Volunteering, workers, public administrations and third sector conflicts and opportunities

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Within the framework of the 'Postgraduate Course in Public Conflict Resolution and Mediation of the Community' of the University of Girona, passionate debates arise about the relationships between volunteers, employees, public administrations and the third sector with their conflicts and opportunities.

Ramón Bartomeus


Director of iWith.org Foundation.

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The subject of the Postgraduate Course on Conflict Resolution is not new and I am surprised that some views are embedded in each of the 4 points of view (volunteers, employees, public administrations and the third sector) without taking into account the limitations and needs of the three others. Also surprising is the ease with which the debate is addressed without counting on the beneficiaries, who are the real point of destination that establishes the reason for the debate.
We love it when we see volunteering based on the will to transform reality, and it bothers us when the accent is placed on gratuity or counter-benefits, because it distorts the essence and sows conflicts. We understand that with the professionalization of the sector there will be employees who simply change work for money, and we get excited when professionals are able to take care of their work to obtain a result that improves society.
Public administrations intervene directly or through the third sector and the two forms seem legitimate to us, although we observe that when decisions are made with criteria of costs and budgets we can be sowing dysfunctions in society. On the other hand, when the intervention is done with the voice and collaboration of the third sector, and decisions are made by putting the social benefit in the foreground, and renouncing some advantages, the results are excellent.
A good recipe for conflict prevention in this area leads to a volunteer with a desire to transform realities, which naturally intervenes for free, a third sector led by volunteers, which will naturally have a professional management, a workforce involved in the results that Naturally, they will receive decent salaries, an administration willing to modernize and understand that all actors can contribute and that they will naturally have to deal with the budget, and the next step is the involvement of the beneficiaries and the whole society in the improvement.
We can not continue thinking that the problems of our society are the responsibility of others.

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