Barriers to Volunteering in the Global South

A potentially more promising explanation for the failure of direct volunteering to close the volunteering gap between North and South may lie in an even more obvious place: the conditions of life for people in low-income countries may put so many other demands on such people that the time left for volunteering, whether direct or organization based, is simply squeezed. Time use survey results indicate that people in such countries have to devote upwards of over one-third more of their time earning a living than do people in Western developed countries. On top of that, much more of their time is spent traveling to work, waiting for service, and even traveling to undertake volunteer activities. Under the circumstances, what should surprise us may not be that residents in poor countries seem to have less of the volunteering spirit than some have ascribed to them, but that they manage to achieve the levels of volunteering that they do given the other obstacles they face.

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