2 November 2019
Shehara Ratnasinghe is a management graduate from Kotelawala Defense University with an HR background who is currently working as an Operations Support Assistant attached to UNV. She is passionate about building up partnerships and hopes to pursue a career in the international relations. Her goal in life is to serve the society she lives in
Inclusivity in Volunteerism- (women in volunteering)
Inclusivity is the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized in the society due to several factors such as those who have physical or mental disabilities, members of minority groups based on religious or racial differences, gender, children, lack of sanitary facilities, unemployment etc.
‘Leaving no-one behind’ is the main concept behind inclusivity in volunteering as this social integration will be the base to create a society for all. As volunteerism is a universal concept which is available to all the societal groups such as women and children all over the country. Groups like women all over the world are able to contribute in several ways for the field pf volunteering as very one has something to contribute to the society that they live in. This will provide them to work and engage in their fullest capacity with the usage of their maximum skills in order to play different, uplifted roles in their day to day activities. By way of this, it can also potentially address several inequalities faced by many groups or individuals who are discriminated all over the world.
The empowerment of women and girls has been identified as one of the main promoters of social inclusion in volunteering. The UN Population Fund specifically articulates women’s empowerment as: women’s sense of self-worth; their right to have and determine several choices in life; their right to have access to several opportunities and resources; their right to control their own lives without the influence of any other; and finally, their ability to influence the direction of social change. This elaborated that volunteering will empower the day today gender roles while proving them access to all social networks prevailing in many societal strata and several other opportunities to expand women’s life choices. Therefore, in Sri Lanka’s context these marginalized communities should be involved in volunteering in serving our own marginalized communities as there is a higher possibility of them reaching out to more vulnerable groups within the island.
Volunteerism has contributed to the social inclusion of women by opening access to opportunities and resources that notably improve their physical and mental wellbeing as well. In Nepal, one volunteer program has been carried out as a mechanism for social inclusion for both the female volunteer service providers and the recipients of those services mainly. This could be used in Sri Lankan as well to bring out more female participation in volunteer activities. In a setting where multiple gender norms place women at a disadvantage within the country and where government capacity regarding that is limited and it could be possible, and which relates to the current Sri Lankan context broadly. Volunteering activities related to maternal and infant health care services and women sanitary care facilities can be the fields that more women could be engaged. The counselling volunteering fields also could be improved along those pathways with related to women. As females are more attracted to the community aspect of volunteering and making it happen together as one, more social barriers could be avoided and through that, this concept could be promoted within the country more.
Inclusivity in Volunteerism- (children in volunteering)
When children are included in volunteering acts, that can give a major impact to the society as a whole, which will allow everyone to witness the real-world issues. This can be benefiting in both ways in a world where many children have no concept of their good fortune to live in comfortable homes. A wealth of studies show just how valuable contributing to causes can be for kids and eventually for the rest of the community. In order to initiate and continue this, the schools all over the country should be focused and through those the needed foundation can be provided.
The parents of the focused group of children should be addressed as they in order to initiate opportunities for children and teens to devote their own time, energy, and creativity to provide service to their local community as the volunteering organizations need, socially conscious and motivated volunteers. Parents and teachers could initiate discussions with the focused group of children to figure out how young people can transfer their leanings into volunteering activities with the intention of giving a service back to the society. Further in the Sri Lankan context more societies and clubs could be introduced to school children and those can be used as catalysts for volunteering and fundraising.
Local family units too can be approached in developing and promoting this concept which will increase a child’s natural interest in social causes prevailing in the society. That will in turn make the youngsters grow up with work of their own which exhibits improved self-confidence, empathy towards others and time management skills. A community does not build itself; that duty belongs to the society itself, especially young people who are excited to enhance their surroundings by contributing their own time and dedication.
The country still has a low standard of living, with much of the country living in poverty including the younger generation. This causes many children to be left uncared for adequately and large number of government and private organizations need volunteers to help provide services to marginalized groups including children.