National Community Service Week – St. Lucia 2013Written by Administrator VAC
Community Service Unit
BACKGROUND The Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community has a rich history of community development stemming from as early as the pre-slavery era which was based on community solidarity initiated to a large extend by the primitive life which existed at the time. The emergence of the myriad of social issues which plagued the country and the Caribbean in general at that time (particularly during the post 1930s – period of great depressions, labour rebellions of the 1960s and the advent of the then Moyne Commission) the welfare state made its grand appearance modeled upon the British systems. Therefore, for Saint Lucia, there is a close link between the formation of the Social Welfare and Community Development.
The early 1970s and 1980s marked significant strides in the formative years of recovery and social reform. It was deemed the period of change – Revolutionary period. It was a period of national identity and a decade of development (economic change, women development and empowerment, formation of education policies, employment, youth work, and local government). Therefore there was great emphasis on responding to the increasing need for social help – political independence in 1979; establishment of a welfare unit in 1980, maintaining physical infrastructure, land use planning and development control, provision of sanitation services, maintenance of recreational facilities and open spaces, regulating areas of public assembly coupled with numerous other events and functions which gave a face to community development.
At the core of all what was happening during these periods, volunteerism was what really transformed this nation and today we as a people can now realize and embrace the significance of what shaped us as Saint Lucians.
As we wholesomely embrace the paradigm shifts in social development, it is imperative that we seek to harness the attributes and virtues which cemented our people during these formative years. It is ever so cognizant that they be rewarded immensely for hard work and dedication. INTRODUCTION - The immense contribution that St. Lucians make towards local economic and social development through peace building and the promotion of sustainable development is often not significantly highlighted or recognized as having value in nation building. In applauding the efforts of volunteers and their commitment, dedication and impact, the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment, will observe a National Community Service Week (NCSW) from November 30, 2013 to December 8, 2013.
This is in keeping with the United Nations’ (UN) annual observance of the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5. (Established through resolution on December 17, 1985 – A/RES/40/212). This day is also known as International Volunteer Day (IVD) and provides volunteers around the world with an opportunity to make their contributions to economic and social development at local, national, regional and international levels.
In delivering a message for the IVD 2012, Secretary-General of the United Nations – Mr. Ban Ki-moon stated:
“Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all
cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time and skills
without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a
singular sense of purpose.” JUSTIFICATION Since the country poverty assessment (2005), there is evidence to suggest that there is a deterioration of the social capital in St. Lucia. Recognizing the is a detachment between the individual and the community as well as a continuing dependency on the public sector to meet all the needs of community, it is necessary to initiate activities that encourage communities to identify needs and present the solutions. A National Community Service Day (NCSD) is intended to heighten public awareness of voluntary contributions and demonstrate a common purpose with a commitment to make a difference. Activities undertaken on this day are expected to promote the impact of volunteerism and help achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. It is anticipated that projects and events for NCSD 2013 will include, but is not limited to poverty reduction/ eradication projects, promote gender equality, empower the marginalized, and help promote environmentally sustainable activities. By bringing attention to causes and issues local people will be simultaneously participating in actions for the solutions they seek – “We are being the change we seek”. Local people will engage in activities to take measures that improve awareness of the important contribution of volunteer service and thus stimulate persons from all walks of life to offer their services as volunteers. This national day of observance, is an ideal opportunity to bring your community into action for service. It affords a valuable chance for community groups and organizations to demonstrate how a unified approach can help in meeting local needs by utilizing human resource capacity available on a continual basis. NCSD also provides a wonderful day to engage the local media about the positive things that are happening in the community.
By being involved in activities as volunteers, persons help to strengthen the capacities of community organizations and presents evidence of the difference that volunteers can make to peace and sustainable development projects where they share their time, skills and expertise and thereby contribute to positive growth.
1.1 Objectives/ Goals:
i. Providing opportunities for the promotion of volunteerism and community development practice ii. Increase public awareness which is at the core of the mandate of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment
iii. Create a favourable environment that facilitates the appropriate synergies for human and social capital 1.2 Project Components: i) Identification and implementation of community projects through collaboration with the
respective Local Government Constituency Councils,
“Time donation.” This refers to a campaign that involve people pledging hours of voluntary service (as opposed to monetary contributions) towards the achievement of specific projects or community activities over a period of time. ii) Schedule of Community Events to commemorate International Volunteer Day (IVD) iii) Volunteer Awards for persons/ organizations in community development (the Minister’s
Award) Community awards, individual awards iv) Public Participation and Awareness Program
• School Activities for promoting volunteerism
• Lectures/ Panel Discussions/ Town Hall Meetings
• Businesses launching voluntary programs as part of their corporate
social responsibility. 1.3 Benefits
i. Empowerment of communities ii. Increase in rate of implementation of community projects iii. Contribute to poverty reduction which stems from citizen inaction
iv. Promote of social inclusion v. Adoption of the rights based approach in community development practice Expected Results i. Communities will be empowered through project implementation process
ii. Increase in community participation in responding to community needs
iii. Greater collaboration between Local Government Constituency Councils and civil society
iv. Improved visibility of the public profile of the Ministry’s roles, functions and responsibilities
v. Honouring of community organizations will engender increases in civic consciousness.
vi. Promote volunteerism as a means to develop character and promote sustainability of community groups Target Beneficiaries Community Organizations