Makhaza and Nyanga branch assistants Zukile and Asanda attended an Effective Volunteer Management Training workshop which was held by Volunteer Centre at Claremont Library.   This course is developed for managers/coordinators of volunteers to assist them in strengthening their management and support systems for their local and international volunteers. They also help organisations and their volunteers to understand their roles and responsibilities and expectations. 

After these 3 days I realised that it is very important to treat volunteers well and make sure they happy. The value of the volunteers cannot be measured. Their contribution is critical to organisations operations and activities. One of the things I really enjoyed about the training is that our organisation IkamvaYouth is already doing all the things organisation should do to make sure that the volunteers are recognised.  I learned the following things about tutor retention:

Training

Provide tutors with appropriate training, regular evaluation, and recognition. This means that all the tutors should get a training on how to be good tutor, what to do? And what is not needed to do.

Support and supervision

Regular opportunities for support and supervision are important and can help to identify, and even prevent demotivation which can result in volunteers leaving the organisation. This means that the branch assistance has to make sure that he/ she manages the volunteers, making sure that they get all the material they need to tutor.  Also manage new tutors, by partnering them with old tutors.  Also make sure that all the tutors have a group of learners to tutor.  One of the things that cause tutors not to come back again is poor management.  If they do not get the learners to tutor they get bored and do not come back again.

Recognition

Once tutors are working within our organisation it is essential to maintain their motivation and enthusiasm if they are to be retained. Care must be taken to treat volunteers in such a way that they will want to stay with the organisation. Developing activities that meet volunteers individual needs, provide recognition and appreciation of their work and celebrate a sense of achievement will promote self-esteem, strengthen commitment and develop a feeling of belonging and loyalty to the organisation. At IkamvaYouth we already are rewarding our tutors, such as end of year ceremonies with certificates, tutor outings and employment opportunities.

I learn a lot from the course and I’ll be bringing a lot of the lessons to our Makhaza branch, especial making sure that we retained our tutors and show how much we value them.