Supporting volunteerism in Asia Archipelago

Learning how to support governments and peak bodies to improve volunteerism.

Feb 2022 - Apr 2023
A group of people wearing masks are sitting around the table, actively working on a project together. The table is covered with paper and tea cups.


We sought to learn more about how we can support governments and peak bodies to improve volunteerism in the Philippines and Timor-Leste, as part of the discovery phrase for the Global Volunteering Accelerator workstream.

Australian volunteers were not able to travel internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of our government partners requested program support for national volunteering activities. In response, we met with key volunteering bodies and government organisations to identify and discuss opportunities for providing support to their existing initiatives.

We partnered with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) in Philippines and the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport in Timor-Leste to run a series of workshops through which our partners identified volunteering research and global networking as key priorities. This work has continued into the design phase and we are currently working with these partners to co-design and co-deliver volunteering research and networking activities.

Our objectives

  • What are the priorities of government and peak bodies in relation to national volunteering?
  • How can the program contribute to these priorities?
  • Who are the key stakeholders supporting national volunteering in the region? 

Our approach

We started by working with the willing and interested. The Philippine Government requested support from international volunteer-sending organisations (IVSOs) on their national volunteering initiatives and in Timor-Leste we have continued supporting the Government through the Volunteering for Development (Vol4Dev) workstream.

To further understand the context, the in-country team in the Philippines held a series of meetings with government agencies and civil society organisations to scope what are the existing national volunteering activities in the Philippines. The in-country team in Timor-Leste has been working with the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport other IVSOs present in the country to explore how strengthen volunteerism in the country.

The program supported PNVSCA in conducting a multi-stakeholder workshop on the formulation of the National Volunteerism Research Agenda. This workshop resulted inthe prioritisation of research to progress policy formulation on volunteerism. The program was one of the first international volunteer sending organisations (IVSO) to be recognised by PNVSCA for the support to national volunteering.

Inspired by the activities done in the Philippines, a National Volunteerism Consultation Workshop was held in Timor-Leste to support the government in their national youth volunteer scheme. The workshop highlighted the importance of conducting a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Assessment Survey to understand volunteering environment in the country.

What we are learning

  • Government agencies, academic institutions and civil society organisations show strong interest on national volunteering activities in the Philippines and Timor-Leste.
  • Governments of both countries have existing nationally-led volunteering initiatives.
  • Conducting multi-stakeholder workshops can be done to jumpstart national volunteering activities.
  • Mechanisms to support volunteering in partners countries can be replicated and contextualised in other countries.
  • Other IVSOs are interested and willing to support nationally-led volunteering programs.
  • Maintaining good relationship with government and non-government partners is important in the successful implementation of projects.

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