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Volunteering Together: Blending Knowledge and Skills for Development

Staff at the Centre for Global Development at Northumbria have developed a number of research collaborations with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). VSO is a thought-leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight global poverty.

The research project "Volunteering Together: Blending Knowledge and Skills for Development"  focused on understanding the concept and practice of blended volunteering. This collaborative research took place between 2020 and 2022, exploring how different types of volunteering come together, how different combinations of volunteers may work in different sorts of ways, and what kinds of impacts and outputs this produces, and for whom. In order to understand the roles and potential of blended volunteering for VSO’s programming and beyond, three case study countries were selected: Tanzania; Uganda; and Nepal.

The research was led by Prof Matt Baillie Smith and Prof Katy Jenkins; the UK-based research team was also formed by Dr Inge BoudewijnDr Bianca Fadel and Dr Philip Gibby. Research in each country was led by local partners, whose expertise has been critical to developing an understanding of the different contexts in which blended volunteering takes place:

Dr Egidius Kamanyi, Tanzania

Dr Egidius Kamanyi led the blended volunteering research in Tanzania. He is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His areas of teaching and research expertise include: Social Theory, Research Methods, Medical Sociology and Anthropology, Disaster management, Community development, Gender, and Natural resource management.

Dr Moses Okech, Uganda

Dr Moses Okech led the blended volunteering research in Uganda, working in collaboration with Christine Adong and Gina Mary Angaun. Moses is an international development professional with significant experience in research, lecturing and livelihoods programming, including expert knowledge of volunteering. He holds a PhD in Political Economy of Development from Leeds Beckett University and has worked as a consultant for numerous international organisations such as the World Bank and the Overseas Development Institute.

Dr Jeevan Baniya, Nepal

Dr Jeevan Baniya is the Assistant Director at Social Sciences Baha (SSB), an independent, non-profit organisation that led the blended volunteering research in Nepal. Jeevan worked in collaboration with Preshika Baskota, Sita Mademba and Rajendra Sharma. Established in 2002, the objective of SSB is to promote and enhance research into social sciences in Nepal. Jeevan and his team have a strong record in community development research and extensive experience of collaborating with national and international academic institutions and development actors. 


To find out more about the project and key findings, you can read our final report in the link below:

To cite this report: Baillie Smith, M., Jenkins, K., Adong, C., Anguan, G., Baniya, J., Baskota, P., Boudewijn, I., Fadel, B., Gibby, P., Kamanyi, E., Mademba, S., Okech, M., and Sharma, R. (2022). Volunteering Together: Blending Knowledge and Skills for Development. Northumbria University/VSO.


You can access our research executive summary and briefing paper in the links below:


You can access this link to watch/listen to the podcast about blended volunteering as part of the ‘Future Economies start with Youth’ podcast series by the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE), with the participation of Dr Inge Boudewijn.


The three case study reports alongside more information about the research team in each location can be found in the respective pages below:

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