Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in addressing development challenges

The Peru Soy Voluntari@ Network: a model to replicate in the context of the new 2030 agenda

Soyvoluntario coverInvesting to establish an enabling volunteer environment, including a well-functioning volunteer infrastructure that engages stakeholders from different segments of society to facilitate volunteer opportunities, is a prerequisite to increase people's involvement in addressing peace and development challenges. Such a strengthened volunteer engagement bears an enormous potential to meet the ambitions of the new 2030 agenda.

During the last years, UNV has been supporting innovative approaches to managing volunteer infrastructure in Peru by facilitating the establishment of the SoyVoluntari@ National Network, a pioneer initiative aiming at cross-sectoral action and dialogue. The SoyVoluntari@ network model is an innovative reference for Latin America to create inclusive spaces and coordinate different actors engaged in volunteering.

The UNV report «Volunteer Entities Networks in Peru: Cross-sector collaboration in the "SoyVoluntari@" network model» (in Spanish: Redes de entidades de voluntariado en Peru: Cooperación transectorial en el modelo de redes "SoyVoluntari@") presents the methodology used for developing subnational volunteer networks within Peru, and explains how to replicate the model in other countries and contexts. The report examines the Network's methods of collaboration across sectors, describes how the network improves ways to engage volunteers in development processes, and shows how this can contribute to achieving the new global goals. The report also documents the contribution of SoyVoluntari@ in strengthening public policy and law making to mainstream volunteering as a development tool in Peru.

Volunteer organizations function as broker of engagement, able to connect governmental strategies and initiatives with complementary, yet essential, community voluntary action. SoyVoluntari@ involves actors from various fields, such as government, private sector and civil society, to catalyze and multiply the contribution of volunteer work. The over 200 volunteering entities currently members of SoyVoluntari@ benefit from increased representation, information exchange, joint activities and learning.

Volunteering networks such as SoyVoluntari@ are a replicable mechanism to foster participation in planning, implementing and monitoring development at national and subnational level. Their capacity to reach out to marginalized populations makes it possible to achieve the 2030 agenda and truly "leave no one behind". If duly strengthened, financed and integrated in national development plans, these volunteer networks can help localizing the new agenda by "providing new areas of interaction between Governments and people for concrete and scalable actions", as envisioned by the UN Secretary-General in his Synthesis report on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The SoyVoluntari@ network has recently received the Peoples' Voices Award for the category 'Longstanding contribution to MDG implementation through volunteer action'.