The motivation to volunteer : factors prompting individuals offering psychosocial support to vulnerable children in peri-urban communities in KwaZulu-Natal.
The rapidly increasing number of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa has raised much concern. The combination of HIV/AIDS, poverty and associated risk factors place children at risk for developing emotional, social, cognitive and behavioural difficulties. Resilience literature has emphasised the role of psychosocial support in buffering risk and boosting resilience in children. A holistic intervention programme, designed to empower and mobilise communities at grass-roots level, aims to address the psychosocial needs of vulnerable children. Such community interventions rely heavily on the support of volunteers. Previous initiatives conducted in South Africa have experienced difficulties in recruiting and retaining volunteers. The literature points out that understanding what motivates individuals to offer their services to others is crucial for the survival and effectiveness of any community-based programme that relies on volunteer support. Guided by the qualitative methodology of grounded theory, this research explored the motivations of volunteers offering their services to vulnerable children in peri-urban communities in KwaZulu-Natal. This inductive method enabled the researcher to identify motivating factors and interpret the underlying processes within and among these. The perspective of systems theory further explained the categories of motivations in relation to the social context. It was anticipated that the findings of this research would enhance existing training programmes designed for volunteer workers. Recommendations for both research and practice were put forward.