This profile was prepared when Nadine Naidoo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Nadine is reviving the culture of citizen service in South Africa by using a range of tools and services that narrow the gap between idealism and practical expression. She has observed that, though there is a strong willingness to engage in community development, the absence of efficient systems that provide appropriate information and incentive schemes to counter inhibiting factors deflates initial enthusiasm of interested people. She is therefore developing information mediums that close the gap between citizen service organizations and the general public and revealing a wealth of potential opportunities. She has launched a virtual database (http://www.volunteer.co.za/) that matches volunteers with opportunities and is in the process of delinking the database from the Internet to enable those without access to benefit from the information. Recognizing that economic consideration is one of the greatest barriers to entry in volunteering in poor communities, she is engaging a variety of stakeholders to offer financial recompense and other forms of recognition that yield returns in the future.