Voluntary Service

Tek Nath Dhakal's picture

Strategy for Mobilizing Volunteers in Development in Nepal: Prospects and Challenges

The use of volunteers in development and service delivery in an organized form is a modern concept, however, the practice of volunteerism in the society has been found since times immemorial. The traditional mode of voluntarism in Nepal was mostly based on personal relations and was also a felt need due to the lack of and/or the weak presence of the state to deliver basic services to the people particularly at the local level. In addition, the reciprocity of voluntary support and the contribution was also very much influenced by the religious feeling and the cultural practices. In Nepal, National Planning Commission (NPC) has initiated to mobilization of volun-teers through its National Development Volunteers Service (NDVS) program in development through various local level organizations such as District Development Committees, Health Posts, Agriculture service office, and the Animal Health Service including local academic institutions for the last fifteen years. In this context, query arises whether the NDVS program proves to be an appropriate strategy in Development and delivery of services in Nepal. This study reviews the implementation status of NDVS program and discusses with the volunteers and NDVS unit of the NPC to substantiate factual information. The study found that there was a high demand of such volunteers from the recipient organizations to substantiate the shortage of technical human resources in those local level organizations. It was also found quite important to build enthusiasm of volunteerism among the potential volunteers. The experience of such voluntary works also found to be helpful to the volunteers for skill development through practical learning, motivation to offer voluntary services, and useful for getting future career jobs. However, the NPC has been facing the challenge of sustainability of such schemes and retention of volunteers particularly the technical human resources due to the financial constraints, at least, to provide basic level of survival benefits to the volunteers.
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