Consultant - Volunteering study

1       Background

1.1      Danish Red Cross

Danish Red Cross (DRC) is part of a global Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement voluntary network, which helps people in crises around the world. The Movement consists of 190 National Societies, which have a special status and role as neutral humanitarian auxiliaries to their respective governments. Each National Society (NS) is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) with a Geneva-based Secretariat. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the third important component of the Movement.


DRC is an active member of the RCRC Movement committed to working towards increasing the impact of the RCRC in helping communities and individuals to better prepare for, withstand and recover from disasters, conflicts and other crises. More specifically DRC international work aims to inspire and act for human dignity, resilience and social cohesion in contexts of poverty, conflict and disaster through a focus on[1]:


  • Resilient communities
  • Empowered civil society with a strong RCRC
  • Protection and social cohesion
  • Danish humanitarian engagement


The DRC International Strategy 2015-2020 defines Youth and volunteers as change agents and Active citizenship as independent global goals. The international work of DRC goes through bilateral partnerships with other RCRC NSs as well as multilateral cooperation with IFRC and ICRC.

1.2      New emerging patterns and questions

Volunteers are at the core of the RCRC humanitarian network and fulfil a crucial role as catalysts for change in their communities. There are dramatic shifts occurring in the world and in the patterns of volunteering. This raises numerous questions such as, how well is RCRC adapting to these patterns or preparing for the future? How are phenomena such as urbanization, ageing populations, migration, technology, changing volunteering patterns and the economic crisis affecting volunteering? What can RCRC do about it?


With our partners, DRC builds, maintains, and inspires volunteerism, while acknowledging the trends and developments at all levels in society that motivate the RCRC Movement to be relevant to the volunteers of tomorrow. What has worked in the past, might not work in the future. In a constantly changing society, volunteering will also change. For DRC the aim is to support our partners to develop, refine and adjust volunteer management tools, approaches and systems to ensure that the RCRC Movement remains relevant and attractive from a volunteer perspective. Volunteers should be enabled to act as agents of change in society and community development. DRC also promotes volunteers to take a more prominent role at all levels of their organizations including within governance structures.


Changes to the communities that RCRC volunteers serve and from which its volunteers are drawn, provide a key challenge for volunteer managers and facilitators. Of particular significance are the issues of mobility and migration, urbanization and urban slums, ageing and shifting demographics, and technology. These changes are bringing different ideas of volunteering together and challenging established volunteering ‘norms’. Mobility, particularly in the context of urbanization, is changing the traditional ways in which the RCRC Movement has mobilized and understood volunteers. As communities become more fluid and overlapping, and as individuals struggle to seek employment often remotely from their families, who volunteers and how they do it is changing. There is a need to go beyond adaptation and ‘better’ communication, and to be ready to reflect on and change the ways volunteering is practiced in and between these shifting contexts. While there are examples of innovation in engaging and bringing together volunteers across divides, we know very little about the ways these particular challenges are changing volunteering. It may be attractive to identify volunteering as a means to deal with global change and challenges, but we need to understand and recognize how volunteering is situated within those changes, and that we cannot abstract it from the inequalities and injustices that it can help ameliorate.


Furthermore, many volunteers are active in situations of tensions and even conflict. This can impact volunteers’ well-being and mental health, and can even put their lives at risk. In choosing to assist in difficult situations, volunteers may be exposed to destruction, death, stories of loss and grieving of survivors, as well as insecurities in crisis environments. These situations can be extremely stressful, however many volunteers face in addition a very frequent kind of stress that comes from working conditions and  organisational issues such as working for long hours without adequate breaks, performing physical difficult and exhausting tasks, being detached from their own family and home life, lack of information sharing in the organisation, lack of clear job descriptions and roles and responsibilities, as well as not being acknowledge and appreciated for their efforts. Many volunteers are still not adequately insured, and volunteers’ protection and rights are a growing and critical concern. Such volunteers require protection and in many cases, psychosocial support. There are many ways of developing strategies for volunteer psychosocial support; it can be done within general volunteering policies or first aid policies, or as separate psychosocial support policies. The policies and strategies at Federation level can provide a starting point:


IFRC Strategy 2020: Enabling action 1 p 24: “National Societies are committed to improve quality standards, capacities and volunteer retention by creating a welcoming and socially inclusive environment. This environment means providing volunteers with training, supervision, regular evaluation and recognition, development opportunities that include designing and improving the work in which they are involved, insurance protection, equipment, psychosocial support and a supportive local structure relevant to the tasks they carry out”.


