Olga Devyatkin UNV PM and Ghulam Isaczai at study launch in Tajikistan Mar 2010 IMG_0162 (3) cropped.JPG
From left to right, Ms Olga Devyatkin, UNV HQ Portfolio Manager for CIS and Eastern Europe, Mr. Ghulam Isaczai. Chief, UNV Development Division, and Ms Mavsuma Muinova, the Republic of Tajikistan's Deputy Head for Youth, Sport and Tourism attend the Dushanbe launch of a UN backed study on understanding volunteerism for development in the region. (UNV, 2011)

Citizens' contributions essential to Tajikistan's national development goals: UN Report

New study by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme argues that volunteering offers significant potential for development of the country.  Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai, Chief of UNV’s Development Division, and Ms. Mavsuma Muinova, Deputy Head of the State Committee on Youth, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Tajikistan jointly launched the report at a ceremony held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

A UN backed study has found that enormous potential exists in the region for bettering people’s lives through volunteering. On Tuesday, March 29th, Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai, Chief of UNV’s Development Division, and Ms. Mavsuma Muinova, Deputy Head of the State Committee on Youth, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Tajikistan jointly launched the report at a ceremony held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Mr. Isaczai presented the results of a two-year study into volunteering activities in the region at the event, which was attended by representatives of the Government of Tajikistan, the UN and civil society organisations. The report and its launch event added a significant milestone in the marking, throughout 2011, the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers. The report, entitled ‘Understanding Volunteerism for Development in South-East Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Lessons for Expansion’, explores how volunteerism has a positive impact on the region by supporting progress towards achieving higher levels of human-centred development. The report covers the status of volunteerism in countries of South Eastern Europe and CIS, and it draws on research and studies in eight countries of the region, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan. It examines regional customs and cultures of self-help intrinsic to rural communities such as asar in Kazakhstan, moba in Bosnia and Herzegovina, toloka in Ukraine or khashar in Tajikistan. Indeed, traditions of community mutual support existed well before socialism, and most of them overlap with the current understanding of volunteerism as something undertaken freely, without financial motivation, and in order to benefit others. The authors also studied how the common socialist past brought an ambiguity to the perception of volunteerism that varies from country to country, from community to community. Based on a native culture of volunteerism, the report provides principal stakeholders – government authorities, civil society, development organizations, educators and the private sector – with an understanding of how they can capitalize on existing trends, while also creating new opportunities to promote the expansion of voluntary service at various levels of society. “This report should help in dispelling the many misconceptions and negative connotations attached to volunteering in the region and lead to the revival of volunteerism as a powerful force to achieve the MDGs and promote peace in the region”, said Mr. Isaczai. As the region faces the challenges of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the next five years, this study offers fresh insight on volunteering as both an opportunity and a tool for accelerating MDG achievements. In Tajikistan, for instance, while poverty has been consistently reduced from 72.4 percent in 2003 to 46.7 percent in 2009, MDG progress has been uneven. Tajikistan still sees mothers die in childbirth, a high child mortality rate, inequalities in education and the employment and training of women, environmental degradation and natural disasters. Overcoming these problems will require more than the commitment of Government, development partners and private sector.  What is also needed is the commitment, ingenuity and creativity of millions of ordinary people through voluntary action. Youth unemployment remains at an estimated 65 to 95 per cent in Tajikistan. The study findings suggest that “(I)n the context of mass unemployment, volunteering can offer a unique opportunity to break out of the conundrum of ‘no job without experience; no experience without a job’. Substantial numbers of people, especially young adults, travel within the region and abroad to seek employment. Effective planning must consider how best to engage them to encourage human-centred development through volunteerism.” The report concludes that volunteerism can play a crucial role in national progress by fostering human development. The power of volunteerism – drawing upon the immense social capital that exists in every society and community – if properly focused and harnessed, is essential in achieving the MDGs. This is inspiration in action. The study is available on the UNV website: http://www.unv.org/en/news-resources/resources/on-volunteerism/doc/understanding-volunteerism-for-development.html For more information please contact Anna Belousova at (+992.44) 600.55.98, e-mail hanna.byelousova@undp.org Information about the organizers: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organisation that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. UNV is administered by United Nations Development Programme. http://www.unv.org United Nations Development Programme is the UN's global development network, an organisation advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. http://www.undp.tj Marking the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers Volunteering empowers people to take an active part in the development of their own communities, to take responsibility for the needs of others, and to make an impact in their own lives. Volunteering often starts at home: but together, volunteers can change the world. It is 10 years since the International Year of Volunteers in 2001 and, through United Nations General Assembly Resolution 63/153 (2008), the United Nations called for this anniversary to be marked across the planet. The aims of the wide range of partners are to promote the values of volunteering, recognize the value of volunteering, build and reinforce volunteering networks both nationally and globally, and help people tap their potential to make a difference to peace-building and development. http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org For press release in Russian:

Dushanbe, Tajikistan