This is one of a series of six stories for International Volunteer Day (IVD) 2022. The theme for this IVD is solidarity through volunteering: Together, act now. On 5 December, throughout the world, the value of volunteers will be celebrated and recognized. While the world grapples with humanitarian and development challenges – amid wars and climate change, we need volunteers. We need solidarity. And people working together for a common good.
A large part of being a volunteer is that you have ownership of your solutions – that's the story of Hajara Maimuna Idi, a community volunteer in Borno State, northeast Nigeria. Hajara lives in a settlement for internally displaced people, where she volunteers to persuade other residents, including those who are older or otherwise vulnerable, that the best course of action is to be vaccinated.
As part of her community, she is able to win the trust of her peers and persuade many of them to visit the vaccination center to get protected against COVID-19.
I got vaccinated because I was made aware that it was for the benefit of my health, says Hajara to her community members.
COVID-19 vaccination coverage across Africa is among the lowest in the world. In Nigeria, community workers including Hajara, offer their time to encourage others to get protected against the pandemic.
Encouraging people to get vaccinated is vital but at times, sensitive work. In Borno State, northern Nigeria, the World Health Organization (WHO) trained 43 community-based volunteers to encourage their neighbours to get vaccinated.
Hajara and other volunteers understand the advantages of being vaccinated. They, now, spread the word among their communities to guarantee everybody's safety.
WHO's work is funded by a grant from the European Union's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). Through this, WHO set up an 18-month project to support vaccination in 15 countries including Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.
Everybody's safety and health – with local ownership – in solidarity through volunteering.
Read the community volunteers' full story here.
Be inspired by volunteers to #TogetherActNow and volunteer in your community in solidarity with others. Together we can all do our part.