Press Release

United Nations Report launched in Ethiopia, urges cooperation between Volunteers and States in Africa

02 June 2022

The fourth State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR 2022) ‘Building Equal and Inclusive Societies’ was launched today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Despite the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, interest in volunteering has not waned in Africa and across the world. Volunteering in communities has endured despite limited mobility and resources. While Covid-19 restrictions have prevented many people from volunteering in person, many have switched to volunteering online.

The fourth State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR 2022) ‘Building Equal and Inclusive Societies’ was launched today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by H.E Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye, Minister, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs for Ethiopia at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The launch was also attended by His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Lamine Thiaw, Permanent Representative of Senegal to Ethiopia and the African Union, His Excellency Ambassador Hans Lundquist, Ambassador of Sweden to Ethiopia, Mr. Cleophas Torori, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative among other representatives from UN Member States, United Nations (UN) entities, the African Union Commission (AUC), diplomatic community, volunteer community and the private sector.

The SWVR 2022 Report findings provide an interesting and timely opportunity to analyze the strategic role of volunteering for peace and development in the African continent. The SWVR 2022 Africa regional launch provided key stakeholders with an opportunity to shine the spotlight on transformative volunteering models that have emerged across different countries in Africa around service delivery, policymaking and participation, governance, decision-making and social innovation. The launch took the global discussions on the Report to the regional level to initiate and generate momentum for a sustained regional conversation on SWVR 2022 findings and raise awareness among stakeholders, policymakers, and institutions in Africa.

Speaking during the launch, H.E Ergoge Tesfaye noted that through volunteerism, more people participate in development at all levels of society empowering them to fully engage in their development priorities.

“Volunteering represents essential capacities for communities and nations to pursue social, economic and environmental goals,” - H.E Ergoge Tesfaye, Minister, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs of Ethiopia said while launching the Report.

The Report draws on case study research in Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Among the five regions, Africa demonstrated the highest volunteer rates – the share of the total working-age population (15 years and over) who volunteer. While other regions display monthly volunteer rates of 9 to 10.6 percent, Africa far exceeds this with monthly volunteer rates of 17.5 percent.  Additionally, two African countries - Senegal and Kenya – were selected for a 2021 global multi-country survey by UNV and Gallup that informed the SWVR 2022 findings on the contribution of volunteers to COVID-19 response in the global south. The survey found relatively high levels of volunteer participation in COVID-19 response in Senegal and Kenya, with volunteer action rates of 98% and 92% respectively –the highest among eight other countries that participated in the survey. 

Speaking during the launch of the Report, Mr. Cleophas Torori, Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP Ethiopia noted that volunteerism provides an important opportunity for everybody, including marginalized groups, to have their voices heard and their actions recognized.

“Engaging and integrating volunteers will help us move forward together, allowing us to mitigate future challenges and sustain our resilience as a human collective,” he said.

“The findings of the report provide critical information for policy makers to ensure we ‘leave no one behind’ in our quest for development, particularly following the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inequalities in the region and the world,” said Ms. Lucy Ndungu, Regional Manager for UNV East and Southern Africa Regional Office also said during the launch event.

The SWVR 2022 comes at a crucial moment as countries start to build forward from the pandemic and institutions need to engage volunteers as key partners. “To build forward better, it will be very important for volunteers to be regarded as essential partners in development,” said Mr. Benjamin Mirichi, an International UN Volunteer from Kenya serving with UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Report identifies three models to highlight volunteer-state relationships – the deliberative governance, the co-production of services and the social innovation – and offers policy recommendations. Decision makers are encouraged to:

  • Promote volunteering beyond service delivery to include social innovation and inclusiveness.
  • Strengthen public social recognition of volunteers especially as they are not financially rewarded.
  • Create space where both volunteers and state authorities can share their experiences and establish common ground.
  • Invest in measurement and data on volunteers and support research on volunteerism.

As part of the SWVR preparation, UNV and Gallup conducted research to study the patterns of volunteerism during COVID-19. The multi-country primary data collection was conducted in March-April 2021, including a survey of eight thousand people in eight countries – Bolivia, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Senegal, Thailand, Turkey and Uzbekistan.


Notes to Editors: 

For more information and to schedule interviews please contact:

Kevin Ochieng 

Getachew Dibaba Ayanee


For the full Report and other resources go to:


About the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme:

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tacking development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development. UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Resident Coordinator Office

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