Global Health Volunteering; Understanding Organizational Goals

Original Paper

Abstract

This paper examines the goals of organizations that sponsor short-term volunteer trips in global health, whether they be NGO’s, faith-based, educational, or corporate organizations. Results from a U.S.-based national survey of 177 such organizations and 27 interviews with trip organizers suggest that organizations often sponsor volunteer trips to achieve goals that are quite different from the improvement of health outcomes in poor countries. While providing health services is often cited as the most important goal, volunteer activity is also considered important in enhancing the organizations’ reputation, recruitment and retention, and financial well-being. The prominence of other goals has the potential for diverting resources and focus from what is presumably the primary purpose of serving host communities in the most effective manner possible.

Keywords

Global health Organizational goals Short-term volunteers 

Résumé

Cet article examine les objectifs des organisations qui sponsorisent les voyages de bénévolat de courte durée dans le domaine de la santé mondiale, qu’elles soient des ONG, des organisations confessionnelles, éducatives ou d’entreprises. Les résultats issus d’une enquête nationale américaine de 177 de ces organisations et de 27 entretiens auprès d’organisateurs de voyages donnent à penser que les organisations commanditent souvent des voyages de bénévolat pour atteindre des objectifs qui sont très différents de l’amélioration des résultats en matière de santé dans les pays pauvres. Alors que la prestation de services de santé est souvent citée comme l’objectif le plus important, l’activité bénévole est également considérée comme importante pour renforcer la réputation, le recrutement et la fidélisation et le bien-être financier des organisations. L’importance d’autres objectifs est susceptible de détourner des ressources et l’attention de ce qui est sans doute l’objectif principal pour servir les communautés d’accueil le plus efficacement possible.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Ziele von Organisationen, die kurzfristige Reisen für Ehrenamtliche innerhalb des globalen Gesundheitsbereichs organisieren, wobei es sich hierbei um nicht-staatliche, glaubensbasierte, Bildungs- oder Unternehmensorganisationen handeln kann. Ergebnisse aus einer USA-basierten nationalen Befragung von 177 solcher Organisationen sowie aus 27 Interviews mit Reiseorganisatoren weisen darauf hin, dass die Organisationen, die Reisen für Ehrenamtliche sponsern, häufig ganz andere Ziele verfolgen als die Verbesserung der Gesundheitsversorgung in armen Ländern. Während die Erbringung von Gesundheitsdienstleistungen oft als das vorrangige Ziel angegeben wird, erachtet man auch die ehrenamtliche Tätigkeit als wichtig, um den Ruf einer Organisation, die Anwerbung und Bindung von Mitarbeitern sowie die finanzielle Lage zu fördern. Die Wichtigkeit anderer Ziele kann die Ressourcen und Konzentration von dem mutmaßlichen Hauptzweck, die Gastgemeinden zu unterstützen, auf effektivste Weise ablenken.

Resumen

El presente documento examina las metas de organizaciones que patrocinan viajes de voluntarios de corto plazo en salud mundial, ya sean ONG, u organizaciones religiosas, educativas o corporativas. Los resultados de una encuesta nacional en EE.UU. de 177 de dichas organizaciones y 27 entrevistas con organizadores de viajes sugieren que las organizaciones a menudo patrocinan viajes de voluntarios para lograr metas que son totalmente diferentes de la mejora de los resultados sanitarios en países pobres. Aunque la provisión de servicios sanitarios se cita a menudo como la meta más importante, la actividad de los voluntarios también se considera importante para aumentar la reputación, el reclutamiento y retención, y el bienestar financiero de las organizaciones. La prominencia de otras metas tiene el potencial de desviar los recursos y el foco de atención de lo que presumiblemente es el propósito fundamental de servir a las comunidades anfitrionas de la manera más efectiva posible.

摘要

本论文检视了赞助全球卫生短期志愿者差旅的各类组织的目标,不论这些组织是非政府组织、基于信仰的组织、教育组织,还是法人组织。一项在美国进行的全国性研究对177个这样的组织进行了调查并对差旅组织者进行了27个采访,结果显示这些组织经常赞助志愿者差旅,但是这些差旅的目标与改善贫困国家卫生健康状况这一目标颇为不同。虽然提供卫生健康服务通常被列为最为重要的目标,但是在这些志愿者活动中,组织者同时还认为提高组织的知名度、人员的招募与维持、确保良好的财务状况等也是重要的目标。过于突出其他目标有可能会分散资源,降低针对为东道社区服务的这一主要目标的专注力,使得志愿者无法尽量以最为有效的方式为东道社区服务。

要約

本論文では信念に基づいた教育的または企業の組織におけるNGOが、地球規模の健康に関わる短期ボランティア・ツアーを後援する目的について調査する。米国国勢調査における上記の組織177団体とツアー組織27団体は、貧しい国の医療効果の改善とは大きく異なる目標を掲げてボランティア・ツアーを後援することがわかった。医療施設の提供は最も重要な目標とされているが、ボランティア活動もまた組織の評判、募集、維持、財政の福利を高めるために重要だと見なされている。その他の目標の特徴は、資金を流用する可能性があり、最も効果的な方法で受け入れコミュニティの提供を主眼にすることに焦点を当てている。

ملخص

يفحص هذا البحث أهداف المنظمات التي ترعى رحلات المتطوعين على المدى القصير في مجال الصحة العالمية، سواء كانت المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO’s)، على أساس ديني، تعليمي، أو منظمات تعاونية. نتائج دراسة إستطلاع رأي وطني مقرها الولايات المتحدة من 177 مثل هذه المنظمات و27 مقابلة مع منظمي رحلات المتطوعين تشير إلى أن المنظمات غالبا” تدعم رحلات المتطوعين لتحقيق الأهداف التي هي مختلفة تماما” عن تحسين النتائج الصحية في الدول الفقيرة. أثناء تقديم الخدمات الصحية كثيرا” ما يحاولوا يبرهنواعلى إنه الهدف الأكثر أهمية، يعتبر النشاط التطوعي مهم أيضا” في تعزيز سمعة المنظمات، التوظيف والإحتفاظ بها، والرفاهية المالية. ظهور أهمية أهداف أخرى لديها القدرة على تحويل الموارد والتركيز من ما هو يفترض أنه الغرض الأساسي لخدمة المجتمعات المضيفة في الطريقة الأكثر فعالية ممكنة.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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