We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Dr Hannah Brown

Brown, Hannah & Green, Maia (2015). At the Service of Community Development: The Professionalization of Volunteer Work in Kenya and Tanzania. African Studies Review 85(02): 63-84.

Author(s) from Durham


This article explores the changing nature of the “volunteer” as an official role within health and development interventions in East Africa. Contemporary development interventions require the engagement of volunteers to act as links between project and community. This role is increasingly professionalized within development architectures with implications for the kinds of people who can engage in volunteering opportunities. Volunteers in development interventions are likely to be drawn from public sector staff and from educated youth seeking access to positions of paid employment. Volunteering as a formal status within the organization of development programs is recognized as a kind of professional work by those seeking to engage with development organizations. Volunteers perform important work in linking development programs with beneficiaries. At the same time, volunteering provides opportunities for personal transformation.