses based on inclusive, citizen and youth-led approaches to resilience-building as an alternative  and complementary  tool to State-based approaches to addressing shocks and economic /unemployment challenges.

The session will also hear the perspectives of governments, volunteers, experts, and regional view through the    2018 State of the World's Volunteerism Report, The thread that binds: volunteerism and community resilience.  The speakers include Ms. Emma Morley, Chief, Volunteer Advisory Services Section, UNV, Hon. Mohammed Bangura, Minister of Youth, Sierra Leone,  Ms. Grace Oonge, National UN Volunteer, Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, and Ms. Ngwenya Nonkululeko Prudence, Head of Division, Youth Division, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa. Mr. Njoya Tikum, UNV Regional Manager for East and Southern Africa, will moderate the panel discussion.

Kigali, Rwanda