Perhaps the traditional proverb “Nə əkərsən onu biçərsən” – you reap what you sow – can explain Azerbaijan’s rich culture of volunteerism and selfless acts integral to local communities and social norms.
Adopting the Law on Volunteer Activity in 2009, Azerbaijan has moved towards expanding the country’s volunteer infrastructure. Baku, a hub for international conferences and meetings in recent years, has been the host of many highly visible events made possible by the unrelenting work of volunteers. More than ten thousand volunteers were mobilized for the Islamic Solidarity Games this month – an evidence of Azerbaijan’s venerable culture of selfless giving.
Volunteering is on the increase in Azerbaijan. Highly aware of the demographic divide in Azerbaijan where youth account for one in three people, creating opportunities for this population group is high on the government’s agenda. Through volunteerism, youth become active leaders and citizens, and they develop their skill set for better employability.
UNV contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. In 2016, UNV had almost seven thousand volunteers around the world on the ground and almost 13 thousand online volunteers serving with UN agencies, governments, private sector and civil society in the long journey to sustainable development.
UNV is committed to a partnership with the Government and civil society. UNV’s mandate of promoting the global recognition of volunteerism and working for people, planet and prosperity is invaluable in the pursuit of sustainable development.
To achieve the next level of results, exchanges such as mobilizing nationals of Azerbaijan for international development cooperation in developing countries or placing them with UN partners in Azerbaijan will further strengthen the volunteering culture of the country.
“Nə əkərsən onu biçərsən” – you reap what you sow.
The seeds of volunteering are sown deep into Azerbaijani culture – what one individual achieves through volunteering is perhaps small but what the collective action of volunteers can achieve is monumental.
This opinion editorial was originally published in Azerbaycan (in Azerbaijani) and in Eurasia Diary (in English)