Benevolence Eases the Inflationary Burden

Nov 12 , 2022
By Million F. Wondmagegnehu

The world of voluntarism - or the act of benevolence - is a unique form of a social network with an advantage to a community. It allows volunteers to form strong bonds and social networks. Small acts of kindness make a real difference. Dedicating time to volunteer work helps to expand network, boost social skills, learn from others and make new friends. It is also unpaid labour to conduct community services or support a nonprofit organisation, an activity undertaken of free will to benefit a community.

Ethiopia has a socially networked people. Living in harmony and cooperation under the social umbrella is not new. The traditional gatherings such as Idir, Equb and traditional conflict resolution methods result from the principle of volunteerism.

Volunteerism has a multitude of contributions to socioeconomic and political development if guided by a robust legal framework. A report by the United Nations on human development highlighted that globally one billion people are estimated to volunteer, actively making contributions worth 2.4pc of the global GDP. Figures reported by institutions working in the area could be taken as witnesses to the economy of Ethiopia. Some activities broadcasted through the media showed individuals from the private sector engaged in voluntary services to help the needy.

It is not unusual to observe international volunteers, such as medical professionals, providing patient services here. Likewise, university students are engaged in various areas during summers, such as tutoring and building houses for the elderly. High school students helping the traffic system in the capital is a common view. All these reveal the paramount role in easing the economic burden. Hence, volunteerism is one of the mechanisms to respond to the adverse influence of inflation on the economy.

Even though there is a conducive environment to promote the economic contributions of volunteerism, the areas of limitations have to be considered. The volunteerism management system has been characterised by the need to cultivate opportunities, and there should be support and retention of volunteers. Nevertheless, formal volunteer services have been forgotten for years in this country, and there has not been an autonomous institution with legal personality to undertake the responsibilities. Observing separate institutions working on the program is not deniable.

The absence of a policy that guides volunteerism undermines its enormous contributions. Formulating a legal framework with timely monitoring and evaluation calls for an immediate response. There should be an index to measure the contributions of a volunteer. Political commitment by the leadership towards the volunteerism management system will realise the significant economic contributions to the community.

Policymakers should consider integrating the service with corporate social responsibility to achieve the best result. It also needs to allocate an adequate budget as volunteerism is a "no-cost" service. Most importantly, recognising the volunteers uplifts morale, inspires others, and guarantees its sustainability.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 12,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1176]

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