We have problem at the ISL . We cannot get any volunteers from the Alman Town community which is closest to the ISL and where most of the young people and adults who use the ISL live. We are also not getting volunteers from outside the community to work with us at the ISL. Sometimes people ask what they can do but they don’t follow up on their initial interest and they usually have a problem giving time consistently. We have tried to offer a small stipend for volunteers in the reading programme at the ISL and even this still doesn’t get us volunteers. Sometimes friends come and support but we need people who are willing to give time consistently.
As soon as i started to write this post i remembered a post i had written at the beginning of the ISL about designing an effective volunteer program.
When asking for volunteers we have only specified the time we need and the activity we want the volunteer to be involved in.
We currently need volunteers for a reading programme for young people ages 4-13 from 4-6pm on a Thursday. We meet the ISL and take the children to Heroes Circle.
We also need volunteers for our Science Technology Art and Maths Programme (STEAM) for young people ages 4-13 on Wednesdays 3-5pm.
We have been thinking about how to get people engaged in the work of Di Institute and the HQ. We have a core of people who are always willing to support our work but more recently we have been getting different expressions of interest in volunteering.
I replied to a message last night from someone who wanted to volunteer with us. As soon as i was done i felt nervous. Did i answer correctly? Did i make it sound too complicated, should i have something more official for people to indicate interest? So far people have been going through me or Georgia to say they want to volunteer.
As i felt the nervousness, i began to think it through. Who would be a good volunteers? Why did people really want to volunteer? Could we build a movement/ these spaces on volunteers? Who are volunteers really? In conversation with Georgia we came up with a few observations, thoughts and questions we think would be good to understand more, the volunteer culture in Jamaica or what makes for the creation of an effective volunteer programme in an organization or movement. These are some of the things we have been learning as well.
Problematic aspects of volunteer culture in Jamaica
“Mi juts a help out. So mi we come when mi can come and if u nuh see me mi caan come and nuh cal mi cause u nah pay me.”
eg.Womens Media Watch Agencies
Education and Facilitation
What does the volunteer identity mean? What is the entry point for the volunteer?
Two types of volunteers:“The Political” and the “Self-interested” ( not necessarily so stark)
Sometimes the usefulness of the organization is around the politics and so the political volunteer is needed.
Afifa and Georgia co-founders ISL and SOUL. P.s forgive all typos in this piece.:)