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Going the distance to promote volunteering
10 January 2005

Chennai: Increase people's awareness on volunteering in India, says a report recently presented by Sampradaan Indian Centre for Philanthropy (SICP) in Chennai.

SICP in New Delhi, carried out a mail survey of 2000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the country and wrote case studies on 16 NGOs and 25 volunteers engaged in women and child-related activities. They study aims to understand the nature of volunteering and make it beneficial to both NGOs and volunteers.

Volunteering would become popular only if individuals realise that they can and must contribute to society, said Puspha Sundar, executive director, SCIP, while presenting the report. She recommended steps to promote volunteering by doing value-based education, media campaigns, outreach programs, building online and physical data banks of volunteer opportunities, institution of public awards for outstanding volunteer contributions, and constant encouragement by government.

She stressed the need to establish support organizations to exclusively promote, facilitate and co-ordinate volunteering in a given geographical area. Emphasizing on establishing volunteer bureaus or centres, she said they can be affiliated regionally and then nationally.

Puspha Sundar said the research showed that it was NGOs which should make efforts towards making volunteering an effective tool of social change in the country.