UNV celebrated IVD on 5 December in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Culture, represented by the Minister and Deputy Minister for Youth at the ceremony. They were joined un attendance by the Senior Advisor of H.E President on Youth, Deputy Ministers, UNDP Resident Representative and UN partners. The government appreciated the Policy on Volunteerism and online volunteer database, both developed with UNV support, which led to the establishment of the Afghan Volunteer Network in the country. A panel discussion was held on integrating volunteering into the national policy. UNDP RR Mr Abdallah Al Dardari also announced plans to launch V-Force in Afghanistan, reiterating UNDP’s support for the initiative. A virtual celebration was also held with the participation of UN Volunteers serving with UNAMA, where Chief Mission Support, Mr Jorge Goncalves, reiterated the added value UN Volunteers bring to the UN.
On 5 December, UNV jointly organized an event with the Ministry of Local Government of Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRDC), Department of Youth Development, Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, and WaterAid. Chief Guest Mr Md. Tazul Islam MP, Hon Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives assured that “LGRDC Ministry is taking the lead in developing a national volunteer framework for fostering volunteerism in Bangladesh to support the SDGs".. The IVD Volunteer Award 2020 was also organized, in line with the theme ‘Volunteer for COVID-19 Response and Recovery’. From among hundreds of participants, after an extensive and neutral selection process, 15 volunteers were honoured for their contributions. UN Resident Coordinator Ms Mia Seppo addressed the event, saying, "I am impressed by how Bangladesh values and promotes volunteerism among its courageous nation. If the inner abilities are developed, Bangladesh will soon see an even mightier force of volunteers who could conquer the tougher challenges lying ahead.” A panel discussion was also held on volunteers’ contributions towards development and the need for a national volunteer policy.
Watch the IVD 2020 event in Bangladesh.
More than 426,000 Chinese volunteers followed IVD celebrations, held throughout the week both online and onsite. On 5 December, UNV, China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (SCLF) and China Soong Ching Ling Science & Culture Centre for Young People (SCLSCC) held an event, attended by H.E Jing Dunquan, Vice-Chairman of SCLF, and Mr Duan Guiqing, Deputy Secretary-General of China Volunteer Service Federation. The "China Center for Juvenile Volunteering (CCJV)" was established, and relevant knowledge results were released. The 5th National Volunteer Service Exchange Expo was also organized in China the same day. Ms Shalina Miah, Regional Manager of the UNV Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, delivered a video speech during the two celebration events. Partners highlighted that volunteers worldwide have acted against the direct threat posed by COVID-19 and appreciated the partnership with UNV. On 6 December, UNV, UNDP and SCLSCC co-hosted “Youth Volunteers Visiting the United Nations in China”. Mr Devanand Ramiah, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP and Ms Zhang Ruige, Deputy Director of SCLSCC highlighted the significance of cooperation, the enthusiasm of Chinese youth volunteers and providing opportunities for them to acknowledge international organizations and volunteer service.
On 5 December, volunteers organized a charity drive and clean-up campaign of local children’s and nursing homes. Six boxes of essential items were also presented to the Fiji Red Cross to support immediate responses and work following the tropical cyclone Yasa (category 5). Other events included an informal dialogue on mental health and well-being held in partnership with the University of the South Pacific on 25 November, and an inter-generational dialogue on why volunteers matter on 8 December. Partners joining various events included IFRC, the Peace Corps, JICA, KOICA, Australian Volunteers International, Habitat for Humanity, UNRCO, UNDP, UNDRR, UNWOMEN, UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, ADB, OCHA, OHRC, UNESCAP, UNOSC, IFAD, UNCDF and UN Habitat.
In India, UNV conducted a nationwide campaign for IVD 2020 to commend and encourage the spirit of volunteerism. As a part of this, the #TogetherWeCan Anthem composed by UNV India, in partnership with UNHCR and its talented refugee volunteers, was launched. Social media campaigns were also led by 40 V-Force leaders and 400 plus V-Force volunteers, to reach approximately 20,000 audiences in their networks. On 3 December, also marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNV India, in partnership with Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FSMA) Trust, launched a unique Annual Calendar for 2021, featuring the differently-abled young warriors of change. The main IVD celebrations and V-Awards 2020 were organized virtually. Hon. Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Kiren Rijiju, and other dignitaries participated. Out of over 11,000 entries, 10 winners were selected for their volunteer contributions and service to society.
Read more on celebrating Shramdaan, or the spirit of volunteerism in India.
Lao People's Democratic Republic
In Lao PDR, IVD kickstarted with an early morning clean-up of the Mekong River by colleagues from various UN agencies such as WFP, UNICEF and WHO. In addition, together with local volunteering group Zero Waste Laos and UNFPA, UNV organized the first Youth for SDGs Laos Conference. During the event, youth participants learned about the Sustainable Development Goals and their key role in realizing the SDGs. Participants from international organizations, government, local civil society organizations and the private sector gathered together at the event to showcase their work and encourage youth to take on active roles through volunteering. In the meantime, an exhibition of thank you letters to volunteers was held at the venue. To bring a meaningful close to the celebrations, a blood donation drive was held at UN House.
