Millions of Yemenis are affected by a terrible armed conflict, an impending famine and one of the world's largest cholera outbreaks in recent history. In May 2018, over 7,5 million people were receiving emergency food assistance — more than twice the number of people reached over a year ago.
Toily Kurbanov, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator, moderated the session and opened the event with a brief explanation of the importance of the SWVR 2018 and the scale of volunteerism in the region. According to the report findings, in Russia and CIS alone, there is the full-time equivalent of 5.3 million volunteers.That means if everyone volunteered 1 hour per week, then more than 200 million people are actively involved in volunteering in the region.
International Volunteers Day is an opportunity for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts and share their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
The day focuses on the values of volunteerism through the appreciation of local volunteers. This year we are highlighting the work of UN Volunteers in the Pacific, one of the regions where they are supporting national health responses through the UNDP-Global Fund partnership.
Nurturing local volunteerism is a valuable way to bring unheard opinions, and know-how to the table, and helps to weave and strengthen the social fabric of all societies. --Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, IVD 2018
Not only are volunteers on the front lines in their own communities during hard times, but groups of local volunteers build strength to cope with future crisis. This is because volunteering makes it possible for people to self-organize, share information and respond to shocks and stresses quickly.
Where public support and social safety nets are absent, volunteering emerges as a fundamental survival strategy. For example, the SWVR found that in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi, a group of people with disabilities organized to improve their limited access to education and to address their social exclusion in the camp. Without the voluntary networks they established, their needs would have remained invisible to others in the camp.
It is on the ground, in their local communities, that we really see the unique impact of volunteers.
For example, UN Volunteers are facilitating the local integration of Syrian asylum-seekers in Armenia, including those who themselves have escaped the conflict.
While in Afghanistan, UN Volunteers have brought together youth and religious leaders in dialogue on gender equality, exemplifying the power of volunteerism in bringing communities together, giving voice to marginalized groups and weaving a stronger social fabric.
In West and Central Africa, IVD is celebrated in all 24 countries by governments, civil society, non-governmental organizations and the UN system.
This year’s theme, "Volunteers build resilient communities", focuses on the values of volunteerism through the appreciation of local volunteers (including the marginalized groups and women, who make up nearly 60 per cent of volunteers worldwide) and their impact on building a resilient community.
Among those, there are more than 9 million equivalent full-time volunteers in the Arab States. A region which is not only home to fragile ecosystems, extreme weather and subject to natural disasters – such as catastrophic droughts and floods – but have also been witnessing armed conflicts that increased the pressure on societies and local communities, driving millions into forced displacement and food insecurity.
In Asia and the Pacific, there are nearly 29 million full-time equivalent volunteers. Volunteers are answering the call to serve their communities, strengthening local ownership and building their communities resilience against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.
This year, IVD celebrates volunteer efforts that strengthen local ownership and the resilience of the community in the face of natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks. 5 December - International Volunteer Day this year focuses on how volunteers can build resilient communities.
International Volunteer Day (IVD), mandated by the UN General Assembly, is marked annually on 5 December. It provides volunteers and organizations with the opportunity to promote their contributions to development at the local, national and international levels. This year’s theme, "Volunteers Build Resilient Communities", celebrates volunteers who improve the resilience of communities in the face of natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.