In 2015, IFRC facilitated a global review on volunteering revealing a crisis in volunteering. Concerned by this crisis, in June 2016 the IFRC Governing Board endorsed a Framework for Action for Volunteering to be driven by an Alliance of National Societies across all five regions.


The three main concerns raised as the basis for action can be summarized as:


Many National Societies are losing their volunteers for lack of appropriate volunteering practices

Despite being one of the oldest and most prestigious humanitarian volunteer organisations in the world, there are only 17 million Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) volunteers or just 0.2% of the world’s population[2].


Even more worrisome, the distribution of volunteers has no relation with global humanitarian needs:


  • 57% of our volunteers are in just four (4) National Societies.
  • Ten National Societies have 75% of RCRC volunteers.
  • 100 National Societies, combined, have just 1.25% of volunteers despite having more than 11% of the world’s population in their countries.


Moreover, the overall number of RCRC volunteers is at best stagnating, and maybe even declining in absolute terms, perhaps by as much as 10% a year.


Too many volunteers are losing their lives and lack protection and support

More than one million Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers work in countries where there is a conflict, among which about 100,000 are on the front lines. There are particular risks and needs, including those related to protection and mental health, as well as insurance of volunteers that have not been adequately addressed.


Too many volunteers are unaware of their rights and responsibilities

Too often, and especially in the midst of an emergency, volunteers are mobilised with little time for complete briefings on their role and responsibilities, and on their rights and the risks they face. This leads to misunderstandings, frustrations and sometimes conflict. In the absence of a clear and unambiguous commitment to uphold the rights and responsibilities volunteers are less likely to understand their role, uphold their rights and take responsibility for their actions. National Society need to demonstrate their accountability to volunteers and also be clear on what they expect from volunteers.

2       Objective

The focus of the study will be on volunteering in urban and peri-urban settings (including informal settlements where relevant) in Africa, with a particular focus on volunteer rights and protection.


The study is meant to inform and facilitate a sharpening of DRC’s approach to supporting NSs with volunteer management and care, by learning from good practices as well as less successful efforts of supporting volunteering derived from our current partnerships and cooperation with movement platforms such as technical support to programmes, brokering networks and exchange visits, mentoring and partnership and Movement dialogue to name a few.  In addition, working with IFRC and ICRC are valuable approaches to voluntarism and protection of volunteers. The review will include the different modalities and examine the impact of these, as well as drawing from other organizations’ and actors’ experience and learning as relevant.


It is crucial to link the study to the DRC International Strategy, with the aim to test the hypotheses, assumptions and indicators stated herein against the reality on the ground.


The overall objective of this review is:


To provide recommendations for how DRC can better support NSs with volunteer management and care in urban and peri-urban contexts. This may include innovative solutions as well as suggested guidance in response to emerging challenges and trends.

3       scope of work

This study aims at analysing volunteer approaches in DRC partnerships, among others, to understand how DRC and the wider Movement practice and approach volunteering particularly in urban and peri-urban settings. A conflict ridden context (Juba) is included as well, as this poses specific challenges to volunteer protection, care and well-being. The broad framework of analysis will focus on the particular risks and vulnerabilities of volunteers in selected urban and peri-urban settings; how NS are currently equipped to manage these – and any gaps and / or lessons learned that can charter a way forward for improving DRC support to this area in response to emerging and predicted future trends.


More specifically, the study shall analyze the issue and concerns around volunteers’ rights and protection, caring for volunteers and the notion of legally insuring volunteers. This should take into consideration the safety, security and wellbeing of volunteers.


Guiding questions include:


  • What are the dominant characteristics and trends of volunteerism in urban and peri-urban settings (e.g. duration and nature of engagement; demographics of volunteers, motivating factors for different kinds of volunteers)?
  • What are current emerging lessons and promising practices around volunteer management and care in urban and peri-urban settings?
  • What needs to be done in order to better manage risks and protect volunteers working in urban and peri-urban settings? Are there differences in this between urban and peri-urban settings respectively? Do conflict settings require specific measures?
  • What factors support and/or hinder volunteer recruitment, care and retention in different urban areas including informal settlements?
  • Are there social barriers, stigma and underlying cultural aspects preventing potential volunteers to be part of the Movement?
  • How can we ensure a sustainable system for volunteer care and protection in terms of NS prioritizing, financing and budgeting for these activities?
  • How can DRC continue to improve its support to NSs in strengthening volunteer management and care?

