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During the celebration of IVD, some NGOs organized games, competitions, debates and shows. (UNV, 2013)

IVD celebration in Egypt draws youth and families

On Saturday 23 February 2013, hundreds of youth flocked from all parts of Egypt to celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD) organized by UNV Egypt, in cooperation with several UN agencies, government entities, private sector, and national and international NGOs.  The theme used for IVD 2012 in Egypt was “3afer” – the 3 represents the Arabic guttural letter ?a, and the word is pronounced ?aafer.  The word “3afer” in the Egyptian connotation implies persistence and hard work.

On Saturday 23 February 2013, hundreds of youth flocked from all parts of Egypt to celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD) organized by UNV Egypt, in cooperation with several UN agencies, government entities, private sector, and national and international NGOs.  The theme used for IVD 2012 in Egypt was “3afer” – the 3 represents the Arabic guttural letter ?a, and the word is pronounced ?aafer.  The word “3afer” in the Egyptian connotation implies persistence and hard work.  

“3afer precisely describes what most Egyptian youth are currently experiencing. I am happy to see enthusiasm in the eyes of youth during IVD because I believe that youth can make a difference” said Essam Sharaf, an active student at the faculty of Medicine, Cairo University.

“Fantastic,” said Yusra Sherif, describing the International Volunteer Day (IVD) in Egypt. “It was amazing to see all those organizations gathered together for one purpose:  the development of our country,” she added.

Several UN agencies had come together with UNV in this annual event, namely UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and UNAIDS. Other partners were the British Council, Plan International and the Ministry of State for Youth.  Sponsors included several private sector agencies such as Act CSR, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Vodafone Foundation, as well as national CSOs, such as Kites, Resala and Etijah.

The event included booths of various NGOs, each flaunting its activities and products, and with many offering the opportunity to recruit new volunteers or form new partnerships with other NGOs.  Some NGOs managed to attract attention by organizing games, competitions, debates and shows; others provided career guidance, recycling activities and on-the-spot blood donation.  The celebration of IVD 2012 highlighted success stories and volunteer champions, and ended to the rhythms of a famous Egyptian band, called Cairokee.

Noha Salah attended the event after hearing about it via social media, “I have a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, but I am eager to join the UN as a volunteer” she said.
 
IVD 2012 in Egypt successfully gathered more than 1,250 attendees:  youth, families, children and refugees all came together; moving from booth to booth, asking questions, signing up and buying products.  Vibrant joy, enthusiasm and optimism were vividly manifested.  During the event, more than 100 youth volunteers, all wearing red IVD t-shirts, collectively worked to promote IVD, help with the various activities and provide general support to the attendees.  They all provided time and commitment to ensure the success of IVD 2012.

Marcel and Shadi Malak, brother and sister, are both students at Ain Shams University. “We heard about the event via the UNV Egypt Facebook page.  We came because we are interested in volunteerism as well as learning more about the UN,” they added.

UNV Egypt believes that IVD is an ideal opportunity to recognize the significant impact of volunteerism on the Egyptian community.  IVD enables NGOs, UN agencies, government entities and the private sector to connect and work together.  After the noticeable success achieved during IVD 2012, UNV Egypt aspires to continue promoting volunteerism throughout the year of 2013 under the same theme of “3afer”, using on-going activities, events, social media platforms and promotional campaigns.