As global economies increasingly prioritize sustainable development, community engagement and volunteerism have emerged as powerful tools to shape and build more equal and inclusive societies. According to the United Nations (UN), more than one billion people volunteer globally to ensure food security, support health and education initiatives, and drive inclusivity, equality and economic growth.

The upcoming Global Black Impact Summit (GBIS) – taking place on February 27 in Dubai – will spotlight community engagement and volunteerism as catalysts for positive social change. Under the theme, Black Excellence: Unleashing the Unexplored Potential for Global Unity, GBIS 2024 inspires individuals and organizations to become agents of positive change in their communities by volunteering and participating in community programs.

GBIS – hosted by the Black Impact Foundation and organized by Energy Capital and Power – is an annual event that seeks to celebrate the achievements of the Black community, promote excellence, and explore untapped potential across various fields. This year’s summit is set to be a transformative experience, featuring influential speakers, engaging panel discussions, and networking opportunities that empower attendees to reach new heights. To sponsor or participate as a delegate, please contact [email protected].

Empowering Local Voices for Policy Change

Volunteerism, according to the Ayobami Bolorunde Foundation, is instrumental in empowering local communities to advocate for policy change at the national level. The process ensures that the needs, concerns and dynamics of local communities are addressed comprehensively through policy reforms. In the U.S., organizations like the Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley facilitate community engagement, thereby ensuring policymakers are not only informed about community perspectives, but also held accountable for addressing them through effective policy adjustments.

Harnessing Local Knowledge for Energy Sustainability

Community engagement is at the forefront of sustainable development. The U.N. emphasizes that it is also crucial for bolstering the implementation of climate action initiatives and ensuring a just energy transition. Communities possess knowledge on environmental challenges faced within their neighborhoods and regions. In this regard, community engagement and volunteer work can play pivotal roles in harnessing this expertise, while developing and adopting appropriate strategies for environmental sustainability and inclusive development.

Empowering the Local Workforce

Community engagement and volunteerism offer further benefits such as skill development, community cultivation and experiential learning, equipping individuals from across various communities with the necessary skills to prepare for and access the global job market. The significance of community engagement and volunteerism transcends mere participation – it serves as a conduit for empowerment, solidarity and resilience. Through acts of service and collaboration, individuals can effect tangible change, forge enduring connections and foster stronger, more vibrant communities. At GBIS 2024, delegates will have the opportunity to engage in discussions and connect with speakers, activists and community leaders to explore avenues for making a difference in their communities through volunteerism.