Background to International Volunteers’ Day (IVD)
International Volunteers Day (IVD) is commemorated annually on 5th December, a day that was selected by the UN General Assembly in 1985 to celebrate and recognize the deeds of volunteers and volunteerism. IVD brings together Volunteer Involving Organizations (VIOs), UN Agencies, Government, corporate and the private sector, non-profit making organizations, community groups, individual volunteers and general public to embrace the spirit of giving back to the underprivileged and society as a whole. Further to that, it’s the time Organizations celebrate and showcase the achievements, appreciation and contributions of volunteers, and to promote volunteerism at a national and global level.
Volunteering empowers a lot of people to take part in development, to take responsibility for the needs of others and to make an impact in their own lives. The International Volunteers Day (IVD) offers UNV a unique opportunity to join the global effort in reinvigorating the spirit of volunteerism through enhanced recognition, facilitation, networking and promotion of volunteerism worldwide.
Theme for IVD 2012
The theme for this year was ‘Volunteer Action Counts’
International Day of Volunteers (IVD) targeted existing and potential volunteers: Government; UNDP and other UN Agencies involving volunteers; VIOs; Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); the private sector the general public.
The pre-launch speech was presented by the Deputy Minister in Charge of Community Development (Hon. Dorothy Kazunga) and was featured on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation TV (ZNBC) on 4th December 2012.
The Media Breakfast was held on 5th December 2012 and was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Minister in Charge of Community Development - Honourable Dorothy Kazunga; UNAIDS Country Coordinator - Ms. Helen Frary – representing the UN Resident Coordinator/Representative; VSO Regional Director – Ms. Donne Cameron and Mr. Philip Thomas – VSO Country Director; the Director Community Development – Mr. Henry Nkhoma; and the Director from Ministry of Health. Other key persons included Mrs. Sylvia Banda – CEO for Sylva Food Solutions and Ms. Jessica Grillo who presented inspirational talks on volunteerism.
Welcoming remarks were made by Mr. Henry Nkhoma; opening speech by Deputy Honourable Minister of Community Development – Mrs. Dorothy Kazunga; key concept note by ... VSO and key note speech by the UN Representative – Ms. Helen Frary. Each of the above speeches were highlighted by various media.
UNDP/UNV also used this very opportunity and platform to begin a Zambian conversation on ‘What is the Future we Want? Ms. Helen Frary in her capacity as UN Representative asked each member present to use the chance, lend their voices and influence the global process to shape the Future desired beyond-2015 [beyond-MDGs]. All members present were asked to provide their voices by answering what kind of future they wanted in a small leaflet (herein attached) and also to continue being part of the conversation in the dedicated online platforms.
Training women in financial literacy; market development and vegetable post – harvesting will commence on 12th – 14th December 2012. The training is a post – IVD activity as an appreciation to a group of women from Mapepe and Chilanga communities who have been voluntarily extending support and care to 15 elderly people. The support and training will enhance the target group’s socio-economic empowerment in a way that:
The Media Breakfast to commemorate IVD celebrations was attended by 100 invited guests from VIOs, Media Institutions and Zambia Cultural Group. The presence of each one who attended the Media Breakfast offered Zambia and VIOs an opportunity to share widely on this year’s theme that ‘Voluntary Action Counts’ which was equally well reflected on by the various speakers.
In order to continuously Advocate, Integrate and Mobilise (AIM) for volunteerism in Zambia’s development interventions, ZVCC has reflected on both the successes/opportunities of the event and areas of improvement.
Areas of Improvement
Both the pre-launch and actual IVD event (i.e. the Media Breakfast) were a success due to devoted efforts from ZVCC members. However, ZVCC still needs to do more in terms of AIM on why ‘Volunteer Actions Count’ because its e.g. through thorough integration of volunteerism into peace and development interventions that MDGs and the definition of post-2015 will be achieved.
