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.
Working as a volunteer has helped me live a happy and fulfilling life. l work as district aids advisor in zambia, kalulushi but l also do volunteer work on part time. Theres one organization in zambia, kalulushi which is taking care of 276, two hundred and seventy six orphans, the organization provides education for these children and also buy school requisites and uniforms. It has been very difficult for them since they only have one hammer meal which they use to sustain their project. As a part time volunteer, l asked some stakeholders to contribute some things that can sustain this project. l am happy to report that some organizations came on board and helped this organization. l still contact other stakeholders to get on board. l offered my services as a counselor, teacher, and trainer and it was nice to counsel children who are hiv/positive who later accepted their status.volunteer work makes my day.
Sebi Nafukwe, who never had any agricultural experience before, is busy harvesting rice for the first time in Mbete village, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Zambia. She is one of 700 women who have turned their backs on fishing from the lake after overfishing made it difficult to turn a profit.
These days, Nafukwe and the women in her local women’s association are making Kwacha 1.4 million (US$279) a year per household from the sale of the rice they are farming, after an initial investment of only Kwacha 300,000 ($60).
“We never knew farming could be so economically rewarding,” she said with a sense of surprise and accomplishment.
The women, encouraged by the success of the rice farming, have expanded their business activities to poultry, vegetable gardening and fish pond farming. With this new income, they are now able to support their families’ nutritional requirements and send their children to school.
The introduction of a revolving fund in 2009 dedicated to the environmental and economic management of Lake Tanganyika — an effort supported by UNDP and with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – has enabled Nafukwe and many like her to take out small loans. With these loans, communities are investing in developing environmentally-friendly, sustainable livelihoods. They are building fish ponds, raising poultry and growing crops like rice and maize.
At the same time, they are planting cena and pine trees to control sedimentation loss from the effects of erosion on the steep slopes of Lake Tanganyika. Sedimentation pollutes the water, prevents natural vegetation from growing and kills fish. Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world, provides a livelihood for 7 to 10 million people living in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. Since the project began, the sedimentation rate of Lake Tanganyika has fallen from 159 tonnes per day to 115 tonnes per day in the Lufubu River catchment area, where 2 of the 11 participating villages are located.
Buka Buka Fish (Lates stapperssii) used to be caught throughout the year on the Zambian side of Lake Tanganyika up until the mid-1990s. Due to overfishing, changes in habitat and a wide range of other factors, the Buka Buka Fish is very rarely caught between April and October.
As fisherman John Simwiinga watched the fish stock in the lake dwindle, he realized he would have to turn to fish pond farming for survival. But Simwiinga lacked both capital and know-how. However, after attending a practical training on fish farming offered by the Lake Tanganyika programme, he received a loan of Kwacha 10 million ($1,923) to set up his dream business.
“I have stocked 15,000 fingerlings in these ponds,” Simwiinga said, pointing proudly at four ponds stretched over 130 square metres. He now earns over Kwacha 15 million ($2,884) every six months, an income that he and his family had never before seen.
“Before we were nomads… clearing trees and tightening our nets to catch the ever dwindling fish from the lake,” Simwiinga said. “But now, with the support of UNDP, we have not only become settled but also financially stable.”
Newly-created village communities have been instrumental in instilling peer pressure to repay the loans at a rate of 100 percent. To apply for a loan from the revolving fund, recipients must be socially responsible and active members of the community with no history of domestic abuse or violence.
Willies Simfukwe, district commissioner of Mpulungu and the chair of the district development coordinating committee, explained that the economic gains have not only contributed to the project’s main goal – reducing sedimentation and overfishing – but it has also stimulated a change of attitude among the communities. “People have developed a habit of saving, they have opened a savings account, something that was unusual before,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Mbete village, Sebi Nafukwe has been proudly working in the field alongside women from her fish-farming community group. She hopes one day she and other members of the community will be able to afford a rice polishing machine that will bring them even more income and free up their time for other productive activities.
By Ville Saikku and Sirak Gebrehiwot
(originally published at http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/ourwork/environmentandenergy/successstories/zambia-overfishing/)
Hello, my name is jane and I'm 22 years old from zambia. I would like to focus my volunteer works on Girl child early marriages and early age prostitution which I personally think is a huge problem that needs to be focused on fight HIV/AIDS and early child births not only in africa but around the planet.
I know help and programmes are under way to tackle this problem but I think it takes one who has been through it to really understand and help fully.
I would really like to help girls around the world espeacially between the ages of 10-25.