Evaluation of team volunteering as an approach for addressing development challenges

RCG’s Stephen Parsons completed a wide-ranging evaluation of Australian Government–funded initiatives in the field of team volunteering — a relatively untested approach to international volunteering. Volunteering has been an important element of international development activity for more than 50 years, but only relatively recently have organizations around the world been trialling new models of volunteering to address a range of challenges.

The three team initiatives Stephen evaluated, all coordinated by Australian project management company Scope Global, were each distinctly different: (1) disaster risk reduction work in the Philippines following Typhoon Yolanda, (2) addressing food security through agricultural pest and disease control in Laos, and (3) development of a national needs assessment system for students with disabilities in Fiji.

Stephen’s evaluation identified important areas of learning across the three programs. His work demonstrated that innovative team volunteering models can effectively address complex humanitarian and development challenges, enabling a critical mass of specialists with complementary skills to work together and achieve substantial outcomes.