4       Methodology

The methodology will comprise of a desk study, interviews and focus group discussions, possibly an e-survey, field visit, and tri-angulation of data during write-up.[3]


The study approach will be defined jointly between DRC and the consultant; however the following activities and methods have been tentatively included as anticipated components of the design:


Desk review

The desk review aims at getting an overview of what DRC has done/are doing in selected countries and partnerships as well as within the wider Movement in the area of volunteer management and care, across peri-urban and urban settings, and could also be relevant to compare to volunteer management and care practices in rural areas. A broad range of cases should be selected, giving an overview of the work and different approaches.


Relevant documents should be reviewed in order to map current approaches to support to urban and peri-urban volunteer management and care. The review will focus on contexts on the African continent where urbanisation is most rapid, and where DRC has long-term partnerships with substantial urban programmes. Experience from urban and peri-urban contexts within the wider RCRC Movement as well as organizations and actors outside the Movement should be included as relevant. For overview of suggested key documents, see the list of documents in section 8.


The desk review will map urban and peri-urban voluntarism modalities used (these may differ between urban and peri-urban), in order to get a sense of what characterises volunteerism in urban and peri-urban contexts (among others in terms of duration and type of engagement),  including focus areas i.e. service delivery, rights and protection of volunteers, caring for volunteers, capacity building, etc. In addition, the roles, responsibilities and required capacities of different departments[4] of DRC in the process will be examined as they relate to volunteer management and support to national society development.


The desk review will be an important first step in identifying current modalities, challenges and achievements within urban and peri-urban voluntarism and protection of volunteers. The desk review will as well include a review of literature on urban and peri-urban voluntarism including case studies, good practices and tools.


Key informant interviews

The interviews will include both face to face and skype dialogue, to get first hand input form relevant people, including DRC HQ staff and field staff on regional and country levels, national and international advisors in DRC, among DRC partners, volunteers as well as other Movement and non-Movement actors as relevant.


Web based survey

This can be considered in order to reach out to more people if it is deemed relevant to get feedback from many on certain topics. The e-survey should focus on a few aspects only.


Case study/Field visits (including interviews and focus group discussions)

Field visits should be undertaken in minimum two or three countries/cases to meet DRC staff, NS partners and especially volunteers. The review will focus on Kenya (Nairobi, Mombasa and Nyeri), Madagascar (Antananarivo), South Sudan (Juba) and Guinea (Conakry) where DRC has long-term partnerships with urban and peri-urban focused programmes. Furthermore, other contexts within or outside the Red Cross Movement in these or other countries could be included as relevant. The final list of countries will be decided upon in the Technical Working Group. Some case studies can be conducted from HQ while others will require travel.


Validation and triangulation

The consultant should validate info in debriefing sessions before leaving countries and triangulates data during the write up.


The study should as well clearly link to ICRC tools such as Safer Access Framework (SAF) and Beneficiary Communication (Ben Com), which are specific tools developed to guide the process of enabling trust in local, often conflict or tension ridden contexts.

5       Deliverables

Based on the scope and methodologies outlined above, the review will result in a study report comprising:

  • Mapping and analysis of current DRC volunteer management tools, approaches and systems in international contexts.
  • Highlighting and analysis of achievements and challenges.
  • An overview of best practices and strengths both within and outside the RCRC Movement that could form part of future support to urban voluntarism.
  • Overview of and processes needed of achieving capacities, tools, systems etc., which are crucial for a National Society in a given urban and /or peri-urban context to adequately manage, protect and care for its volunteers.
  • Recommendations for improved approaches to volunteer management, protection and care in urban settings.
  • The above recommendations will be supplemented by an overview of assessed comparative advantages of DRC in facilitating volunteering in urban, peri-urban (including conflict ridden (Juba)) contexts.
  • Document evidence based practices – including exploring what studies /data already exist. 

6       responsibilities and indicative timing*




Working days






Finalise study   design (jointly with DRC OD Advisor)


1,5 days


Desk review



4 days


Case studies could include in-country   visits for interviews, questionnaires and/or skype interviews

-         Kenya RC HQ & branches   (briefings and interviews with key informants)

-         South Sudan RC HQ &   branches (briefings and interviews with key informants)

-         Madagascar HQ & branches   (briefings and interviews with key informants)

-         Guinea HQ & branches (briefings   and interviews with key informants)


16 days   incl. travels




2 days




1 day


Draft   report, documentation


6 days


Feedback   and comments




Final   report, documentation


2 days


* The timing is to be finalized in consultation with the consultant based on the approach and methodology suggested by the consultant.

