Five-country study on civic
service underway in SADC
By Philanie Jooste
The knowledge and information base
about civic service and volunteering
in the SADC region is about to get a boost
from a five-country study that was
launched in April 2005.
The study is taking place in Botswana,
Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe
and will be co-ordinated by
VOSESA in partnership with the Centre
for Social Development, University of Johannesburg.
VOSESA is a Johannesburg-based non-profit
organisation set up specifically to
add to the growing knowledge base about
service and volunteering in southern Africa.
Helene Perold, Executive Director of
VOSESA, said the study offers a great
opportunity for southern African countries
to generate their own information about
service and volunteering and to share this
knowledge within the region and beyond.
Analysis of service and volunteering
The research is made possible by a grant
from the Center for Social Development,
Washington University in St Louis, with
funding from the Ford Foundation for the
Global Service Institute Research Initiative.
VOSESA is embarking on research
into the form and extent of civic service
programmes in the five countries. The aim
of the study is to document and analyse
civic service and volunteering and to examine
the implications for social development
policy and practice in a regional context.
University of Johannesburg leads
The Centre for Social Development at the
University of Johannesburg, led by Prof.
Leila Patel, will lead the research – both in
terms of research design and data analysis.
Prof. Patel said: “This study will provide
valuable knowledge about the nature,
scope and character of service and volunteering
in the SADC region. We hope to
build up research networks and knowledge
and experience of service activities
regionally which could inform social development
policies and programmes in the
Research teams have been set up in
each of the five countries. The core research
team consists of Prof. Leila Patel,
Helene Perold, Dr Morena Rankopo,
Catherine Moleni, Dr Ndangwa Noyoo
and Prof. Edwin Kaseke (see the box below
for more information on the research
The research questions will include the
- What is the meaning of service in the southern African context?
- Who receives service and who serves?
- How many people are serving?
- How is service understood? How is it perceived?
- What forms of programmes exist?
- What is the geographic distribution of the forms and types of programmes within the countries (e.g. urban/rural spread)?
- What are the goals and activities of these programmes?
- How many service hours are performed?
- What is the nature of the service experience?
- What access, incentives, information and facilitation are provided to servers?
- How are service programmes implemented and supported?
- What social policies and incentives exist to promote civic service?
- What are factors promoting/hindering the development of service regionally?
- How can countries in the region collaborate to strengthen service initiatives?
The research will take place in 2005 and
2006 and the final report will be disseminated
in November and December 2006.
Updates and preliminary findings of this
study as well as the final report will be
published in VOSESA Focus.
- Principal researcher: Prof. Leila Patel is Professor and
Chairperson of the Department of Social Work at Johannesburg
University and Director of its Centre for Social Development
in Africa. She is the author of Civic Service,
Globalisation and Social Development: Perspectives from
Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the Board of
- Co-principal researcher and in-country research leader
(South Africa): Helene Perold is the Director of VOSESA
and is co-editor of Service Enquiry (2003). She has written
a number of research reports on community service in
South Africa, is co-author of the Green Paper on National
Youth Service in South Africa (1997), and author of Youth
Service in South Africa: Country Profile.
- In-country research leader (Botswana): Dr Morena
Rankopo is a lecturer and co-ordinator of the masters programme
in the Department of Social Work at the University
of Botswana. He has been actively involved in research on
community participation, community intervention methods,
poverty alleviation, and HIV and AIDS.
- In-country research leader (Malawi): Catherine Moleni is
the Deputy Director of the Centre for Educational Research
and Training at the University of Malawi, where she
acts as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the Malawi Journal
for Education and Development. She has also worked as
the Co-ordinator for the World Exchange Volunteer Programme.
- In-country research leader (Zambia): Dr Ndangwa Noyoo
is a senior researcher at the Centre for Social Development
in Africa at the Johannesburg University. His interests
are in social development policy and research. He has
published widely on socio-economic and political issues.
He is also author of a book entitled Social Welfare in Zambia.
- In-country research leader (Zimbabwe): Prof. Edwin
Kaseke is the Head of the School of Social Work at the
University of Zimbabwe. Prof. Kaseke co-ordinated a four-country
study on formal and informal social security in Tanzania,
Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The findings was
published in a special issue of the Journal of Social Development
in Africa in 2002.