The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Civic Engagement, Mr. Kehinde Joseph has made a call to Community Development Associations, Committees and non-governmental institutions to embrace the culture of community volunteerism as a way of complementing the efforts of the State government in addressing the various needs of the citizenry without necessarily expecting any financial reward.
Joseph made the call on Monday in his address at an awareness campaign on volunteerism organized by the State Governmnet with the theme: “Volunteerism: A Tool for Community Development”, held at the Secretariat, Ikeja.
He maintained that one of the keys to instituting a system that will make life more abundant for the people and guarantee happiness for the greatest number of people is being a Volunteer in the society.
The Special Adviser described volunteerism as a powerful means of engaging people in tackling developmental challenges within their communities, adding that such communalism spirit promotes understanding among various community groups and assists in building a social relationship within the community.
In his words, “Volunteerism strengthens trust and solidarity among citizens by giving voice to stakeholders and mobilizing people to contribute their quota to the development of the society. As such, there is a need to create space and environment for people to volunteer their time, skill and knowledge to supplement government efforts in addressing the needs of the people”.
The Special Adviser explained further that volunteering does not imply that the role of CDCs and CDAs is being substituted, but rather as a strategy for communal development.
He, therefore, urged community leaders to identify individuals and groups that can work for the good of the community to form alliance with the Office of Civic Engagement to achieve the aspirations of the residents in their respective areas.
Delivering a paper on ‘Volunteerism: A Tool For Community Development’ Dr. Dele Ashiru of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos encouraged practicing volunteers to remain passionate, stay positive, and continue to offer their skills for the development of humanity.
“Always focus on the reasons why you choose to be a volunteer, get inspired by always connecting with the people you are serving, encourage others with a tone of positivity”, Dr. Ashiru stated.
He explained that the present administration is using volunteerism as an effective way to encourage public participation in governmental operations and decision-making processes where every member of the society is carried along.
According to him, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode recognizes the critical contribution of communalism to building a strong and cohesive society and had thus promoted volunteering as an essential act of citizenship and means for combating social exclusion that could hinder the delivery of high quality public services.
He commended the establishment of the Office of Civic Engagement created under the present administration in the State, saying that the Office had been using civic engagement processes for the delivery of public goods and services.
While noting that volunteerism assists government to save cost, Ashiru informed that the more members of the public that embrace volunteerism, the more money that would be available to government to embark on more meaningful developmental projects for the benefit of the populace.