130801 Virtual volunteerism impact on international community development

Virtual Volunteerism and its Impact on International Community Development

Pavithra Rajan
Letter to the Editor  in DCID (Disability,CBR & Inclusive Development) Journal Vol 24, No 2 (2013)

The international conference on Primary Health Care in USSR came out with an important Declaration to ensure equitable healthcare for people across the globe. It emphasised the need for global economic
and social development in order to reduce the disparities between developing and developed countries, which would in turn guarantee equitable health for all. Developing countries have developed in-house strategies for progressive holistic growth. However, inequalities between the richer and the poorer regions of the world still exist.

Field volunteerism or “volun-tourism” has gained popularity over the last few years. The volunteer travels to the international destination and spends any amount of time, from a few weeks to a few months, helping a local community organisation in every possible way. While this type of volunteerism has many advantages, the major drawback is the investment of time and money to travel across the globe.

Virtual volunteerism is gaining in popularity, especially in the development of underprivileged regions of the world. All that is required to help community based organisations located in different parts of the globe is for the volunteer to sit in front of a computer, for less than 5 hours per week. The major advantage is that there is no travel expense involved. In addition, the volunteer need not take time off work and hence can be involved in the project for extended periods of time. It has been seen that volunteering for overseas projects could
help one to grow on the personal front and hone existing skills.