Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2011 Volume 7 :: Article 11
2011 Volume 7, Article 11
Religion and Volunteering in Four Sub-Saharan African Countries

Author: Meredith J. Greif (Georgia State University), Amy Adamczyk (City University of New York), and Jacob Felson (William Paterson University)

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ABSTRACT

Much research has examined the relationship between religion and civic engagement, finding that more religious people are more likely to donate their time, energy, and money to community organizations. The overwhelming majority of the quantitative research on the relationship between religion and civic engagement has been done in Europe and North America. However, we know that many people living in sub-Saharan Africa volunteer their time, and because of the many economic, social, and health problems that plague the continent, the need for local volunteers is particularly acute. This article uses data from the 2000 World Values Survey and multivariate regression models to examine which dimensions of religion are associated with unpaid involvement in caregiving and political organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. Special attention is given to the role of gender for understanding who volunteers for caregiving and political organizations. The findings show that socializing with religious friends is associated with an increased likelihood of volunteering for both types of organizations and that religious importance is associated with a greater likelihood of caregiver volunteering. Conversely, religious importance and service attendance are associated with a lower likelihood of volunteering for political organizations. As expected, women are more likely to volunteer for caregiving organizations and men are more likely to volunteer for political organizations.

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