Continuing our Volunteer Week reflections, Winrock staffer Abby Phillips shares her thoughts:
“As we celebrate National Volunteers Week, we often praise the volunteers and the great work they are doing at home and abroad. Their work is vital to their communities and to development across the globe. As a new Program Associate at Winrock International responsible for recruiting volunteers for USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer program, I have been pondering what motivates people to volunteer and what motivated me to join Winrock to recruit these individuals. I had some assumptions about the types of people that would volunteer their time to go to Southeast Asia for weeks at a time. They would have expendable free time, or may have very flexible work schedules. Although this may be the case in some instances, the majority of people that volunteer for overseas development assignments are extremely busy. Their schedules are packed because they are experts in their respective fields, but they find a way to stop their work for weeks at a time to volunteer. Why?
I know I can’t speak to each individual’s motivation to volunteer, but I think the meaning of volunteerism and why talented people decide to participate are one in the same. Volunteerism is about selflessness and a genuine desire to positively impact the society you are working within. Winrock’s volunteers are experts in their fields because they have a drive to find solutions to problems that impact agricultural and economic development. That same drive motivates them to bring those solutions to other countries to bolster their resources, which leads to greater agricultural and economic development in those areas as well. However, it is their selflessness that sets them apart from others. Many people have a desire to positively impact society, but volunteers do so by sacrificing their time at home and at their jobs to take off for countries and work situations that are very different from their own.
Volunteerism is about receiving payment in the form of a changed world view and invaluable insight from those you are working with on a volunteer project. Winrock’s volunteers are motivated to assist others and in return they receive life-changing knowledge and experiences with people of different cultures. These are the reasons why I joined Winrock. I am excited to recruit individuals who are motivated to provide technical assistance even when it isn’t convenient for them. I look forward to working with volunteers who want to make an impact, and I cannot wait to see how it impacts them.”
Are you inspired yet? -Check out http://www.winrock.org/volunteer for more info on Winrock’s volunteer programs and open opportunities around the world!