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"Volunteering Together: Blending Knowledge and Skills for Development" - Uganda Case Study

Below you can find information about the case study carried out in Uganda. Read our full case study report, as well as the Q&A with the lead in-country researcher. 


Uganda Country Report: You can read and download the Uganda Case Study Report here

To cite this report: Baillie Smith, M., Jenkins, K., Okech, M., Adong, C., Angaun, M. G., Boudewijn, I., Fadel, B., & Gibby, P. (2022). Volunteering Together: Blending Knowledge and Skills for Development, VSO Uganda Case Study Report. Northumbria University/VSO.    


Questions & Answers with the Lead In-Country Researcher: Dr Moses Okech













Tell us a bit about yourself and the research team and where you work? 

I am a Political Economist by training and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Uganda Martyrs University, in Uganda. I have worked in the field of international development for about 15 years, mostly on financial inclusion for rural communities and livelihood programming in the context of refugee emergencies, as well as volunteering amonst refugee communities. I worked as the Lead In-Country Researcher for the Uganda case study on the VSO Volunteering Together project alongside Christine Adong and Gina Mary Angaun who are researchers with previous relevant experience in community development in the districts of Gulu (Acholi sub-region); and Moroto and Napak (Karamoja sub-region), respectively. 


What did you do as part of the VSO Volunteering Together project?  

My task alongside my team included refining the research data collection processes to make sure they were adequate to the context of Uganda, as well as conducting data collection through participatory workshops and key informant interviews of volunteers and other stakeholders from VSO’s projects in the selected research districts (Gulu, Moroto and Napak). Overall, we have also provided contextual guidance to the UK-based Northumbria University research team and supported the research analysis and writing-up. 


What were the most interesting things that the research team found on the VSO research project? 

The VSO research project was quite exciting in a number of ways: first, it was very interesting to highlight how different types of volunteers developed common objectives and approaches to local challenges despite their diverse backgrounds and experiences. This presented a new dimension to the understanding of volunteering trajectories. Second, there was a very strong interest from past volunteers to continue engaging with VSO and sharing their experiences despite their busy schedules. This clearly demonstrated how they valued their volunteering and how they remained committed to it. 


Are there connections between what you found out as part of the VSO Volunteering Together project, and the other research that you do? 

I found a curious connection between the VSO Volunteering Together project and the Refugee Youth Volunteering Uganda (RYVU) project regarding the dual theme of volunteering as a pathway to employability and in some aspects, as employment in itself. This was highlighted in a number of interviews especially with national and local volunteers. 


What should future research on volunteering explore? 

I think future volunteering research should focus more on exploring the changing perceptions towards volunteering through generational lenses. This could be operationalised via longitudinal studies to understand long-term impacts of volunteering on individuals and how perceptions are shaped in the process.


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