The annual conference of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) was organised online by the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in July 2021. The central theme of the conference was “Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice”.
On 5 July, Prof Matt Baillie Smith gave a presentation about the RYVU project in the panel “Volunteering, Solidarity and Development”. The purpose of the panel was to move beyond a focus on how volunteering promotes development to explore what kind of development volunteering facilitates and for whom. Presentations reflected about diverse volunteering experiences in the global South, exploring volunteering’s relationship to efforts to build trust across different scales, struggles for peace and social justice, and responses to the climate emergency.
The RYVU paper has then explored the relationships between volunteering, solidarity and displacement through a focus on the voluntary activities of young refugees in Uganda. It discussed forms and scales of solidarities that produce or are produced by local forms of volunteering, other than international volunteering. It argued that the framing of volunteering as an act of benevolence by the affluent toward the less well-off has further limited analyses of volunteering’s relationship to solidarities, sidelining activities by individuals and communities who are themselves from disadvantaged communities and ‘beneficiaries’ of aid and support.