7       Team composition

The deliverables will be performed by an external consultant.


Close cooperation with the DRC focal point for the review should be expected. A student assistant will be allocated to support parts of the assignment (e.g. survey).


A DRC Technical Working Group will advise and supervise the work of the consultant. The Technical Working Group will consist of:

-       International Support Services Dept.: Ms. Louise Piel Mckay, Protection and Humanitarian Diplomacy advisor; Ms. Simone Marie Charley, MEAL advisor; Ms. Jeanette Bækmark, OD Advisor

-       International Programmes Dept.: Ms. Kristin Skov-Spilling, Head of International Programmes; Ms. Pia Lorentzen, desk officer East Africa (Kenya, South Sudan); Ms. Pie Mark Meulenkamp, desk officer West Africa (Madagascar); Ms. Elise Bjerkrheim, desk officer West Africa (Guinea), Ms. Signe Yde-Andersen, Head of East Africa Region; Mr. Frode Kirk, Head of West Africa Region

-       IFRC PS Centre (situated in DRC HQ): Ms. Louise Vinther-Larsen

-       Disaster Management Dept.: Ms. Lisbet Elvekjær, Humanitarian Coordinator

-       National Dept.: Ms. Christina Rasmussen, National Development Advisor


The DRC focal point for the study and consultancy will be Jeanette Bækmark, Organisational Development Advisor, International Support Dept. 

8       Documents

Various documents will inform the Volunteering study:


  • DRC International Strategy 2015-2020
  • DRC Frame application 2015-18
  • DRC Country Strategies 2015-2020 (Kenya, Madagascar, South Sudan)
  • DRC Guidance Note on Humanitarian Diplomacy, 2017
  • DRC Guidance Note on Psychosocial Support, 2017
  • DRC Guidance Note on Youth and Volunteers as change agents, 2017 (draft)
  • MTR: Development of a Strategic Partnership between ICRC, DRC and National RCRC Societies, April 2013
  • Global Review on Volunteering Report, IFRC 2015
  • Framework for Action for Volunteering, IFRC 2016
  • Volunteering Plan of Action Preparatory Meeting Report, IFRC, Japanese RC, Norwegian RC, 2016
  • Selected programme documents, MTRs, final evaluations and PPRs.
  • DRC Partnership and Programme Management Guide on international portal:
  • DRC strategic guidance page on international portal:
  • Urban Risk Reduction in Nairobi informal settlements, evaluation 2015 and workshop papers 2017
  • EU application report, Addressing health related poverty among disadvantaged and vulnerable women and children in Mombasa Tudor Urban slums
  • Becoming Urban Humanitarians - Engaging Local Government to Protect Displaced People. Caroline Wanjiku-Kihato, Loren Landau, Jean Pierre Misago, David Obot, Ben Edwards. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Nurru Kampala, Urban Institute. August 2016. Published by Urban Institute, 2016
  • Stealth Humanitarianism: Negotiating Politics, Precarity and Performance Management in Protecting the Urban Displaced. Caroline Wanjiku-Kihato, Loren Landau. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, July 2016. Published by Oxford University Press, 2016

 Additionally, relevant donor policies and guidelines include:

  • The World 2030 – Denmark’s Development and Humanitarian Strategy, 2017
  • Civil Society Policy, Danida, 2014-2020
  • Resource Allocation Model (RAM), Resource Allocation to Danish Framework Organizations Danida 2017
  • Civil Society Strategy, Danida 2016

 9       Application process

The consultancy including these ToR are posted on the net and shared within the RCRC Movement network, on basis of which interested and qualified candidates are invited to apply.


Interested candidates should send their CV incl. references and a maximum 5 pages technical proposal outlining the approach and proposed methodology, timeline and budget for the assignment on the link provided in the assignment post on the website.


Any questions to the assignment can be directed to Jeanette Baekmark, International OD advisor, Danish Red Cross on or +45 2974 1715

[1] Based on DRC International Strategy 2015-2020

[2] IFRC Global Review on Volunteering (2015)

[3] For tools on caring for volunteers data collection, please look in the IFRC PS Centre handbook for relevant tools that can be adapted. There are quite a few existing tools.

[4] HQ IP/IS/DMD, HoR, Country office

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