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International Volunteer Day 2021

3rd December 2021

Sunday 5 December is the United Nations' International Volunteer Day 2021, and this year the theme is ‘volunteer now for our common future’.

Caption: The United Nations' International Volunteer Day 2021 is on Sunday 5 December.The day aims to celebrate the tireless efforts and contributions of the millions of volunteers across the globe who, every day, dedicate their time and efforts to ensuring the inclusion of individuals and communities who are often left behind.

To mark the occasion, researchers at Northumbria’s Centre for International Development have released the first in a series of briefing papers about how their collaborative research with the NGO Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), is helping us understand how volunteers come together to create change. You can read more about the research and the briefing paper over on the University newsroom.

The Northumbria University Centre for International Development is a recognised centre of global excellence for research on volunteering and its role in tackling global challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, more than ever, the valuable role that volunteers play across the world. Through their work, researchers at Northumbria shine a spotlight on why those who give their knowledge and support so freely, should never be taken for granted.

Collaborations between academics and leading global volunteering organisations such as VSO, are helping policy makers, practitioners, volunteers and academics to understand how volunteering is changing. Working with VSO, a team of six Northumbria staff, including project co-directors Professor Katy Jenkins and Professor Matt Baillie Smith, are investigating the interactions between different types of volunteers working together, by chance or design, and how these interactions may improve development outcomes for communities.

In the build up to this year’s International Volunteer Day, we have used regular website and social media posts to showcase some of the research projects taking place at Northumbria which explore the role of volunteering.

The Refugee Youth Volunteering Uganda (RYVU) project examines the kinds of voluntary labour practiced by young refugees and investigates if and how, through volunteering, they are able to gain employable skills. The project is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council/Global Challenges Research Fund and led by Professor Matt Baillie Smith in collaboration with academics at Loughborough University (UK), Uganda Martyrs University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (Uganda), and with local NGOs and youth refugees themselves.

You can find out more about the project, the team and access publications, blog posts, videos and more by visiting the dedicated project website.

The Volunteering in Conflicts and Emergencies (ViCE) Hub is led by the Swedish Red Cross in Partnership with Northumbria’s Centre for International Development.

The ViCE Hub works to increase recognition, understanding and support of the key roles volunteers play in conflicts and emergencies.

To find out more about the ViCE Hub visit the project website.

Bianca Fadel, a Research Fellow at Northumbria, has already dedicated 15 years to volunteering and currently works with colleagues across disciplines as part of Northumbria’s Centre for International Development, on research projects which engage with different aspects of volunteering and community development.

Her current work explores identity and belonging in local volunteering experiences during protracted crises, particularly in the case of Burundi, in East Africa. Here, she tells us more about herself and her latest research.

A new Northumbria web page has also been developed in time for International Volunteer Day, to bring together information about the University’s key projects, as well as the aims and objectives, in one place.

Find out more here about International Volunteer Day 2021.


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