Volunteerism in the developmental social welfare services
Lobelo-Ratefane, Tumelo Amanda
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The main assumption that is inherent in the present study is that better utilization of volunteers will add value to the quality of life of all South Africans. The social welfare service delivery is the responsibility of the professional social workers who are either employed by the Government department of Social Development, other Government departments with related responsibilities or well established Non-Governmental organizations who are referred to as voluntary organizations in this study. The problem at hand that is being addressed by the study is : The nature and extent of volunteering which is unknown; The prevailing need for the use of volunteers and how those that are actively participating are being acknowledged and utilized; and There are no recruitment strategies to facilitate the selection, training, structuring of volunteers and supervision as well as evaluation of volunteers' service. Voluntary work is an old phenomenon, which is older than social work profession itself. It is an ancient exercise enshrined within the African cultural heritage of Botho/Ubuntu, which is within some people and need to be cultivated. There are many people who are, or would be interested and enthusiastic to be involved in voluntary work is approved and properly motivated. The present study was designed to investigate the indepth practice and extent of volunteering in the North West Province, establishing the cooperation between professional social workers and volunteers. An attempt has been made in the study to determine the areas where volunteers can be legitimately utilized and the effective measures of how to recruit, select, train and place volunteers. The study sample was drawn from four units of analysis listed below and different instruments for data collection were used in the process : Questionnaires were administered to 130 voluntary organizations drawn from the total population of North West Province; Mailed questionnaires were sent to professional social workers registered with the council, from North West and 54 responded; Telephonic interview schedule was administered to 102 respondent community members in the Province; and An experience survey was conducted which involved three case studies of organizations which are well established and known for utilizing volunteers. The descriptive research design as well as exploratory design were used in the study. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used when collecting data through administered questionnaires and during case studies. The findings indicated that there are a great number of volunteers that are unknown and those known by professional social workers but not acknowledged. Also, that there are no purposeful recruiting measures in place to facilitate the selection, training and placement of volunteers. Whilst there is an oversight of identifying and acknowledging volunteers on the side by authorities and professionals, volunteers have been discovered to be playing a major role in the sustainability of economic development in the country. Towards the end of the Apartheid era, there were non-governmental organizations established in great numbers characterized by funding of their projects and programmes from foreign institutions or local government departments. However the study revealed that there is need for more organized support and training of both volunteers and professionals empowerment and capacity-building by structures that utilize volunteers. The most significant measure for recruitment identified through the study is the establishment of a Bureau for Volunteers, a center which will recruit, select, train, place volunteers and coordinate their services. It is recommended that the Bureau should operate from National level under the Department of Social Development whilst its branches cascade down to the provincial departments of social services. Advanced training of both volunteers and professionals is recommended as a most powerful machinery for sustaining voluntary service. Community Liaison Officers presently responsible for Provincial Social development departmental programmes would serve as link between volunteers and professionals, to add value to the present noble service of volunteers. Recommendations and suggestions for further research are made.
- Health Sciences