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Thomas Bhiri
Chares Musarurwa
Bongani Ngwenya
Wilfred Lunga
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Thomas Bhiri
Chares Musarurwa
Bongani Ngwenya
Wilfred Lunga
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Global Journal of Management and Social Science Research

Vol. 2 (2), pp. 025-046

Case Study

The effectiveness of community volunteers’ participation for the sustainability of NGO’s poverty reduction projects in Zimbabwe 

Thomas Bhiri1, Bongani Ngwenya2, Wilfred Lunga3* and Chares Musarurwa4

1Faculty of Commerce, National University of Science and Technology P O Box AC 939 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

2Human Resources Division, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, P O Box Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

3PHD student North West University African Centre for Disaster Studies Potchefstroom South Africa

4Department of Languages and Social Sciences Education, University of Botswana, Botswana

*Corresponding Author’s Emaillungawcampeon@gmail.com

Accepted 5 October, 2014

Abstract

As Non Governmental Organizations are expanding in Zimbabwe with the aim of fighting the widening poverty levels in communities and to curb HIV/AIDS pandemic, there is an increased need for volunteers to staff and support these organizations. Despite the NGOs operating under limited financial resources, they still faced the challenge of attracting and retaining effective and committed volunteers. SOS Children’s Village is no exception. Thus the main objectives of this thesis is to establish the importance of volunteers and their participation for the sustainability of NGOs poverty reduction projects; to establish the roles of volunteers in projects and their motives to volunteer; the roles that NGOs play in attracting and retaining volunteers; to establish if volunteers’ motivation, satisfaction and attitudes do have an impact in their attraction and retention; to identify the benefits of volunteering to the community as well as barriers which volunteers face when carrying out their duties. The research design of this study was descriptive, and the researcher used the questionnaires to gather the information from the target population. Questionnaires were complimented by face to face interviews and focus group discussions with 4 SOS field officers, 14 community volunteers and 28 children’s care givers being the key informants. From the questionnaires, interviews, and group discussions, it was established that community volunteers and their participation are very vital for the sustainability of NGOs’ poverty reduction projects through their various roles in poverty reduction projects. The findings also concluded that volunteers’ motives to volunteers are purely for personal satisfaction, interest in the organization, sense of accomplishment, and the desire to help others, complemented by such incentives as food packs, medical assistance, training courses, school fees for children and career opportunities which NGOs provide as part of their roles in attracting and retaining volunteers. These incentives bring about volunteers’ satisfaction and volunteers develop positive attitudes, thereby staying longer with the organizations. Furthermore, it was concluded that volunteerism benefits the community and that volunteers face many barriers during the discharge of their duties. It is therefore recommended that governments and NGOs put up policies that would allow for adequate resources to be mobilized towards the volunteers’ participation for the sustainability of NGOs poverty reduction projects. Lastly, further research on SOS projects’ children beneficiaries is recommended.

Key words: Volunteering, poverty, development, community, Zimbabwe