International Volunteering and Governance

This paper aims to strengthen evidence on the contributions of international development volunteerism to good governance. We highlight case examples from a variety of International Volunteer Cooperation Organisations (IVCOs) to demonstrate various ways that volunteers and IVCOs have strengthened public and private governance structures through formal and informal interventions. The conceptual framework investigates contributions of volunteerism at multiple levels of governance—from macro-level government structures and policy frameworks to micro-level personal values and normative constraints. While the intentional activities of international volunteers are described, pathways to good governance are also traced to volunteers’ relationships and socio-cultural influences. As a people-centred development approach, international volunteering has helped change informal norms and attitudes that determine how people perceive and act on governing institutions, as well as inspire direct participation in political processes that determine formal rules and laws.

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