ANIMATING THE ANIMATORS: IDENTIFYING CHARACTERISTICS, MOTIVATIONS, AND CHALLENGES FOR HIGH-PERFORMING VOLUNTEERS
The Hunger Project (THP) aims to end hunger and poverty by pioneering and advocating for sustainable, grassroots, and women-centered strategies in developing countries across the globe. There are nearly 400,000 THP volunteers-or “animators”-worldwide, and they are at the core of the organization's work. A Capstone team researched animators' characteristics, motivations, and challenges for increased understanding of their core human capital. The team traveled to Senegal and Uganda to observe meetings and conduct focus group interviews with animators, animator leadership, and local THP staff. The team also created a case study of Bangladesh as a high-performing site and sent written surveys to the remaining nine countries where THP has a presence. Values such as pride, empowerment, and love of community were among key motivations for animators, while transportation and community mobilization were major challenges. In addition to a report synthesizing their findings, the team created an assessment tool, a focus group, and an interview guide to help inform THP's work with animators.