Factors that affect retention and drop out of trained AIDS community volunteers: the case of Taso Jinja, Uganda
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Volunteers are important in extending social services to communities. The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) utilizes volunteers to complement several strategies in the provision of HIV and AIDS services. However, the retention of trained volunteers is a challenge to TASO and other organizations. This study examined the factors that affect retention and drop out of trained AIDS community volunteers in TASO, Jinja centre, Uganda. Specifically, it assessed the effect of volunteer training, motivation, support supervision and community support to volunteers on AIDS community volunteer dropout rate. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was adopted to collect information from 135 volunteers, and 5 key informants. Data processing and analysis was done using computer programmes. With the necessary regulatory approvals, the study was conducted in TASO Jinja, one of the oldest service centres, where TASO has been operating since 1992; stringent quality control measures were observed. Findings indicate that drop out was not due to training because 75% volunteers reported that the training was long enough and 61.2% volunteers said that the trainers were excellent. Volunteer drop out is mainly due poor facilitation and motivation, which accounts for 47.6% followed by unmet expectations. Drop out was also not related to supervision because 97.8% respondents reported that supervision was regular and feedback was often given; this was reported by 90.4%. Lower level local leaders and community members are supportive to ACWs, as reported by 80% respondents. The conclusion is that drop out of volunteers is due to poor facilitation, motivation and unmet expectation from TASO. Whereas community members knew that the work was voluntary, they did not stop to expect material benefits, allowances and jobs given the fact that they were dealing with TASO, an organization believed to rich.