(Thunder Bay - March 12, 2004) The voluntary sector of the region of Northwestern Ontario faces challenges and opportunities that are unique and can offer insight into the nature of volunteering in rural and remote locations, says Lakehead University researcher Dr. Doug West.
Dr. West is directing the Thunder Bay Voluntary Sector Research Evaluation Project (TBVSERP), which is designed to provide leadership and guidance for research into management and evaluation of the voluntary sector in Northwestern Ontario.
"This region is subject to a number of unique economic and demographic variables which include consistent youth out-migration, economic dependency on boom and bust natural resource markets, and a significant growth among the indigenous population in the region," says Dr. West.
West, who is also the Chair of Lakehead's Political Science Department, adds that anecdotal evidence suggests that the voluntary sector in this region is under-funded and therefore under-resourced to be able to achieve the full range of activities with regard to evaluation.
"This research will provide an overview of the activities of the sector in this region. It will focus specifically on voluntary organization evaluation, networking, partnership building, and community research capacity building among the various voluntary sector organizations, both Native and non-Native, and the major research institution of the region at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. The value for TBVSERP will be in our ability to build on the knowledge that the national VSERP project has generated, and to participate in the national COI and in other national VSERP 'connecting' activities."
TBVSERP will be presenting a workshop from April 16 to April 17. The Keynote Speaker will be Paula Speevak-Sladowski, Managing Director of the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research & Development at Carleton University, who will present "Voluntary Sector Evaluation: Where Do We Go From Here?" The workshop will be at the University in ATAC, Room 5035.
The project is a partner project with Volunteer Thunder Bay and the Lakehead Social Planning Council - Community Information and Referral Centre. For more information, visit www.vserp.ca.
For more information on the Project or workshop, Dr. West is available by calling 807-343-8304 or 807-768-7827.
Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, Lakehead University, 343-8177.