Tuesday, December 23, 2008


What is volunteerism? It is simply defined by dictionary.com as the policy or practice of volunteering one's time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one's community while materialism is a desire for wealth or the preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.

Volunteering is about giving. According to Mr. Yemi Oshilaja, the country director of Hope Worldwide, “Your heart must go before your tummy or pocket …a volunteer is someone who is fully engaged but at the same time able to offer themselves to help mankind.” In his opening remark during the December 5th International Volunteers Day event organized by GIVE Network, Mr. Oshilaja said that volunteers are the key to solving the Development issues in our country no matter the amount of money available. He also urged the media to write more about volunteering effort in Nigeria so that many more people will join the trend.

Indeed the culture of volunteering should be encouraged at all levels. It is one of the tools that can effectively curb the sudden quest for materialism in our society. Volunteerism gives you the opportunity to give while materialism only makes you want to take. Volunteerism ask how can I offer help while materialism ask what is in it for me. Volunteerism reminds you of the needs of others and how significantly you can impact lives by taking action. Materialism reminds you of your needs and how much you must acquire more things at the expense of others. Volunteerism builds a better world because it breeds care and support while materialism pulls our world apart because it breeds greed and envy.

In a world that is being faced by numerous global challenges such as global warming, global food crisis, global financial crisis and all other global phenomenon deeply rooted in local causes, it is imperative for everyone to embrace the volunteering culture. Positive volunteer efforts that will contribute immensely to national development starts by just giving a little of yourself- give appreciation, give encouragement, give enthusiasm, give ideas, give time etc.

As it is being advocated for Entrepreneurship to be added to our academic curriculum, I will like to also advocate for volunteerism to be encouraged in all institutions- individual, corporate, government etc. There is so much to gain by giving a little of yourself and time. According to Roger Carr of www.everydaygiving.com, volunteering gives you an opportunity to make new friends, build personal and professional contacts, build your self-esteem and self-confidence, develop new skills, explore career opportunities, add experience to your resume, improve your health, have fun and make a difference. See your world through a new eye, identify the volunteer opportunity that is right for you, make a positive impact and expand your world by doing everyday things in a positive way- go volunteer!

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