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2025: The era of e-volunteers in focus

Copyrights: Gabriel Tito Tabona

2025: The era of e-volunteers in focus

Gabriel Tabona reflects on the developing role of online volunteers in Kenya.

The closure of the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) and its functions transferred to IOC has meant that the sport and development stakeholders seek resilience in sustaining the relevance of the sector in the long run. The evolution of the field will be witnessed less than five years after FIFA and IOC have held its World Cup in 2022 and the summer Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024 respectively.

In Kenya, continuity of the sector has been attributed to the enthusiasm of volunteers. From post-event initiatives such as the Stanchart Marathon and Mater Heart Run, the former which seeks to alleviate avoidable blindness while the latter seeks to treat heart diseases in partnership with local hospitals, volunteers’ inputs and benefits in their successes can never be underrated. The boardroom conversations in such undertakings always seek to achieve consensus on how the volunteers will be involved.

The years leading to 2025 are likely to see a different modus operandi in volunteering. Volunteer policies will have been reviewed to cater to the generational dynamics of the time on how they will want to be involved. A multi-sectoral synergy between academia, the corporate world, sports federations, non-profit world and programme beneficiaries will have worked together in developing pathways that attract children and youth to lend their efforts, skills and talents in nation-building.

We are looking at less reliance on on-site volunteers working on assigned projects physically and the rise of online volunteers, lending their skills through internet based platforms in different ways in a country where a simple mobile phone is used to pay for almost everything. The latter will see more webinars and conferences being organised using smart phones, more volunteer-based mobile applications developed by IT students to provide support in administrative functions such as finance, procurement, communications and programme management. The online volunteers concept is likely to take the sector by storm owing to the fact that in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, the Local Organizing Committee will rely on e-volunteers to help popularise the global youth football showpiece through sharing online content before, during and after the tournament.

Devolution of government services as envisioned by the new Kenyan constitution will guide the civil society to create frameworks that help them involve skilled and unskilled helpers to help plan, fundraise, implement, monitor and evaluate sport for development projects spearheaded by county governments from the comfort of their homes.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]

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Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 11:42