UNV celebrates voluntary action for housing rehabilitation in Samoa
08 February 2003
Bonn, Germany: United Nations Volunteers Honorary Ambassador Takehito Nakata of Japan completed his five-day mission to Samoa where he met with government officials, diplomatic corps and UN Volunteers to promote volunteerism and the work of the UNV programme in the South Pacific island.
Throughout his visit, the Ambassador remarked on Samoan’s proud display of dignity and strong sense of helping others. “I do not need to reiterate the importance of volunteerism to the Samoan people who have [it] already well practiced,” he said. “[By doing this, it] would be the same as posting a “Non-Smoking” sign in a place where no people smoke.”
The Ambassador visited villages on the islands of Upolu and Savaii to see the on-going UNV project “Empowerment of Rural People with Disabilities.” The first of its kind in Samoa, the project supports and assists some 2,300 rural people living with disabilities. Eight UN Volunteers, six of whom are Samoans, work to support disabled people through promoting awareness activities, forming community-based support groups and networking the parents and families of the disabled. The UN Volunteers also work with the local special needs institutions to introduce income generation opportunities such as organic farming and mat weaving.
He also visited other UN Volunteers working on projects such as establishing a “Government Wide Area Network” (GWAN) – a fiber optic network connecting government departments to enhance transparency, accountability and services to the public – controlling the island’s stray dog population and building cyclone resistant houses for low-income families.
Towards the end of his visit, Mr. Nakata attended a commemoration ceremony hosted by Joyce Yu, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, for the victims of the 19 August bombing of the UN building in Iraq.
Mr. Nakata was appointed as a UNV Honorary Ambassador in 1993, shortly after his son, the late Atsuhito Nakata, 25, was shot and killed in Cambodia on 8 April 1993 while serving as a UNV Electoral Supervisor with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).
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