From Informal to Formal: Features of Volunteering in Arab Countries

  • Viacheslav A. Ivanov National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
  • El Sayed El Eryan Nonprofit Association "International Organization for Volunteerism"


The paper examines the potential of Arab volunteers in solving social problems in their communities. Conceptually, volunteering is viewed as both part of social participation and a form of helping behavior. The research is based on the analysis of data from an online survey conducted among adult volunteers from 20 countries in the North Africa, Middle East, and Gulf regions. These countries include Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories. The study identifies distinctive features of Arab volunteers engaged in diverse forms of helping behavior, including their social, demographic, and other characteristics. Remarkably, Arab volunteers showed the same level of trust at both near and far social distances, which distinguishes them from Russian volunteers. The findings suggest that there is a positive environment for the further development of formal volunteering in the Arab world. It has been found that targeted government support has significantly contributed to the development of the culture of volunteering and building its infrastructure in countries of the Arab region.

Author Biographies

Viacheslav A. Ivanov, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Viacheslav A. Ivanov, Cand. Sci. (Physics and Mathematics), Chief Expert of the Center for Studies of the Nonprofit Sector and Civil Society, HSE University. He is an internationally recognized expert in nonprofits, philanthropy, volunteerism, and sustainable development. He is a member of the "Research on Volunteering" international network, which studies volunteerism as a modality for peace, poverty eradication, and sustainable development. Viacheslav A. Ivanov has authored 20 academic publications in social and economic sciences and 31 publications in engineering. His most recent publication: Ivanov, V. A. Trends in the Development of Volunteering in Foreign Countries, in I. V. Mersianova (Ed.), Organization of Volunteer Activities and Interaction With Socially Oriented NGOs: Textbook (2022).

El Sayed El Eryan, Nonprofit Association "International Organization for Volunteerism"

El Sayed El Eryan, professional journalist and international expert in volunteerism and social entrepreneurship, the Founder and President of the International Organization for Volunteerism, a nonprofit association for global cooperation between volunteers based on authentic Arab traditions of community cohesion and cooperation (2020–present), and a member of the International Association for Volunteer Effort. For his professional achievements, social impact, and networking contributions, he has received multiple international awards and certificates of recognition.

How to Cite
Ivanov, V., & El Eryan, E. (2024). From Informal to Formal: Features of Volunteering in Arab Countries. Changing Societies & Personalities, 8(1), 93–107. doi:10.15826/csp.2024.8.1.265