An analysis of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index 2008-2011 findings on volunteerism
The recently completed 2008-2011 CIVICUS Civil Society Index, a comprehensive analysis of civil society in 35 countries, offers an opportunity to assess the health of people’s participation and activism. The level of volunteering is one key indicator of the state and level of participation in a society.
Looking specifically at voluntary action and trends in nine African countries – Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia - the CSI findings present a picture of volunteering that is shaped by cultural, historical, socio-economic and political dynamics. Even though Africa is not a homogeneous entity, across countries and cultures, patterns of volunteering are quite similar. With limited documentation to date specifically on volunteer trends in Africa, these findings have brought to light the value of volunteering in building social capital, its potential to encourage civic activism, and the heavy reliance of organised civil society on voluntary work.