Volunteerism in Saudi Arabia: Assessing Volunteer Profiles and Their Impact to Society

Volunteerism in Saudi Arabia: Assessing Volunteer Profiles and Their Impact to Society

Gilbert Macalanda Talaue (Jubail University College, Saudi Arabia), Faris Saleh M Al-Turki (Jubail University College, Saudi Arabia), Abdulrahman Al-Zahrani (Jubail University College, Saudi Arabia), Saad Al-Malki (Jubail University College, Saudi Arabia) and Mohammed Al-Aberi (Jubail University College, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2364-3.ch001
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The chapter assesses the profile of volunteerism in Saudi Arabia, particularly the Al-Jubail Volunteer Club and its impact to society. One-hundred ninety (190) members of the club were the respondents of the study. Descriptive research design was utilized to gain accurate profile of the situation. It is found out that the demographic profile of volunteers coincides with some previous studies in terms of age bracket and occupation. Community concern motivated volunteers to participate. Volunteers perceived volunteering as a worthwhile activity. It is something that can improve and imply positive impact on their personal development. It is further concluded, that volunteering can help in over-all development of its members and society as well. Thus, volunteerism is the fundamental demonstration of citizenship, a method for battling social barring, and an imperative benefactor to the conveyance of good quality public service.
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1. Introduction And Background Of The Study

Volunteering is generally considered as altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain to benefit another person, group, or organization. Volunteering calls for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or improving one’s quality of life. Many volunteers are specially trained in the areas they work in, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Rich in culture and history, the Middle East is an intriguing volunteer destination with options in multiple countries. Although it is often associated with complex regional conflict, the Middle East is also known for its hospitable people and amazing ancient remnants sure to impress any history buff. Whether helping at a Jordanian school or working with the elderly in Israel, volunteers will get the chance to interact with local Middle Eastern communities and discover a unique culture (Volunteer Programs in the Middle East, n.d.).

Studies have shown that the number of volunteers all around the world is on a constant rise, making it a more culturally “popular” activity. This is apparent in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, where one of its “An Ambitious Nation” goals is to increase the number of volunteers from 11,000 currently, to an outstanding 1 million yearly. According to the World Bank, the number of volunteers currently represents a staggeringly low 0.034 percent of the Saudi population. While the practice of volunteering has a positive effect on the mental health and unity of the community, it also affects the political and civil engagement of youth in matters ranging from projects, decisions and government-citizen communication. It has the power to transform and rejuvenate the reputation of the Middle East from a politically “troubled” region, to a set of nations possessing innovation and strength. This is why volunteering should be considered as a sociopolitical vision. What people do not realize is that by volunteering, they are directly supporting at least one cause, or in many cases, numerous causes. Saudi Arabia is in fact a leading example of providing humanitarian aid and volunteering its financial resources to help other countries. As of 2014, the Kingdom was the country with the largest donations as a proportion of national income, with SR54 billion representing 1.9 percent of the Kingdom’s Gross National Income (GNI). The UN praised its generosity, as the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid has become an international charity, achieving regional stability and spreading political peace and safety. In short, volunteering is an act of compassion, but also a powerful social and political catalyst for positive change. It allows for the integration of critical thinking, political awareness and youth engagement in every community it touches. (Saudi Gazette, 2017)

To shed more light on the aspect of volunteerism, as well as discover its impact either positive or negative, existing studies were reviewed.

According to Henderson (2018) in her study about motivation and perceptions of volunteerism, adults are most motivated to volunteer by affiliation needs or the need for interaction with others. These volunteers, the adult, also described their volunteering as being leisure activity.

Combining a life course perspective with recent theorizing on motivationally related agendas for social behavior, Otomo et al. (2000) investigated the purposes, expectations, and outcomes of adult hospice volunteers of varying ages. They found out that younger volunteers tend to be motivated by and to achieve outcomes related to interpersonal relationships, whereas older volunteers tend to be motivated to a greater extent by service or community obligation concerns. Furthermore, in hierarchical regression analyses predicting overall satisfaction, benefits relative to cost, commitment, and changes in self-esteem over 6 months of volunteer service, relationship-related variables demonstrated greater and significant predictive power for younger relative to older volunteers. Service-oriented variables, hypothesized to be more influential in predicting the outcomes of older volunteers, tended to be inconsistently related to these same outcomes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Wali: A male official guardian, typically a father, brother, uncle or husband of Saudi Arabia women.

Royal Commission: An autonomous organization of the Saudi Arabian Government. The Commission is governed by a Board of Directors and its Chairman reports to the Council of Ministers.

Al-Jubail Volunteer Club: Organization in Al-Jubail City that aims to work on spreading the culture of volunteerism in the city of Jubail and nearby cities.

Eid al-Fitr: It is also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan.

Volunteerism: Generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain to benefit another person, group or organization.

Watan Muttahid: A name of group of young women in the eastern industrial city of Jubail which literally mean “United Nation” that carry out volunteer services.

Saudi Arabia Vision 2030: It is a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism. A vision coined by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Ramadan: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community

Volunteers: A group of persons who voluntarily offers themselves for a service or undertaking for free.

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