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State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2018

The Thread that Binds - Volunteerism and Community Resilience

image of State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2018

This publication presents new evidence on the role of volunteerism in strengthening community resilience. It finds that communities value volunteerism because it enables them to create collective strategies for dealing with diverse economic, social and environmental challenges.

English Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French

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"It has to be us": Local volunteerism in communities under strain

The battle for resilience will be won or lost with communities. Drawing on original field research and secondary sources, this chapter investigates how the distinctive characteristics of local volunteerism, particularly the ability to build relationships and self-organize, expand or diminish communities’ capacities to cope with shocks and stresses. Volunteerism is a principal mechanism through which individuals and households connect and organize with others as part of a resilient system. The relational qualities of volunteerism shape options and opportunities for managing risk, particularly in the most isolated contexts. Yet because volunteerism is based on human relationships, it has its own challenges rooted in local power structures and social inequalities. Exploring these distinctive characteristics of voluntary action illustrates the strengths and limitations of local volunteerism in bolstering community resilience.

English Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French

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