Cuso International Nigeria Program Office in Calabar in Collaboration with Lead Inspire & Transform (LIT) and Project 2031 Nigeria successfully held its maiden 2015 UN International Volunteers Day by holding a seminar on the theme “Your world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!”,
The event, which was attended by over 200 participants comprising of young people from Cross River State, community based organizations, local and international organizations, the media and other civil society organizations witnessed a series of interactive and fun-filled activities, including drama performance by young girls from “Girls Power Initiative”, on the relevance and outcome of volunteerism
The event started with a welcome address by Mr. Ferdinand Dapaah, Project Director of Cuso International, Calabar Nigeria. He used to occasion to commend the planning committee of IVD and how volunteerism forms part of Cuso’s ultimate goal. Mr. Dapaah emphasized on the important contribution that volunteers and volunteer based organization contribute to economic growth and national development. The UN Sustainable Development Goals according to Mr. Dapaah could best be attained when government all over the world actively engages the efforts of both skilled and unskilled volunteers. Cuso International, he mentioned have over the years utilized the services of highly skilled volunteers to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges facing humanity, such as poverty and hunger.
Mr. Iso Bassey, Executive Director of Lead Inspire & Transform (LIT) delivered the Keynote Address, which was on the theme; “Volunteering for Social Change: What is your Role”? Mr. Bassey explained what volunteering is within a social context; as the culture of participating in project, programmes or activities that provides common good and for which an individual is not necessarily the object direct benefit.
To climax the day’s event, a panel discussion from resources persons who have over the years been volunteering and offering their expertise to advance the cause of humanity was held. The panel included: Ms. Basse Sam (VSO), Mr. Kwame Anane Frempong (Cuso International Volunteer), Mr. Samuel Segun (Project 2031 Nigeria) and Ms. Ukeme Ekon (Girls Power Initiative). The discussion inspired and thrilled the participants with forty minutes of life changing experiences and also took time to answer series of thought provoking questions from the moderator and participants at large. Some of the questions that came up were:
• What does volunteerism mean to you?
• Why do you volunteer?
• What has volunteering done for you in terms of personal development or career building?
• What role does volunteerism play in achieving things like the newly UN SDGs?
• What is the social impact of volunteerism?
Be part of the change in the community volunteering to support people living in your community distributing clothes to men, women and children living in the community caught in the cycle of poverty. Trippinz Care Mission Volunteers is a community organization in Nigeria.
IVD 2015 celebration was held in Kaalfontein, an informal settlement near Midrand. The organizing committee identified the NGO- Tswaranang Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Centre to partner with from the community of Kaalfontein which has many other NGOs. Tswaranang OVC is a volunteer staffed NGO and has been serving the community for 10 years and has close relations with the Department of Social Development.
A gathering was planned at Tswarang OVC where the planning committee (UNV, JICA, NYDA), Tswaranang staff, orphaned youth from the center and serving volunteers from JICA and UNV met for programme debrief and painting of the facility. The group travelled to the community secondary school (Penelopele/ Oracle) where the main festivities where planned and greeted with venue filled with community members of all ages and NGOs, civil society representative, and the UNDP country Director Mr. Walid Badawi.
The opening of the event was graced by a an opening song by the nursery school children from Tswaranang OVC. Mr. Lineo Rasegwane welcomed the audience with a short story on volunteerism in the South African context and history and a poem.
The International Volunteer Day 2015, was conducted in the municipality of Aracruz, Espirito Santo, Brazil, by GOTAIS NGO - World Reserve Fund for Water, with the full participation of 200 volunteers. They were served 64 needy children in the region, with medical and dental care, totally free.
Volunteer Anwar Almashwali performed a stand-up comedy session in Yemen, in which he compared between positive and negative acts in the community and wrong understandings about volunteerism.
Anwar sarcastically demonstrated how many people in the society have wrong understanding of volunteerism. He clarified the point that volunteerism is acting for the betterment of the society and others without expecting a monetary reward.
Three of youth volunteers in Yemen sang a song about hope and volunteerism. The song expressed the fact that volunteerism gives hope for a better tomorrow. This small band of volunteers has been using music to advocate the importance of volunteerism.
The UNV Regional Manager, Tapiwa Kamuruko joined the Uganda Field Unit for the 2015 IVD celebrations where they participated in a 3kms march crowned by a market cleaning exercise. They also donated cleaning equipment to the market officials for future use. Mr. Kamuruko gave radio and newspaper interviews on the importance of volunteerism the in communities.
On the occasion of International Volunteer Day (IVD) 2015, UNV and voluntary associations in the DR Congo, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), had the opportunity to promote their contribution to peace and development efforts by initiating activities in eight regions across the country. Activities ranging from a social youth entrepreneurship workshop to an awareness and a sensitization campaign on water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) in a refugee camp were able to mobilize around 1.500 participants.
In addition, the National Volunteering Secretariat, in charge of coordinating volunteer activities in the country, as well as France Volontaires, CUSO International and Goma volunteer platform joined the celebration. These celebrations wouldn’t have been possible without the participation, enthusiasm and commitment of the UNV Youth volunteers, national and international UNV volunteers.