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UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri celebrated International Volunteer Day in Colombia

Flavia Pansieri (centre), UNV Executive Coordinator, talks to children taking part in the recreational activities carried out on 5 December, International Volunteer Day, in the community of San Carlos, Antioquia. (Adriana Serdan/UNV, 2010)Flavia Pansieri (centre), UNV Executive Coordinator, talks to children taking part in the recreational activities carried out on 5 December, International Volunteer Day, in the community of San Carlos, Antioquia. (Adriana Serdan/UNV, 2010)During the IVD celebrations, the volunteers presented the recreational activities within the context of working towards the Millennium Development Goals. (Adriana Serdan/UNV, 2010)During the IVD celebrations, the volunteers presented the recreational activities within the context of working towards the Millennium Development Goals. (Adriana Serdan/UNV, 2010)“Animarte” community volunteers during one of the IVD activities. (Adriana Serdan/UNV, 2010)“Animarte” community volunteers during one of the IVD activities. (Adriana Serdan/UNV, 2010)The “Animarte” project aims to advance peace, re-build the social fabric and contribute to the reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons in communities through culture and sport. (UNV/Luis Sanmiguel, 2010)The “Animarte” project aims to advance peace, re-build the social fabric and contribute to the reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons in communities through culture and sport. (UNV/Luis Sanmiguel, 2010)
06 December 2010

San Carlos, Colombia: Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, was in San Carlos, Antioquia, last Sunday 5 December, visiting the community UNV volunteers’ “Animarte” project and participating in their celebrations to mark International Volunteer Day (IVD).

The celebration consisted of recreational activities presented by the UNV volunteers within the context of working towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The themes were men and women building peace, thousand-colour smiles, art for peace, art-value, ‘dancing is my dream’, and ‘the MDGs are our thing’.

During the event, volunteering was promoted as an important instrument to help reduce poverty. "Volunteer action is essential for communities to get closer to the target of achieving the MDGs”, said Flavia Pansieri.

This year’s IVD celebrations mark the beginning of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10), which offers an opportunity to advocate for volunteerism in the world, to recognise their contribution to society and towards the achievement of peace and development.

As well as the 17 “Animarte” project volunteers and other UNV volunteers, representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Colombia also participated in the event, together with Dansocial, a programme for the promotion of coexistence, Isagen, the San Carlos Municipality and the community.

The municipality’s mayor, Francisco Javier Álvarez, acknowledged the contributions that volunteers make to society, particularly to peace and development in their communities. He highlighted that “volunteering has not only enabled discussions about peace, it has actually helped to advance peace; and it helps re-build the social fabric through peace actions aiming to achieve human development”.

Fernando Travezi, from a programme for the promotion of coexistence, pointed out that the impact of volunteerism goes beyond San Carlos and contributes to the development of the whole region, fostering a sense of belonging and hope for the future.

Ricardo Ramírez, representative of Dansocial, highlighted that volunteering contributes to the development of communities, in areas such as solidarity and partnership building, and concluded that “in those communities where volunteering had an impact, income and living conditions have improved”.

The activities carried out by the "Animarte" UNV volunteers in their communities bring about a better understanding of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They are a clear example of the importance of volunteering, which is relevant not only for IVD, but also for the start of the celebrations marking the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10).

“In 2011, it will be 40 years since the founding of UNV, and 18 since its establishment in Colombia, where there are currently 90 UNV volunteers working in 14 different departments, in areas such as displaced persons, human rights, community services, communication and development programmes. 67 percent are national UNV volunteers and 65 percent are women, most of them Colombian”, said Adriana Serdan, the UNV Programme Officer in Colombia.

This year, International Volunteer Day (IVD) comes at a vibrant time. Through social media, UNV has launched the 'Share the Story' campaign, a global online discussion focused on how volunteering contributes to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 Between 4 and 5 December, people the world over joined UNV on Facebook for a 24-hour online film festival to celebrate the worldwide impact of volunteerism. The festival showed volunteers in action, featured volunteer stories and hosted discussions on how volunteerism contributes to ending poverty.

During the event, over 60,000 people offered opinions, exchanged ideas, watched the films, or read the posts. Following the event, the number of viewers continued to grow, reaching almost 400,000 in one day.

'Share the Story' shows how the incredible spirit of people all over the world inspires others to get involved. On-site or online, in their own community or abroad, at the national or at the global level, volunteers deliberately take action to address peace and development issues such as ending hunger, improving healthcare, addressing conflict, tackling gender inequality and dealing with the impact of climate change.

Watch the story of a few volunteers working for peace and development in Colombia: http://on.fb.me/i2FDRD

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