Honors: All College Participants

Title

Volunteerism or Voluntourism? A Case Study of NGO Involvement in South Africa

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Youth & Nonprofit Leadership and International Studies

Minor

N/A

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Choong-Nam Kang, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

As history has demonstrated time and time again, often the most well-intentioned actions can have unintended negative consequences. This can often be the case concerning international voluntary service (IVS). This paper studies the motivations for development and relief non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to send volunteers abroad, and the ways in which volunteer-sending NGOs are able to use IVS in order to successfully and ethically impact development in a foreign country. Many scholars have argued that the recent surge of international volunteerism, in some way, exudes imperialism, perpetuates a Western savior complex, and magnifies inequalities; rather than reduce them. Others describe the possible benefits from international volunteering, such as enhanced cultural competency and increased empathy and understanding for others, which could lead to greater awareness and advocacy efforts in the future. By using a case study of two international development and relief NGOs’ (Habitat for Humanity and Doctors Without Borders) work in South Africa, this paper aims to study ethical dilemmas regarding the most common motivations and expectations for volunteering abroad, and factors of success regarding international NGOs’ development work abroad. This paper will propose strategic methods that individual volunteers and their sending organizations can utilize in order to ensure that IVS leaves behind more of a benefit than a burden in a community, and that IVS actually benefits the communities in which volunteers dedicate their time to serve.

Location

Classroom 211, Waterfield Library

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Affiliations

Honors Thesis, Nonprofit Leadership Studies

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Nov 16th, 9:00 AM Nov 6th, 12:30 PM

Volunteerism or Voluntourism? A Case Study of NGO Involvement in South Africa

Classroom 211, Waterfield Library

As history has demonstrated time and time again, often the most well-intentioned actions can have unintended negative consequences. This can often be the case concerning international voluntary service (IVS). This paper studies the motivations for development and relief non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to send volunteers abroad, and the ways in which volunteer-sending NGOs are able to use IVS in order to successfully and ethically impact development in a foreign country. Many scholars have argued that the recent surge of international volunteerism, in some way, exudes imperialism, perpetuates a Western savior complex, and magnifies inequalities; rather than reduce them. Others describe the possible benefits from international volunteering, such as enhanced cultural competency and increased empathy and understanding for others, which could lead to greater awareness and advocacy efforts in the future. By using a case study of two international development and relief NGOs’ (Habitat for Humanity and Doctors Without Borders) work in South Africa, this paper aims to study ethical dilemmas regarding the most common motivations and expectations for volunteering abroad, and factors of success regarding international NGOs’ development work abroad. This paper will propose strategic methods that individual volunteers and their sending organizations can utilize in order to ensure that IVS leaves behind more of a benefit than a burden in a community, and that IVS actually benefits the communities in which volunteers dedicate their time to serve.