IVD 2010: Stories from Fiji
Suva, Fiji: The “National Steering Committee (NSC)” in Fiji has been celebrating “International Volunteers Day (IVD)” ever since the 5th of December was declared as IVD by the United Nations (UN). The NSC, which has been in the forefront of celebrating IVD, is comprised of the national and international volunteering agencies.
The celebration in 2010 was composed of several events, such as, “Volunteer of the Year Award”, “Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) poster competition”, “Family Fun Walk and Sports Day”, and “volunteer appreciation evening”.
Jacque Koroi, who was a youth advocate in Fiji and also the former President of the Pacific Youth Council, was given the runner-up award for her contribution to the National Youth Council in the Pacific Island nations region.
The winner of the International volunteer category was Dr. Maung Maung Mon from Myanmar. Dr. Mon was a former UNV volunteer and served as a UNV Medical Officer from 1988 to 1994. Later he joined the Ministry of Health and continued working there until his retirement in 2007. Since his youth, Dr. Mon has actively volunteered for the Red Cross Movement in Myanmar and he successfully set up the Red Cross Office in Tavua (in the West of Viti Levu). He also received the Fiji Red Cross Community Spirit Medal in 2010.
The runner-up of the International volunteer category were given to Jenny Brown and Kaye Elliot. Both these volunteers have been associated with Austraining International and helped set up the LifeLines office in Ba (west of Viti Levu).
This initiative has provided an opportunity to address the issues of the MDGs in Fiji from children’s perspectives. The winning nominations along with selected drawings will be featured by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2011 in various publications to promote the MDGs.
More than 200 individuals participated in the Fun Walk which started early in the morning and was livened up by a session of Zumba aerobics. Knut Ostby, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and Mahamane Baby, the Caribbean and Pacific Portfolio Manager, were among those who participated in this event. More than 100 volunteers from various organizations also participated in the Sport Day events. Many joined various sports groups for football or rugby and had a pleasant day, meeting volunteers from various organizations.
The Film Festival featured three stories from the Pacific and certainly brought volunteerism in the region to the forefront. The voluntary works by partners of the project were also highlighted in these stories. Not to forget that the UNV Country Office Team hopes to build on this momentum in 2011 in recognition of the International Year of the Youth and International Year of the Volunteer + 10 campaigns.
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