Tashkent, Uzbekistan: It was a great honour for me, as the national IYV+10 Coordinator in Uzbekistan, to directly participate in the celebration of the birth of the United Nations. We enjoyed a gorgeous autumn day in Tashkent on Monday 24 October, still blessed with vitamin D from the sun.
I had a great time behind the stall of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, answering endless questions while giving away informational brochures, calendars, UNV stickers and souvenirs. We were a popular destination among college students who were very eager to volunteer and get involved in any way they could.
For a couple of hours there was something akin to a game show going on at the stall, with visitors asking trivia-style questions relevant to the UN and receiving souvenir presents for correct answers.
We provided our visitors with information about our current activities and initiatives. I referred interested individuals to our Facebook group and was pleased to find out that most of them already follow our posts. These posts not only include reports about our activities, but also contain links to various competitions, educational opportunities, contests, projects and programmes that people can get involved in.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10) in Uzbekistan, we have made a strategic investment in young leaders.
This year UNV in Uzbekistan held a mini-grant competition among local NGOs and initiative groups. Four winners were selected based on their projects feasibility, originality and cost-effectiveness. Four projects operating in Bukhara, Navoi Samarkand and Fergana received our mini-grants.
The Bukhara project focused on the social inclusion of the Roma population, while the Navoi project worked on NGO leadership support. The Samarkand project dealt with theatre-based youth empowerment, and the Fergana project conducted informal environmental education seminars and trainings for trainers.
I was very happy to see Mirsaid Uzakov at the event. Mirsaid is the head of the "Eco Boom" project in Fergana, one of our mini-grant recipients. Like many others, Mirsaid travelled to Tashkent to especially attend the UN Day event.
The day concluded with a reception, delicious food, speeches and dances. During the reception my parents called to inform me that they had seen me on TV. Happy birthday, UN!
By Rashid Gabdulhakov, IYV+10 Coordinator in Uzbekistan