Volunteering Experts Convened in Germany to Increase Community Resilience

Experts on Volunteering convened at the Conference for International Volunteer Cooperation Organizations this month at the United Nations Campus in Bonn, Germany.

The conference theme was increasing the resilience of communities through volunteering. A key focus was on how volunteers can help communities adapt to shocks and stresses through improved management of disaster risks and the mitigation of climate change. The conference followed a recent scholarly focus on volunteering as a “means of implementation” to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Benjamin Lough, PhD, faculty director of International Service for the Center for Social Development (CSD), presented findings from the study “Global Partners for Sustainable Development: The Added Value of Singapore International Foundation (SIF) Volunteers,” which suggest that international volunteering is particularly well-suited to achieve capacity-building and partnership-building aspirations.

He also presented initial findings from the project “Effective Practices in International Volunteering,” funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and based on survey responses from nearly 300 partner organizations in 68 countries.

The conference was organized in partnership by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum).

Both SIF and CSD are members of Forum, which aims to understand the value of volunteering for development through policy engagement, mutual learning and the sharing of innovative and effective practices.

Working with other partners in Singapore, Dr. Lough played a key role at theWorkshop on Development Partnerships: The Role of International Volunteering that took place at National University of Singapore in December 2015, co-sponsored by the Next Age Institute at Washington University in St. Louis.