In one of the most comprehensive studies of volunteering in Eastern Europe, the UNV has published the snappily named report ‘Understanding Volunteerism for Development in South-Eastern Europe and the CIS’. The report analyses the state of volunteering in the region and discusses how to better promote it in the future. In an interesting review of the historical legacy of socialism, the study finds that the Soviet years had a ‘mixed’ effect on the areas volunteering culture. Volunteering, however voluntary it actually was, was widespread in the USSR and its forms and practises continue to influence the way in which people perceive volunteerism today. Many people have warm recollections of Soviet-era volunteering, whilst some view its often forced nature in a far more negative light. In the post-Soviet-era many of the countries studied had recently experienced internal tension and war. Unemployment is also widespread across much of the region and, in a passage that may seem familar to UK readers, the report details how volunteerism can help:

In the context of mass unemployment, volunteering can offer a unique opportunity to break out of the conundrum of ‘no job without experience; no experience without a job‘. Substantial numbers of people,especially young adults, travel within the Region and abroad to seek employment. Effective planning must consider how best to engage them to encourage human-centred development through volunteerism.

The report finds widespread differences in levels of volunteering across the region; with Albania, Moldova and Macedonia having the highest levels, and the Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus having the lowest levels. It also finds large regional differences in norms of volunteering and attitudes towards volunteerism. Overall, the importance of targeting volunteer development to cater for these country-specific differences runs as a theme through the whole study.

The full report can be found here and a summary of the report can be found here. I, of course, read the full version 😉

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One Comment to “доброволец!”

  1. you’ve got great post here, keep ’em coming.

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