Woman hands holding piece of cardboard with words Volunteers Needed against brick wall background.


Volunteer work is an integral part of our society. Education is undoubtedly one of the most important sectors in any country. The quality of education a country provides decides the social, political, and economic growth of the country. However, education doesn’t just mean getting a degree and/or going to a fancy school. Being aware of one’s social context and privilege and doing their part for their community is just as important. We see currently a number of incredibly talented, educated, and motivated people coming forward to volunteering.

These organisations and the people helping run them all began their work as ‘volunteers’. They are trying to do their bit and trying to be the change they wanted to see in society.

Why Volunteer?

In India there are a plethora of ‘educated’ people who are unable to find the jobs. T\ they want or have the social impact they wish to create. On the other hand, there are also a plethora of organisations that are doing meaningful work . They need more helping hands from committed, hardworking, and talented people.  Thus, there is a gap that needs to be filled and this is where volunteering comes in. Volunteering is a good way to get a hang of the social development sector.

The volunteering helps the student decide the kind of social impact they want to have in their career. This helps to make informed career decisions in the future regarding what kind of roles they wish to take on. It connects talented individuals with organisations looking for such individuals. They can work together at least on a project basis or in the short term.

What is the development sector?

This is the sector that house NGOs, Co-Op societies, civil societies, activists, and social welfare groups. They address issues such as climate change, poverty, marginalisation, and social prejudice. Today there is a massive inequality in terms of wealth but also in terms of access to basic services. The in equality extends to education, healthcare, government processes and judicial services. Thus, various independent actors work with the Government at various levels to help these people or help the environment.

In 2021 this is a large sector that is rapidly growing. There are around 16000 well recognised and documented issues in India. There are over 75000 organisations working in this space. That even a small contribution can make a massive difference in the life of a family.

Role and Impact of the Development Sector

Today we are seeing some highly creative minds working on the problems mentioned above. These people are proving that it is possible to build a sustainable, fulfilling, and impactful career in the development sector. NGOs are using young talented individuals in building bonds with larger companies to work in a specific problem. Same volunteer later working with a bank or a consulting firm to solve a different problem. There is a great intersection between different fields in this sector because the problems in the real world are interdisciplinary. Therefore, the solutions to these problems can also come from such viewpoints. This sector also sees unparalleled innovation on a constant basis. Innovation is using biodegradable materials to build menstrual cups, helps women in rural areas access to menstrual hygiene.

Operationally this also means that the people involved in this line of work have an experience like few other people. They develop unique problem-solving abilities by working with bureaucracy, new technologies. They work with a wide range of people, all from different backgrounds. This is the most required skill today.

Who are the various players in this sector?

1.       NGOs

NGOs or Non-Governmental Organizations are bodies that work in a chosen field (such as sanitation). They help take up the cause of a group of people and represent them to local authorities. They work independently of the Government, as their name suggests. Likewise, they are pivotal players in this sector. NGOs can further be either funding NGOs or implementation NGOs, and sometimes they can even fulfil both roles. They can also be different in terms of the issues that they work towards. Some NGOs work for towards helping fight Violence Against Women, women’s rights, child marriage, polygamy, and such issues. They also could work on the issue of Human Rights and Entitlements. They work towards the constitutional rights even to those citizens who are currently left out of the loop.

2.       Civil Societies

These are groups of different kinds of people which aim to identify social and structural issues. They find ways to solve them locally. They may either do so by approaching local authorities or they may take the help of NGOs and other organisations.

3.       Consultancies

These are not directly involved in social development work. They act as middlemen in helping to connect people in distress to the right NGO or CSO. Sometimes, they may also work in collaboration with NGOs in order to solve a specific project.

Who can join to Volunteer?

As mentioned previously students and young adults of all backgrounds will find their place in this sector. There is a requirement for people with qualifications and experience in social sciences. Some professionals from fields like marketing, communications, finance, etc. In these areas, people from the corporate sector are also welcome. In many NGOs It is also common to find engineering graduates, MBA graduates and people from similar backgrounds. Fundamentally, bright individuals who have an interest in social welfare are required. The problems of today require different approaches and skill sets to be tackled. Thus, it helps to have a group of people with diverse backgrounds and personalities.

It is important to remember however, that there are also educational opportunities in this sector.

Education in Development

The development sector is creating jobs for a lot of people. There are some skills that can formally be learned in case a student is determined to work in this sector. Consequently, a number of reputed Indian universities are offering courses in this field.

Some of the institutes which provides such courses are:

  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (TISS) (Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, etc.)
  • Dept of Social Work Delhi University, New Delhi.
  • Dept of Social Work, Jamia Millia, New Delhi.
  • Madras School of Social Work.
  • Loyola College of Social Science.
  • College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan.
  • Karve institute of Social service.
  • Roda Mistry College of Social work.
  • IIT Guwahati
  • IGNOU, New Delhi
  • IIT Madras
  • Amity University
  • IIT Mandi
  • NIT Rourkela

The social welfare space and the development sector is a great space for all students and graduates.  Most importantly, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to use one’s skills to help other people in a very direct way. There is also a constant demand for new entrants into this space. Students who have an interest to work in social welfare this is good to enter the field.

At Confluence, we provide you with the opportunity of learning about active players in the field. We can leverage our extensive network of NGOs to find one that’s a good fit for you. In areas like agriculture and farming is a great springboard for young people looking to start a new rewarding journey.

Volunteering is a wonderful and satisfying either a short internship or a job or for an entrepreneur

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