Uneven geographies of youth volunteering in Uganda: Multi-scalar discourses and practices

Baillie Smith, Matt, Mills, Sarah, Okech, Moses and Fadel, Bianca (2022) Uneven geographies of youth volunteering in Uganda: Multi-scalar discourses and practices. Geoforum, 134. pp. 30-39. ISSN 0016-7185

1-s2.0-S0016718522000987-main.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (489kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2022.05.006


This paper develops a multi-scalar geography of youth volunteering in Uganda. A growing body of research has explored the geographies of volunteering in the global North and international volunteering and development. However, despite the mainstreaming of volunteers as development actors, less attention has been paid to the unique local and national geographies of volunteering in global South settings. This paper explores how and why different ideas and practices of volunteering take shape and prominence in Uganda and how this impacts patterns of youth inclusion, inequality and opportunity. Analysing data on volunteering by young refugees in Uganda, we develop a multi-scalar geography to situate volunteering at the interface of ‘global’ volunteering policy and knowledges, aid and development architectures, youth unemployment, community institutions and local socio-economic inequalities. Through this, we reveal how programmed and audited forms of youth volunteering oriented to youth skills and employability are privileged. We show how this articulates with local inequalities to create uneven access to volunteering opportunities and practices. Through our approach, we show how a multi-scalar geography of volunteering enables us to build richer, more nuanced conceptualisations of volunteering in the global South that address the different ways global discourses, local histories, community organisations and social inequalities come together across space and time to produce uneven geographies of volunteering in particular places.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: We would link to thank the ESRC/GCRF who funded this research through grant ES/S005439/1. We would also like to thank all our research participants for their engagement, through interviews and in workshops in Kampala, Bidibidi, Nakivale and Rwamwanja. Thanks also to our partner NGOs and youth advisory board members, made up of young refugees, who have helped shape the research. Finally, thanks go to the rest of the project research team whose feedback and contributions to the project have shaped the ideas we present here. This study was supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) [Grant number: ES/S005439/1, “Skills acquisition and employability through volunteering by displaced youth in Uganda”]. All data supporting the research are provided as supplementary information accompanying this paper at https://www.doi.org/10.25398/rd.northumbria.19780078 under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Volunteering, Youth, Uganda, Refugees, Skills, Policy
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 09:25
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2022 10:22
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/49351

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics