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UNV, together with UNHCR and the organization Those In Need, organized a Dance for Inclusion in India to celebrate International Volunteer Day 2019.

Celebrating volunteers for an inclusive future in Asia and the Pacific

UN Volunteers in Asia and the Pacific celebrated International Volunteer Day (IVD) under the theme Volunteer for an Inclusive Future. A range of activities were held in countries across the region, from joint volunteer activities with partners to panel discussions and collective action to build awareness on inclusion, equality and the importance of leaving no one behind.

View the slider below for more details and impressions from IVD 2019 celebrations in China, with the participation of the Deputy Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, the Pacific islands, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Thailand and Viet Nam.


IVD celebrations and the 5th Chinese Youth Volunteer Service Project Competition & Volunteer Service Exchange Expo 2019 were held in Dongguan. Toily Kurbanov, Deputy Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, delivered the keynote speech at the Volunteer Service Exchange Expo. He said, "I commend the work of volunteers worldwide -- a contribution that will be ever more critical in the upcoming Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals". Under the theme “Volunteer Service and Social Governance”, the event was co-hosted by the China Communist Youth League, Central Civilization Committee, Guangdong Provincial Committee of the CPC and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and other ministries. More than 1,000 people from government agencies, universities and volunteer organizations participated in this event.


Featured in the picture: Toily Kurbanov, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator took a firsthand look at a range of volunteer projects in China during his visit to attend IVD 2019 celebrations 


UN Volunteers highlighted what volunteerism means to them in a video produced for IVD. 


IVD Celebrations centered around recognizing the best volunteer-involving organizations through a nationwide contest. Organized by UNV, ActionAid, Voluntary Services Overseas and the Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB) at the IUB campus, the event stressed the need for a policy on volunteerism in Bangladesh to steer volunteering activities and reiterated the importance of volunteers to achieve the SDGs. The Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives, Md. Tajul Islam was the chief guest at the event. International and national volunteers shared their inspiring experiences at the event, attended by over 600 stakeholders, to enforce a nationwide voice on volunteerism. A panel discussion with experts and dignitaries was also conducted around the IVD theme.


Featured in the picture: Winners of the nationwide contest best volunteer-involving organizations WeMen View, The 6th Sense and Here We Play, with the Chief Guest and dignitaries at the event 

Click here for a round-up of IVD 2019 celebrations in Bangladesh 


UNV, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the VolCam network organized an event at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. Activities included a celebration of volunteering work, information sharing, an exhibition of 10 volunteer-involving organizations, panel discussions, music performances from youth and youth with disabilities and an LGBTI fashion show. The event also recognized contributions towards promoting inclusive volunteerism by holding a competition of the community-based projects of volunteers from different provinces in the country. This fun and inspiring IVD 2019 event brought together more than 1,200 participants, including UN representatives, government officials, non-governmental organizations, community youth, high school students and university students, among others.


UNV and UNHCR India organized a Dance For Inclusion in collaboration with the organization Those In Need. Participants from different groups were invited to be a part of this initiative to promote the message of inclusion. The event bore the slogan united for inclusion, pledged for inclusion, danced for inclusion, #volunteer4Inclusion. A V-Awards ceremony was also held to recognize exceptional volunteers in the country, with the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Minister of State in the Ministry of Minority Affairs of India, Kiren Rijiju as the chief guest.


Featured in the picture: Winners of the V-Awards ceremony with the Chief Guest and the dignitaries at the event 

Click here for a round-up of the IVD 2019 celebrations in India


Volunteerism, inclusion, disability, LGBTI and youth were among the key topics of discussion at celebrations organized by UNV together with a diverse group of volunteering organizations at the Faculty of Engineering campus in Vientiane. More than 200 students and volunteers participated in engaging discussions of best practices on how volunteers can contribute to an inclusive future and shared volunteer stories on inclusiveness. The event also featured the participation of Minna-no Café, a social business run in Vientiane by persons with mental and hearing disabilities, aiming to change the perception of persons with disabilities in Lao PDR. UNV, together with volunteer partners, also conducted a joint clean up activity at the Chao Anouvong Park, along the Mekong river banks, with the involvement of nearly 300 volunteers, including many students. Interactive awareness-building activities were also a part of the programme, highlighting the relevance of responsible waste management.


More than 250 volunteers participated in the celebrations, which focused on the theme of volunteerism and inclusion. Organized by UNV, together with volunteer-involving organizations in Yangon, the event was opened by the Resident Representative of UNDP, Gordon Johnson. It included cultural performances by volunteer music teachers of the Korea International Volunteer Agency (KOICA) and students from the National University of Arts and Culture. Participants representing various stakeholder organizations, as well as individual volunteers, attended.


Featured in the picture: UNV team taking part in the equalizer campaign, promoting inclusion   


UN Volunteers celebrated IVD in various parts of the country, while also spreading awareness on how to become volunteers and contribute towards inclusion. Activities included a blood donation drive and a UNV booth in Tribhuvan University, in coordination with the National Youth Council and Ministry of Youth and Sports members, joined by a number of agencies promoting volunteerism.

The Pacific islands

UN Volunteers, together with partners in Suva, Fiji, celebrated an inclusive sports day, while a TV talk show highlighted the importance of volunteering for inclusion. In the Solomon Islands, over 70 national and international volunteers celebrate the day at the National Art Gallery in Honiara, and conducted community service to clean the surrounding areas. A radio programme featured both local and international volunteers, with other activities including information stalls, sharing of experiences and the launch of a creative arts competition on the topic of girls and women building peaceful and inclusive societies.


UNV and the United Nations Development Programme partnered with the School of Leadership Foundation to conduct a training workshop, ‘Volunteers guide to social action for Inclusion’. Addressing the IVD 2019 celebrations, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan, Knut Ostby, said, "Inclusion is the recognition of universal oneness and interdependence". Meanwhile, UNV Country Coordinator Waseem Ashraf also participated in a talk show and highlighted the role of UN Volunteers in achieving the SDGs in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka

The IVD celebration focused on knowledge-sharing sessions, highlighting volunteer work among V-Awards winners and also a forum theatre to solve problems that can arise in public platforms. UNDP's Resident Representative Robert Juhkam emphasized the concept of voluntary service, urging all volunteers to continue making their valuable contributions with confidence. Volunteers also had the opportunity to communicate and network with others.


Volunteers celebrated IVD with several activities including media campaigns on national television and radio, a Fun Walk in the streets of Dili, stressing "Let every day be a volunteering day". UNV and several partners, including Volunteers from Red Cross, UN agencies, National Scouts Association, Australian Volunteers International and MOVE, a Portuguese non-governmental organization, planted more than 300 mangrove trees at the Ulmera seaside.


UN Volunteers serving across various host agencies in the UN system celebrated IVD with a networking event to strengthen the relationship among the volunteers and provide them with an opportunity to interact, exchange ideas and share best practices. Volunteering partners also joined the activities and discussions to promote volunteerism and inclusion.

Viet Nam

Diversity and inclusion was celebrated through an IVD Human Library at the National Economics University in Hanoi. Participants – as young as 10 years old – listened to stories through the voices and words of 'living books', people sharing their personal experiences with volunteerism and an inclusive and equal community. The nine living books included a transwoman, a queer, a person with disability, the child of a prisoner, a person overcoming depression and volunteers, and they unravelled their stories and interacted with the audience. The event was organized by UNV, together with the 2030 Youth Force Viet Nam, ENACTUS, and with the support of UN Women. In addition, a joint celebration – Diversity Day – was organized, celebrating gender diversity through sports, exhibitions and information booths to challenge existing gender norms and advocate for the rights of LGBTI.