Volunteering is a Social Responsibility
Social responsibility has gained momentum as an ethical concept that, once adopted, can have a positive impact on the public interest. Like globalization, CSR has almost become an integrated theory in the social sciences. Numerous books, seminars and international scientific forums have discussed CSR and its impact on the financial classification of major companies. Anti-globalization movements addressed its economic, social, cultural and political dimensions at the annual Davos Meeting of the World Economic Forum, which is attended by international organizations including the World Trade Organization. Green groups have emerged as a direct reaction to the lack of commitment by companies and businesses to CSR in their investments, especially in the countries of the developing world.
Whatever the case, volunteering is a humanitarian initiative that complements official efforts in meeting diverse humanitarian needs, in light of multiple dangers that beset humanity, due to its impact on the areas of environmentprotection, poverty, the spread of disease, peace-building, preventing war and other conflicts, climate change, the fight against human trafficking, illegal drugs, and defending the rights of laid-off workers, and supporting vulnerable groups, among many other issues. In addressing these factors, volunteers have become tools of change.
Volunteers – whether groups, individuals or corporate – should embrace the values, ethics, standards and behaviors that promote the interests of the target groups. Volunteering has been endorsed by all cultures and societies throughout the ages. It has taken different forms and names, drawing its strength from the ethical and cultural heritage of the larger community in question.
Therefore, volunteers must respect this heritage of values, never rising above target groups, violating their rights and cultural sensitivities or exploiting their needs. Volunteers must have an acute ethical sense of social responsibility that orients their vision, approach, choices, judgments and preferences. Volunteering should never become a source of financial gain.
Today, the growing need for volunteers is a result of the many economic, social and environmental concerns surrounding sustainable development. Volunteers are more involved now with local and global issues. All over the world, volunteers have demonstrated an honest tendency to do good, to serve their fellow human beings and help to solve their problems, regardless of kinship, cultural barriers, geographic boundaries, or ethnic, sectarian, religious or political considerations. We conclude that social responsibility is at the heart of volunteering, which has become a global trend for meeting needs and driving change and development. Volunteering alleviates some of the burden on governments and complements their development initiatives.
Volunteers must work for the benefit of society as a whole. This is only possible when the best CSR practices and ethics are adopted, to maintain balance between personal judgments and tendencies, and the rules of social responsibility. This is not restricted to corporate volunteers, but to each individual whose actions impact their peers, their society and their environment.
Islam instructs Muslims to protect and preserve the environment. Even in times of war, it restrains cutting down trees or polluting water resources. Let us not forget what the Prophet Mohamed (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) says: ‘If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.… This is the ultimate social responsibility towards men, life and universe.