Its not a real word I know but the principle of a ‘volunteam’ is an interesting one.
I’ve been visiting a relief project in Morocco that is building new homes for widows and the very poor following the earthquake in 2004. Incredibly over 5 years after 12,000 homes were destroyed an enormous number of people are still trying to survive without a home in the hills around Al Hoceima.
A core team of local builders and labourers work throughout the year rebuilding simple single story earthquake resistant homes. Due to the remote position, all of the work is done by hand without machinery.
Volunteer teams from Northern Ireland and the USA travel to Al Hoceima for a week at a time throughout the summer to help clear rubble, dig foundations and mix cement.
Despite tough working conditions, a torturous journey and no pay, many teams return year after year because they get such a kick out of being part of a team with such a tangible mission.
While they work they get to meet the widows, orphans and subsistance farmers that will be living in the home that they are building, which really helps to clarify the purpose of their efforts.
It is interesting to contrast how a group of people can become so motivated simply by working to a clear goal and meeting the end user. Now there’s something western managers could learn from Moroccan builders.