IVD activity that took place on 5 December in the Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian minority community in Fushe Kosove, just outside of Pristina:
In partnership with the local NGO, The Ideas Partnership, UNV Kosovo visited a Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje to mark International Volunteer Day 2012. The ceremony featured 2 dance performances by the children, as a result of months of dance classes taught by 2 UN Volunteers, Martina Vavrova and Dana Landau. Mothers of these children proudly exhibited their handmade products for sale, including the scented handmade soaps, gift bags, greeting cards and their latest addition of hand painted candle jars, as part of their income generating project supported by The Ideas Partnership.
The event was also an occasion to promote the winter clothing/shoes drive initiative, led by UN Volunteers Andrea Young (UNV Public Information Officer, UNMIK) and Boram Kim (UNV Political Affairs Officer, UNMIK) under the UNV Community Partnership scheme. 74 children between 7-14 years old from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community of Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje do not have transport to go to school and need to walk 2.5 kilometers every day to continue their learning. However, these children do not have proper clothing and shoes to make the trek during the winter season. UNV responded to their needs by calling upon UNMIK, UNDP, OSCE and other international organizations to gather as many winter clothes and shoes for these children and families. The clothing drive collected close to a hundred donated winter clothing and shoes in addition to cash donations to the NGO, who purchased more clothing at the second hand market.
The event finished with a distribution activity of some of the donated clothes to the children and families in the community. UNV continues to promote the clothing drive within international organizations to support such communities in need.
The activity got media attention, broadcasted on the primetime news in the evening, announcing 5 December as the International Volunteer Day.
Click here for Andrea’s article that was posted on the UNMIK Broadcast: http://www.unmikonline.org/Pages/07122012UNV.aspx
The below album are our pictures which you can credit as UNV Kosovo. We obtained the permission from the NGO and parents to use their faces.
You are invited to view June Kashio's photo album: IVD 2012
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Vientiane, 7th December 2012
blood donATION MARKs the International Volunteer Day
Lao Red Cross, Government partners, embassies, volunteer organizations, volunteers, Lao National University and UN officials celebrated the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on December 7th at the UN House with a blood donation under the theme ‘Volunteer Action Counts’.
The International Volunteer Day (IVD), established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, is an initiative where thousands of people all around the world celebrate volunteerism and commemorate its contribution to building the world we want.
The UN Volunteers programme in Lao PDR has been supporting blood donation since 2007 and organized the 11th campaign in the occasion of the International Volunteer Day 2012.
The event was attended by some 60 participants including His Excellency Laoly Faiphengyoa, President of the Lao Red Cross Society, Vice-President of National Blood Transfusion Committee and Mr. Minh Pham, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. Following the opening remarks, students, partners and officials become volunteers by supporting the two blood donation sessions facilitated by the National Blood Transfusion Centre of the Lao Red Cross.
Mr. Pham praised the contribution of the all volunteers across the country and said “Volunteerism constitutes a key component for a more inclusive growth strategy in Lao PDR through the promotion of people’s greater participation to enhance the sustainable development of the economy, society and environment of Lao PDR as a whole.”
His Excellency Laoly Faiphengyoa highlighted the importance of blood for all human beings and the crucial role it plays in saving lives and treating patients around the world in case of accident, surgery and disease.
According to WHO, it is estimated that at least 1% of the population in a country would need to donate blood to secure an adequate blood supply. This means that in a country like Lao PDR, with a population of 6 million, an adequate supply of blood would be 60,000 units (1 unit=350ml) per year. In 2011, 27,000 units were collected. The target for 2012 is 30,000 units. Everyone’s support is needed to achieve adequate blood supply. After donation and testing, blood can be stored a maximum of 35 days but it is normally used within a week.
On International Volunteer Day, volunteers in green t-shirts hit the cities to spread a simple message: ‘Let adults earn and children learn!’
On International Volunteer Day, volunteers in green t-shirts hit the cities to spread a simple message: ‘Let adults earn and children learn!’
According the latest findings, there are several thousand children and youth working the streets of Phnom Penh and Cambodia’s other major centres such as Siem Reap. Many of these children are forced to beg or sell books, flowers and handicrafts, especially to tourists.
Their earnings usually go to their parents, but many are preyed on by organized groups who send them back to the streets.
