A New Dawn for Volunteering in Development Collected Research and Think Pieces for IVCO 2022

This collection brings together the research that was prepared by Forum in advance of the IVCO 2022 conference on the theme ‘A New Dawn for Volunteering in Development’. It includes a Framing Paper and Report for Forum Members based on the collective strategy process led by Nick Ockenden, as well as thirteen shorter ‘think pieces’.

IVCO 2022 marked an important moment for the volunteering sector. As we emerge from three years of COVID-imposed restrictions, the theme ‘A New Dawn for Volunteering in Development’ gave us a lens through which to explore what we have learned, how we have innovated, what the new normal might look like, what we have allowed to fall out of focus, and what comes next. Conversations at IVCO 2022 covered a wide range of issues, including COVID as a catalyst for change and the need to continually innovate, decolonising our practice, diversifying and blending different models of volunteering, and doing more to address climate change. These conversations were framed and informed by the papers in this collection, which includes a framing paper and thirteen short ‘think pieces’.

The framing paper is Nick Ockenden’s outstanding A New Dawn – Strategic Pathways for the Future of Volunteering in Development. Drawing on a collective strategy process carried out with Forum’s members and the wider volunteering community, the paper sets out the challenges and opportunities facing our sector in the coming years, and offers pathways to help organisations prioritise and effectively navigate the post-COVID environment.

In the think pieces, leading voices from across our sector address the IVCO theme from thirteen distinct perspectives. To highlight just a few, Dr. Rebecca Tiessen of the University of Ottawa re-examines the concepts of prosperity and flourishing and asks what they mean for volunteering in development. In a challenging piece, Ratherford Mwaruta of the Zimbabwe Workcamps Association asserts that international volunteering echoes the relationships and power dynamics of coloniser and colonised while failing to address the root causes of poverty and inequality. In a similar vein, Dr. Alice Chadwick El and Samuel Turay identify a gap between rhetoric and reality on decolonisation and localisation, and call on us to centre Southern expertise and re-imagine the connection between volunteering and development. The Peace Corps’ Agnes Lam and Kris Besch share the ‘ingredient list’ of core attributes that the Peace Corps has identified as essential to their work, Dr. Cliff Allum and colleagues ask whether we are responding to the call for urgent action on climate change, and Helge Espe of Norec asks whether partnership is ‘just another buzzword’.

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