Volunteers as Enablers or Disablers of Community Development in Chegutu District, Zimbabwe
Keywords:volunteers, community development, Chegutu
This paper analyses the potential contributions of volunteers to community development. Little is known about the contribution of volunteers to community development although almost every non-governmental organisation in Zimbabwe relies on volunteers. This research used a qualitative approach with in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and focus group discussions to collect data from community volunteers, officials of non-governmental organisations, and government officials. Community volunteers play an important role in driving and sustaining community development. The researcher established that volunteers act as an intermediary between the community and non-governmental organisations. Moreover, activities like the targeting of beneficiaries and the implementation of activities are unthinkable without the involvement of volunteers. Despite volunteers’ importance, there are serious drawbacks that influence the effective contribution of volunteers to community development. Volunteers disable community development through corruption, polarisation, falsifying reports and a lethargic approach to work. These drawbacks contradict the ubuntu value system that underlines the concept of volunteerism. Some of the drawbacks can be rectified by incentivising community volunteers, and by recruiting volunteers with acceptable levels of literacy.