VOLUNTEERISM: GIFT OF HEART AND HAND
Wango Chaulo Wango
The portfolio is a reflection of the experience obtained during 100 hours at Jamii Empowerment Initiative (JEI), The NGO of Kanisa la Mennonite Tanzania - Eastern Diocese (KMT-ED).
It is in fulfillment of the requirements for the Masters Degree module on Working in the Third Sector.
This is a reflective portfolio of the placement secured at Jamii Empowerment Initiative (JEI) in Dar es Salaam. JEI is a development arm of Kanisa la Mennonite Tanzania – Eastern Diocese which has its goal in reducing poverty through economic empowerment, increasing agricultural productivity, public health, provision of educational facilities and environmental management. During my placement at JEI I managed to go through a practical experience of what I have been learning in the previous modules and see if they work in a real word. At JEI I was able to engage in day-to-day activities of the organizations as I was assigned to work as a program officervolunteer supervised by the coordinator. Having been working as a program officer-volunteer at JEI I was able to establish a very good practical experience of working in the third sector based on two things. Firstly, I was able to provide some inputs in the institutional capacity building since JEI is a newly established NGO that has not yet fully taken off. Secondly, I managed to pay several visits to the nearby communities and facilitated dialogues on issues of economic empowerment. As a result, the placement has given me an opportunity to consolidate the acquired knowledge. The purpose of this paper is centrally aiming at giving a reflection of placement at JEI as a fulfillment of Working in a Third Sector module. While placement was voluntary based, it goes hand in hand with looking at volunteerism in the third sector while in my view I see it as “gifts of heart and hand”, and significantly the views are basing on a faith point of view. Although, the position of Faith based institutions in development has not been given its due appreciation due to the opinions of assumptions held that these institutions are dealing primarily with the spiritual matter and not more than that, it is too noted that faith Based institutions have
turned to be very significant in development field. As well this paper ends by looking at economic empowerment through Village Savings and Loan Association implemented by JEI as a capacity building gifts given to people while transforming their lives to a better living condition, in addition.
“Kujitolea” is a Swahili word to mean volunteerism. In a development discourse, volunteerism has come to be of very great deal in the field due to the outstanding remarkable contribution that it has brought in transforming thousands of lives of the poor people in societies. Generally, volunteerism is viewed differently; this depends on the field of study. There are some scholars who see it as a ‘puzzle’ while others think of it as a ‘natural part of life’ (Handy and Hustinx). Those who see it as a puzzle, do criticize the reasonableness of volunteers to spend their valuable time for nothing in return whereas those who see it as part of life consider it as a way to help the people in need (ibid).
To take the supporting side, volunteering, though questioned by anti-volunteerism theorist, seem to be rewarding line of business in the sense that volunteers have been found out to be more satisfied in life than non-volunteers (Meier and Stutzer 2008) at the same time as significant contribution is being made in the “smoother running of society” and “well being” of the people (Hankinson and Rochester 2005). There is no doubt that value and popularity in the volunteerism is increasing considerably due to the life satisfaction gained and the worth mentioning role being played and contribution made by the volunteer across the world. In Tanzania volunteering is a long time...
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