Measuring Volunteerism in civic engagement

International Volunteering in its current form can be traced back the best part of 100 years and certainly its contemporary models are clearly recognizable in the initiatives of the 1950s and 1960s. It is interesting to ask whether in those earlier years the measurement of international volunteering was an issue. One caricature of the life of International Volunteers in the past suggested they were sent off into pastures new for two years in the hope they would do something useful and gain some benefit. The watchword – or phrase – might have been “do no harm”, which contains the appreciation that external interventions can have negative consequences no matter how well intentioned they might be. However, the idea that international volunteering was important and, in principle, beneficial appears to have held sway.

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