This year marks the 25th year since the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) began its Volunteer Cooperation programme to contribute to positive and sustainable development in Asia as Singaporean volunteers work alongside their counterparts overseas to share expertise and effect change, while fostering greater intercultural understanding.
We believe research informs policy and practice and this report, in a series of studies by the SIF, demonstrates our commitment to continuously improve and innovate in the practice of volunteer-driven development. This study centres on volunteer contributions to capacity building for SDG 3 (Good Health & Well-Being), as well as the value-add of international volunteering as a people-centred development approach. It also considers how volunteer programmes can support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 17 which highlights the value of global partnerships as a modality for sustainable development.
As a member of the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum), the SIF also wanted to support the Forum-Tokyo Call to Action in 2015, where 75 organisations involved in volunteering agreed to measure, document and communicate the impact of volunteerism in achieving the new global goals for sustainable development.
This report is our third study in a series of papers on the contributions of international volunteers in Asia. In 2010, the SIF and Forum commissioned a paper on “Innovation and Challenges in International Volunteerism and Development: An Asian Perspective” that highlighted emerging perspectives and challenges in international volunteerism in Asia. In 2012, a second study explored the possibility of “Creating Sustainable Impact through Short Term-Volunteering in Asia” and established the effectiveness of SIF’s model of short-stint specialist volunteering in strengthening healthcare capacity in Southeast Asia.
We would like to thank Dr Benjamin Lough for his time and talent in conceptualising, designing and conducting this study. We are also grateful to our programme partners in India and Indonesia, and our volunteers for their support and participation in this research.
In addition to inspiring change to programme design for better outcomes, the findings have also spurred more conceptual considerations in improving policy and practice at the SIF. For our readers, we hope reflecting on this study will also shape new ideas and spark action for positive change and partnerships.
Executive Director, SIF