These vulnerable young people face many threats, from sexual exploitation to drug abuse. Their social norms are distorted, they miss school, and often they end up condemned to a never-ending cycle of poverty.
The aim of Cambodia’s UN Volunteers and the community volunteers who joined them was simply to inform people about the issue, and encourage them to ‘think twice’ before giving money directly to children.
Beyond that, the volunteers spread the message by providing information materials, posters and cards at the most popular bars, restaurants and hotels around the busiest tourist areas.
“I think initiatives like Think Twice are impactful due to the messages they advocate,” said UN Volunteer Anya Thomas, who helped organize the event in Phnom Penh, “but perhaps more significantly, for the ‘levelling’ that happens between individuals discussing the issue.”
“Rallying people from vastly different walks of life around a familiar issue of concern can really erase barriers,” she added
Most encouraging was talking to the Tuk-Tuk drivers, who offer the main means of transportation in the everyday hustle and bustle of Southeast Asia. Many decorated their motor coaches with labels and stickers.
“I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of the people we encountered,” continued Anya Thomas.
“The material went very fast, and there were great opportunities to enter dialogue on the challenges of responding to children in need.”
“It was a great experience to connect with businesses and drivers outside of the standard service provider-consumer relationship.”
So, if you meet someone in a green T-shirt with the ‘Think Twice’ logo, you will know there are still people who don’t ignore what happens around them.
And when you will meet small children trying to sell you the newest (but hardly original) edition of the Lonely Planet, you can stop for a moment and think one more time if it is better to spent childhood in the hot city streets or behind a school desk.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Hard policy met grassroots volunteering last week as Government, civil society and volunteers gathered at the Second National Forum on Volunteerism and the IVD Fair in Phnom Penh.
From Cambodian Scouts, Red Cross and community volunteers to international NGO leaders, UN Representatives and cabinet ministers, about 500 people attended the event that ran from 4-5 December.
The overall aim was to recognize volunteers throughout Cambodia and showcase volunteerism as a viable and necessary strategy for the country’s development.
With a third of the country aged 15-30, the benefits of youth volunteering fell right under the spotlight.
“Volunteerism is a valuable gift,” said Minister Im Sethy from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, “and we’re considering it for the national strategy for youth development as well as other development programmes.”
He continued: “Both the spirit and the practice of volunteer work have been playing a vital role in the country’s development - it certainly creates change in the lives of rural people.”
United Nations Resident Coordinator Douglas Broderick noted that young people, who comprise 30 percent of Cambodia’s population, have enormous potential to make a difference.
“Volunteering is one way to harness that potential,” he remarked in his statement to the Forum, “and also build youth skills and social responsibility.”
In line with the global International Volunteer Day (IVD) leitmotif, the Forum was themed ‘Be a volunteer – make a difference for you and your community’.
As well as sharing participants' volunteering experiences, the Forum featured discussions on how to attract, manage, motivate and support young people to volunteer. The ultimate objective was to help draft a volunteering good practice document.
The Cambodia National Forum achieved what it set out to do.
“Diverse groups are now working together to develop best practices in volunteering for Cambodia,” said Dawn Hoyle, Programme Support Manager at VSO Cambodia.
“Events like these definitely raise the profile of volunteerism,” added Isabelle Devylder, Cambodia Programme Officer at the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
But it wasn’t all hard talk. Between each session, the audience was entertained by volunteer groups such as Tiny Toones, a Phnom Penh dance troupe that gives underprivileged youth opportunities to get an education.
And around Phnom Penh, UN Volunteers were hitting the streets to encourage people to ‘Think Twice’.
Supporting the Second National Forum on Volunteerism were the VolCam network of national and international volunteer-involving organizations, the Royal Government of Cambodia, and UNV.
In addition to Minister H.E. Im Sethy, other speakers included Secretary of State H.E. Sean Borath and Director General Tauch Choeun from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport alongside United Nations Resident Coordinator Douglas Broderick and UNAIDS Country Coordinator Marie-Odile Emond.
