Publication Date

2009

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Ken Williams

Abstract

With a plan to help our country reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) by 2015, The ONE Campaign and many other poverty-alleviating campaigns have worked hard to inspire and engage constituents across the county to demonstrate to our government the interest our nation has in alleviating global poverty. Over the years, campaigns have presented their case of support to congressional leaders through numbers (i.e. 2.2 million members) and have celebrated great progress. Unfortunately, however, a 2009 report by the UN shows we are very behind and have much work to do to reach the MDG’s by 2015.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the approaches campaigns can take to re-energize and inspire long-term engagement from their existing members to ensure we reach the MDG’s by 2015. This research used a case study approach to explore the factors which motivated long-term commitment from eleven volunteers who have been engaged in a poverty alleviating campaign for a minimum of one year, and how experiences which indirectly and directly exposed them to extreme global poverty played a role. The data for this research was collected through an in-depth questionnaire followed by semi-structured interviews.

Findings conclude that volunteer motivation increases when they connect their advocacy work with progress being made in the field, as it allows them to better understand the positive and direct impact their volunteer work has in poverty alleviation. Although a variety of experiences which indirectly and directly expose volunteers to extreme global poverty motivated volunteer engagement, those which provided direct exposure, through a service learning program, proved the most powerful educational experience and inspired a lifelong commitment from volunteers.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Social Welfare

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