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Partners launch Beijing Olympics volunteerism project

UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad (left) at the signing ceremony in Beijing, China. (From: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 2007)UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad (left) at the signing ceremony in Beijing, China. (From: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 2007)
25 July 2007

Beijing, China: UNV, UNDP and Chinese partners today launched an Olympics-based project to support volunteerism as a resource for development in China. The project will train 100,000 volunteers to support the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and promote environmental awareness, and also help develop a large-scale Volunteerism For Development (V4D) programme across China.

Entitled “Strengthening Volunteerism for Development in China through the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games”, the US$1.4 million initiative is designed to enhance the capacity of Olympics volunteers and, through this process, to establish volunteerism as an effective tool to achieve China’s development targets.

The project was signed today by the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Beijing Olympic Games Volunteer Work Coordination Group Office, the Beijing Committee of the China Communist Youth League, and the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) under the Ministry of the Commerce.

“UN Volunteers is proud to be part of the 2008 Olympic volunteer effort,” said Ad de Raad, Executive Coordinator of UNV at the signing ceremony. Mr. de Raad made a special return visit to Beijing to attend the project signing, after participating in the launch of the Olympic volunteer programme in Beijing in 2005. “The world will see the remarkable dedication of volunteers at the Games next summer. Through this project with the Government of China we are hoping to illustrate how the ingenuity, solidarity and creativity of volunteers can contribute to achieving the nation’s development targets.”

The project will create a core group of volunteer leaders, managers and trainers in volunteer recruitment, management and recognition, who will then help to recruit and train the tens of thousands of volunteers needed to efficiently operate and promote the Olympics and Paralympics.

The 3-year project will also help to raise environmental awareness through the “Green Olympics”, and involve various civil society organisations in designing and implementing volunteerism programmes in up to 10 regions around China. Volunteers will be encouraged to participate in development programming through such areas as poverty alleviation, health, education, gender equality and HIV/AIDS.

“This project will go well beyond the Olympic Games as a platform to promote the idea of Volunteerism For Development, and will support the longer term development vision of building an all-round Xiao Kang society in which human-centred development, care of the environment and support of individual empowerment play such an important role,” said Mr. de Raad.

Subinay Nandy, UNDP Country Director in China, said: “Harnessing the talents and determination of Chinese citizens on a large scale through volunteerism would have an enormous impact on the social and economic development of the country. It is our hope that we can inspire Olympic volunteers to lead this effort and assert volunteerism as a valuable tool towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the Xiao Kang society.”

UN Volunteers is the focal point for volunteerism in the UN system. It pursues distinctive contributions to effective development by advocating the role and benefits of volunteerism, promoting civic engagement in development programmes and mobilizing volunteers.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)