Volume 46 Number 5
Published: September 3, 2015
The global action research project Valuing Volunteering explores how and why volunteering contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable positive change, and the factors that prevent it doing so. The research modelled an approach that empowered local people to better understand the challenges they face, acquiring valuable learning for volunteering for development organisations to design initiatives better able to alleviate poverty. Volunteers were at the centre of the participatory action research processes established within each of the four Valuing Volunteering countries (Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and the Philippines). This article explores how volunteers used participatory approaches to help communities achieve lasting social change and alleviate poverty. Examples from the four countries show the benefits of using participatory approaches, and the advantages of specific participatory tools, such as system mapping. Valuing Volunteering shows both what volunteers can achieve through using a participatory approach and participatory methods, and what can be learnt from the challenges faced.