CELEBRATION OF IVD 2012 IN TOGO
I am happy to be involved in IVD 2012 celbration in Togo for my action count to promote volunteering worldwide.
I organised events to celebrate volunterism with the UNV Programme in Togo through various activities.
The UNDP Representative in Togo and the minister for developpement and youth affaires were also happy to encourage young people to go into volunterism for sustainable development.
International Volunteer Day Malawi Celebrations
Making Volunteers Actions Counts was what local and international volunteers chanted as they marched from Mitundu Primary School in Malawi to Mitundu Health Center on 5th December 2012 as Malawi celebrated IVD. This marked the start of a day of sharing, learning and building skills with the community in Mitundu.
The parade was colorful with community members owning it and creating new relationships with professional, youth, local, international volunteers recalling the role that volunteers play in social and economic development in Malawi.
IVD celebrations were organized by volunteer for development Malawi – which is group of volunteer sending and involving organizations: these are National Youth Council of Malawi, Peace Corps, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), JICA, UNDP/UNV, NAPHAM, Dan Church Aid, World University Services of Canada, Bunda College Student Volunteer Scheme, Progressio and Malawi Red Cross to recognize, celebrate volunteers contributions.
After the march volunteers and community members were split into different groups at Mitundu Health Center (which was over flowing with clients who had come to access free services offered by the volunteers) according to the skills they have to provide services for the community and do community work -
Doctors with backgrounds in HIV and Nutrition provided HTC and nutrition counseling to mothers and under 5 children , they managed to see 51 clients and did another outreach clinic on the 6th for ART and adults.
Psychotherapy was offered to children and mothers and referrals were made. One mother was overjoyed after being shown how to help her 4 year old boy keep his neck straight.
Blood Donation – volunteers and community members were involved in a blood drive through partnership with Malawi Blood Transfusion Services. First time blood donors said they can not wait for March 2013 so that they can donate their blood again and save lives. Little acts of kindness, lives saved.
Dental services were also accessible for community members; most local communities do not get dental services these services were popular.
Roofing of a school block that was blown away by rain, was taking place through out the day and the following day.Image
Volunteers also cleaned up the hospital surroundings and were joined by community members, students form Mitundu primary School.
Agricultural compost – farmers were shown how to make compost manure to enrich their farm soil and increase their yields using local available materials than fertilizer which is expensive and not sustainable.
Sisters in success - this was a safe space for adolescent girls between the ages of 11 and 15 years where issues of sex, sexuality and family planning were discussed. This was a 3 hour session facilitated by a local peer educator and 3 youth workers; it gave a chance to the adolescent girls to share their knowledge, question it, debate and learn more on their sexual reproductive health.
IVD 2012 official ceremony – the district commissioner, a representative of the traditional authority , a member of volunteer for development and a volunteer spoke on the aim of the day and what volunteerism means to them and the impact it brings. Traditional dances, plays and music spiced up the event. The media was there to broadcast the function live and through out the day.Image
There is nothing like a Football march to finish the day on a high, a football march was played between the volunteers and the local team - the volunteers won 2 – 1. Sweet ending to a day of building new relationship and making impact for change.
Inspired to make a difference and impact – VIVA volunteers
In Ethiopia, the IVD was held in Harar city.
The event was hosted by the government and was attended by the President of Harar Region, Mr Murad Abdulladi, the Head of the Bureau of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Ahmed Abdosh, and other Officials.
The IVD was marked by several activities to raise awareness on volunteering, including a marche through the city of Harar, an exhibition by Volunteer Involving Organisations on volunteer efforts, an award ceremony to young people who had participated in a competition, and blood donation.
I'm Lina Ben-Salah, a Tunisian medical student, finishing my third term.
In 2010 I worked with the organizing committee of Festiv’aids (Tunisian association of medical student) ; 3 days of concerts, theatre, painting, dancing to fight AIDS.
Went to Ras Al Jedir Tunisian Libyan borders, Chucha’s camp and worked as a volonteer with UNICEF, WHO and Tunisian military .
In (August/September) 2012 I worked as a volonteer in Augusta Vistoria Hospital, general center of oncology at Jerusalem East.