In Ethiopia the practice of volunteerism is a core value in social relation. As seen in day to day experience of the family, friends and other social groups in the country, including traditional associations like “Edir” “Debo” “Ekub” (local saving money), Sunday school youths, “Zeka” at Mosque & other faith-based volunteering... the society has a deep-rooted culture of supporting each other during different catastrophic Emergency and disaster response services like death, fire, flooding etc. and during ceremonial expenses like in wedding etc. Even though some volunteer services have existed throughout Ethiopian culture, there are other clinical voluntary services like elder palliative care, biological organ donation (kidney, and eye after death), blood donation and surgical intervention at different hospital by experts.
To improve the long standing custom of the society (existing experiences) and address the need of the community in health which is due to the very rapid socio-economic change in the country, it is mandatory to design a standardized guide/protocol to coordinate, regulate and promote sustainable, need based and efficient volunteerism services both in public and private organizations at all levels in the country.
Core Values of Volunteerism
Despite being an unpaid activity, volunteerism has a guiding principle to ensure all parties’ including beneficiaries’ volunteers’ and organizations’ mutual interests. These core values include:
- Nonprofit oriented: work without pay or compensation, in cash or in-kind. However, some forms of reimbursement may be possible, for the out-of-pocket expenses that is incurred in their assignment (e.g. travel costs or cost of equipment).
- Ethical – impartial, confidential and respectful for the norm and basic human rights.
- Integrity –being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness.
- Inclusion/Inclusive – Understanding accepting and valuing the many differences among people in a society. It includes ethnicity, race, cultural traditions, religious expressions, age, gender, socio-economic status, geography, mental or physical ability and sexual orientation.
- Efficiency –the ability to do things well, successfully, without waste and the use of resources to the intended purpose.
- Accountability –the obligation of an individual to account for its activities, accept, responsibility for the, and to disclose the results in the transparent manner.
- Safety – an individual responsibility to protect their own health and safety, as well as that of their colleagues and service users.
- Compassion – feeling of sensitivity for the suffering of self and others.