What is Volunteering?
We define volunteering as any unpaid activity that involves spending time to doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives. The key defining element of volunteering is that it must be a choice freely made by each individual. This can include formal activity undertaken through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation.
Volunteering and Mentoring:
be a Volunteer!
There is a disturbing level of unemployment in our country at the moment. With Nigeria forecast to be one of the leading global economies in the next decade, this needs to be addressed if the full potential of the country is to be achieved. Sixty-four million Nigerians are between the ages of 15 and 28 with 54% of them unemployed. Worryingly, the majority of this 54% have college degrees but are critically unemployable. There is therefore a gap in the market to offer employment support to this teeming youth group who are chronically unemployed/unemployable.
There is a need for some strategic intervention to support these restive youths with the relevant and necessary employment aid to get them on the job ladder. Nigeria is sitting on a nest egg waiting to be harnessed and if not, it could turn to a powder keg situation, waiting to explode. It depends on how we respond to this group of Nigerians’ needs.
Below are some of the reasons people choose to volunteer. For some it provides an opportunity to:
- Give something back to an organisation that has impacted on a person’s life, either directly or indirectly
- Make a difference to the lives of others
- Help the environment
- Help others less fortunate or without a voice
- Feel valued and part of a team
- Spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
- Gain confidence and self-esteem
- For some, volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change. From this perspective, volunteering can be a way of:
- Gaining new skills, knowledge and experience
- Developing existing skills and knowledge
- Enhancing a CV
- Improving one’s employment prospects
- Gaining an accreditation
- Using one’s professional skills and knowledge to benefit others (usually described as pro bono)
- For others, volunteering appeals because of its social benefits. These include:
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- A chance to socialise
- Getting to know the local community
Why should I volunteer?
Thousands of Nigerians volunteer through their churches, mosques and community organisations. People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others, it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding. Usually at the heart of volunteering is altruism.
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