To mark International Youth Day, India launches with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) its first national online volunteering platform, a first of its kind in India and for UNV. The platform serves as a marketplace for non-profit organizations and volunteers to connect, allowing youth networks, volunteer involving organizations, civil society organizations, public institutions and State governments to get support from online volunteers completely free of charge.
India recognizes the importance of engaging young people and opening avenues for their participation in development initiatives that affect their communities and their country. With the second largest population in the world, India’s youth (15-29 years of age) account for 27.5 per cent of its more than 1.3 billion population. To harness this demographic divide, State authorities across India are finding ways to involve youth. This new online volunteering platform is the latest approach to their involvement in sustainable development. In addition, it allows India to automatically measure and report its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Benefiting from 17 years of online volunteering experience, UNV provides the technology, hosts the platform, and trains those who administer its use in India. As a pilot initiative in India, the successful launch of this national online volunteering platform paves the way for replicating this innovation and making it available to other countries.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and UNV have been partnering to strengthen national youth infrastructure in the country by conducting action research, capacity development of youth policy makers, promoting innovation and raising awareness. The Indian online volunteering initiative is part of this ongoing project that further advances the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme.
Through the projects with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, national volunteerism has galvanized local communities, especially youth, making the impossible possible. Be it in Kerala, Maharashtra or Sikkim, youth are role models and making transformative changes in their communities. And now, this online volunteering platform presents a real opportunity for youth networks in the country to connect and support India’s sustainable development on a much larger scale.
Healthy societies need the engagement of its youth. For India, engaging its youth in innovation and empowering them is a means for the country to thrive and shine.