What is community volunteering?


This infographic illustrates examples of community volunteering in Puerto Yumani, Bolivia as visualized by UNV SWVR researchers Jimena Cazzaniga and Maria Fernanda Guzman. 

1. Community volunteerism is a type of volunteering deeply rooted in the traditions of the community which arises in a context of necessity and a lack of services. In Puerto Yumani, an indigenous community in the Amazonian region of Bolivia, the community is organised around a Directorium, led by the President, followed by a Vicepresident, Secretary, Chief of the Committee of Water, etc. These positions are voted secretly every two years.


2. These elected people perform “organised activities” such as acting as intermediaries between the community and the municipality requesting services on the community’s interest.


3.  But in Puerto Yumani there are also many “spontaneous activities” performed by the community members such as women cooking for everyone after the floods,





4. Or the whole community leading a blockade towards a private company defending the community’s interests.




5. According to the words of the community members interviewed, they do all these activities without any remuneration, for many different reasons: solidarity, trust, commitment…but also obligation. In principle, people can be sanctioned with a fine if they regret doing these activities. However this was not pointed out as the main motivation. At the end of the day, community members are sure that if they do not do these efforts, the community, as well as many of its “achievements” or “advances”, would not exist.