Youth volunteers for a clean Thimphu – and a healthy planet
by Maki Mizuno
Thimphu, Bhutan: Local NGO Young Volunteers in Action (Y-via) sent positive health related messages to their peers through a one-day clean up activity supported by UNV.
Y-via is an active youth volunteer group under the Youth Development Fund (YDF) in Bhutan. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, YDF organizes an annual Golden Youth Camp to raise awareness among young people about issues such as adolescent health and children’s rights. This year the UNV Bhutan Country Office took part in this camp to promote volunteerism among young people.
The group discussion held prior to the clean-up activity brought into focus the need to pay urgent attention to the issues of most concern to the group. These are teenage pregnancy, early sexual activities, HIV/AIDS and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Messages addressing these issues were written on the garbage tins (which were recycled oil cans) and placed in seven locations where young people often gather.
On the day of the activity we were blessed by bright sunshine. It was also the opportunity to launch the theme of International Volunteer Day 2009 – ‘Volunteering for Our Planet’. The participants including UNV volunteers serving in Bhutan were provided with the theme T-shirt. This activity was fully covered by the local media.
To close the day, the UNV Programme Officer conducted a one hour session with the group to raise their awareness on volunteerism. The activity to visualize socio-economic differences and difficulties in society was well received and led active debate about diverse issues in Bhutanese society.
The UNV Bhutan Country Office will continue to support local initiatives to promote volunteerism among youth in 2009.
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