Watch highlights from IVD 2020 in Lao PDR.
The virtual celebrations brought together around 120 national and international volunteers, representatives from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and volunteer-involving organizations. It was co-organized by AIESEC, the Australian Volunteers Programme, Myanmar Red Cross Society, Peace Corps, UNV, U-Report, and Voluntary Service Overseas. Delivering the opening remarks, Ms Dawn Del Rio, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP, underlined the important responsibilities upon volunteers to help overcome the pandemic crisis and addressed the range of activities that volunteers undertook to support socio-economic recovery across the state regions.
In Nepal, the celebrations were held in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Youth Council and UN partners, along with more than 20 partners across the country, with several activities in the run-up to IVD 2020. Celebrations included the National Volunteering Award, which received 212 nominations, out of which 5 volunteers were announced winners. The five winners are working in the fields of LGBTIQ rights, youth and disability rights, child rights and women's empowerment. On social media, narrative stories of volunteers and video messages were shared to provide appreciation and recognition of volunteers’ selfless services to their community. More than 200 participants attended the National Policy Workshop, organized online with the support of various non-governmental organizations working in youth and volunteerism promotion. A volunteering song was inaugurated at the event on 5 December – the Together We Can song was prepared by UNV and performed by volunteers.
Click here to watch the main IVD event in Nepal.
Seven events were held in Pakistan to celebrate IVD, with the main celebration in Quetta held in collaboration with Balochistan Volunteer Network (BVN), People's Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI-B), Pakistan Red Crescent and Balochistan Boy Scouts Association (BBSA). The event was supplemented by a series of TV interviews, where former UN Volunteers participated in a three-language series in local languages (Brahvi, Balochi and Pashto). UNV Country Coordinator Waseem Ashraf, Deputy Secretary of BBSA Talat Jehan, and former UN Volunteer Seema Ahdi also participated in an interview at Radio Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s UNV Alumni Network had its official event online to celebrate IVD 2020 streamed at facebook.com/AmVolunteer. UNV Alumni also celebrated IVD in Hyderabad, Sindh (online), in Faisalabad with local partners and the University of Agriculture, in District Torghar with Deputy Commissioner and District Youth Affairs Officer and in Mansehra. On 7 December, a training of youth volunteers was organized in collaboration with Youth Empowerment Programme of UNDP.
Volunteers in Samoa, including UN Volunteers serving in the Pacific, joined together for a Regional webinar to celebrate IVD and promotion of volunteerism. Organizers facilitated an event where development actors, governments, students, health sectors, current, past and prospective volunteers discussed their experiences, lessons learnt and any questions they have regarding volunteerism.
In Sri Lanka, UNV celebrated five days of volunteerism in the run-up to IVD, starting 1 December, with a series of webinars together with partners. On 5 December, UNV, WHO and other partners hosted a virtual celebration to recognize and appreciate the hundreds of volunteers and frontline responders across the country for their exemplary and courageous efforts in response to COVID-19. This event brought together over 170 participants on Zoom and another 800+ joining through Facebook. In addition, as part of the campaign, UNV facilitated publishing a series of articles around volunteerism in local newspapers from November 2020 to January 2021, featuring authors from volunteer organizations, academia, WHO and UNV.
IVD activities hosted by UNV in Sri Lanka can be viewed here.
In Thailand, the UNV Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific held IVD 2020 celebrations together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Human Development and Social Security, under the theme “Together We Can through Volunteering: Accelerating Sustainable Development and Going Further”. Two UN Volunteers and a former Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) Volunteer shared their exciting experiences and success stories. A panel discussion, moderated by UNV Regional Manager, Ms Shalina Miah, was focused on “Volunteerism building solidarity and volunteer solutions on sustainable development that transcend borders”. On 30 November, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Human Security of Thailand organized a press conference on the IVD theme.
In Timor-Leste, UNV, together with UN partners and volunteer-involving organizations, including the National Scouts, Red-Cross, Australian Volunteers International, Volunteer Service Abroad of New Zealand, Peace Corps, KOICA, JICA celebrated IVD for three days. On 3 December a TV talk show highlighted the contribution of volunteers on the frontline during 2020 natural disasters and the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the importance of the national volunteer scheme. On 4 December, Timorese UN Volunteers shared their experiences in another TV programme. On 5 December, UNV and partners expressed gratitude and appreciation to frontline volunteers, handing them certificates of appreciation signed by co-recipient of 1996 Nobel Peace Prize H.E. Jose Ramos Horta. More than 250 people participated in the celebrations, among them government representatives, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative and representives from other UN partner agencies.
IVD 2020 in Timor Leste – News Feature (minutes 14:05 - 16:40).