Paid professional roles will always be essential but we seem to undervalue the role of volunteers, service users and local communities; seeing them as simply consumers and not co-producers of great public services. In boosting citizen participation and volunteering in public services, we at VADO have developed a feasible service delivery approach to support our public and private establishments to integrate volunteerism into their administrative and managerial systems.
Volunteers provide ancillary services that an establishment could not otherwise have provided, whereas paid staff provide the core business of the establishment. Our Service Window strategy advocates for a shift to people-powered services across government establishments. To achieve this change, our political leaders and top public service officials must have the right tools and approaches to embed civic participation in service delivery models; whereby public services must shift to be delivered with people, not to people.
However, good examples of people-powered services far too often remain on the fringes, rather than as the norm. We need a large-scale cultural shift: a change in attitudes towards the role of public services and perceptions about how public services should be driven. VADO uses this initiative to secure and promote practical ideas and actions that could unleash the untapped developmental potentials amongst Nigerian youths, which could be acquired or contracted from the identified public service windows below to create additional service opportunities for Nigerian citizens.