International Volunteers Day (IVD) is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to be held each year on 5 December. This special day acknowledges the valuable contributions which volunteers make among communities, government authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector and United Nations agencies.
Under this year’s theme of ‘volunteer for an inclusive future‘, United Nations Volunteers with the support of UN agencies in the Solomon Islands and other organisations with volunteer capacity, have organised activities aimed at raising public awareness on volunteerism, peacebuilding, access to justice and social inclusion.
Speaking at the event this morning, Coordinator of the Solomon Islands Christian Care Centre, Sister Phyllis Sau said ‘‘Solomon Islands benefitted immensely from volunteers‘ sacrifices and services through their contributions to eliminate poverty and spcial injustices.‘‘
The event involved volunteers sharing their experiences of service followed by morning tea, networking and a clean-up activity at the National Art Gallery compound.
“When people say thank you, that pushes me to do more volunteering,“ said Regina Lepping, a UN national youth volunteer.
A creative arts competition on the topic -‘How can leadership and decision-making by women and men together can build a more inclusive and peaceful society’ was also launched.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Manager for Solomon Islands, Berdi Berdiyev said this year’s theme highlights Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 and the pursuit of equality.
Mr Berdi emphasized that UNDP strongly encourages local volunteerism which is critical for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and its commitment of leaving no one behind.
“The 17 Development Goals are interlinked and cannot be implemented in isolation, and by Governments alone. This formidable task requires everyone’s contribution.”
Volunteering helps to empower young people to make use of their energy, creativity, take positive actions and create opportunities for the promotion of social inclusion. Empowering youth, achieving access to justice and advancing towards a peaceful and inclusive society would not be possible without the voluntary engagement, advocacy and dedication of the people and civil society organisations at the grassroots level.
Other activities held to celebrate the day included two radio program segements on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) featuring national and internationalvolunteers which were aired this week.