Volunteerism as a societal norm can take many forms, from informal support networks to intensive commitments of time through formal service programs.
Voluntary Aid’ facilitates service programs and roles that create opportunities for citizens’ active engagement in public services, humanitarian services and service-learning careers. In facilitating these programs, we provide information that expands access to participation, bolsters the capacity of the server, and enhances the service experience for the server and the served.
Our civic service programs connects individuals to a structure, which interacts with the educational, social, economic, and political environment to create change. In creating these structures, we build linkages and develop partnerships with recipient communities and institutions, in establishing roles for the individual or service providers, and expectations about where, when, how, and why the role should be performed.
Service is not a new phenomenon. Individuals have willingly served their neighbors, rural communities and fellow humans since the beginning of human societies. Service has been performed in the interest of country, faith, and humanitarianism. It has diverse motivations, and has taken many forms through the years in many different cultural contexts; where common views and discourse have referred to such actions as volunteerism.
Civic service connotes public action and public benefit. Across civic service programs, the individual is performing an action that is presumably of benefit to some group or cause; and the action is performed in the spirit of improving the living conditions or general welfare of citizens, directly or indirectly.
Voluntary Aid’ implements a framework of civic engagement by building new constituencies of stakeholders, focus group alliances and professional networks, towards mobilizing and strengthening their advocacy spaces to dialogue with, demand from, contribute to, and engage with the government.
Under representation of citizens-led groups in the government have caused significant issues faced by such groups; and also, posing challenges that affect the outcome and sustainability of government programs, projects and policies. It is against this backdrop that we facilitate measures through strategic plans to ensure that citizens, with focus on young people and women, are meaningfully involved in institutionalized political processes, economic opportunities and community organizing; which is essential to building civic resilience and opening spaces for their inclusion and participation in the polity.
Our work in leading fresh perspectives and innovative ideas on civic engagement is progressively serving as an impetus for dialogue and action; and objectively building a basis for policy discussions around youth and women engagement in civic affairs.
In order to ensure that citizens are able to participate fully and effectively in all aspects of the societies in which they live, we take leverage on digital innovations as effective means to strengthen open dialogue, amplify citizen voices, demonstrate fiscal transparency, promote electronic voting and making the civic space accessible and open for citizens to find the services and information they need to thrive.
Voluntary Aid’ works to empower people to engage politically, prosper economically, and thrive socially. Our civic empowerment approach focuses on building the capacities of citizens with preference to (young people and women groups) to develop innovative solutions towards the co-creation, co-delivery and co-utilization of public services in their local communities.
Today, infrastructure innovators are using real-time road quality data to create micro-contracts for community-led road repairs, helping millions of people access paved roads while creating jobs and lowering the cost of repairs.
In Africa, where half of government spending goes toward contracts, tools like the African Partner Pool have opened opportunities to SMEs; and since its launch, the platform has provided USD $15 million worth of tenders for more than 800 SMEs. Also, solutions like Open Contracting, has helped in opening up opportunities to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) while maintaining transparency and accountability of projects.
However, in the face of shrinking civic space and sparse public services, we believe that empowering citizens involves opportunities that grant citizens access to initiate, own and manage public services and projects, hold leaders accountable and also exercise their civic freedoms. Hence, citizens need to overcome significant barriers to collective action through community organizing strategies that promote citizen-state development practices and relations.