Volunteerism for social transformation
By Ranjan K Baruah
Many people want to work without expecting any fincial gains. A term which is used in this context is volunteerism. Volunteering can be for different causes which start from volunteering for community services to helping people during calamities and disasters. It is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no fincial gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue.
We can find volunteers around the world. More than 1 billion people volunteer globally, the majority of them working in their own countries. Many are in the forefront of efforts to improve the way they and their fellow citizens are governed and engaged — volunteers are playing a vital role in making governments worldwide more accountable and responsive to their citizens. They are working with governments and civil society to hold those in power to account, to represent the voices of those who are often left out of development decisions such as women, youth and margilized groups.
The Intertiol Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is observed each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique event for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United tions agencies, government authorities and the private sector. Apart from mobilizing thousands of volunteers every year, the United tions Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of volunteers and working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming.
IVD 2016’s theme is ‘Global Applause – give volunteers a hand’, recognizes volunteers worldwide and all they do in making peace and sustaible development a reality. IVD is a chance for individual volunteers, communities and organizations to promote their contributions to development at the local, tiol and intertiol levels. By combining UN support with a grassroots mandate, Intertiol Volunteer Day is a unique opportunity for people and volunteer-involving organizations to work with government agencies, non-profit institutions, community groups, academia and the private sector.
The Intertiol Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development was adopted by the United tions General Assembly through Resolution A/RES/40/212 on 17 December 1985. Since then, governments, the UN system and civil society organizations have successfully joined volunteers around the world to celebrate the day on 5 December.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of United tions in his message on the occasion said: “Volunteers work tirelessly to create a better future for all. They contribute to tiol well-being and show global solidarity at times of crisis. We see this in action all over the world, most notably over the past year as volunteers have provided shelter and wide-ranging support to millions of refugees forced from their homes by armed conflict and persecution.” He also added that “volunteering gives the most margilized people in society an opportunity to get involved in the decision-making process. Volunteers can use their voices to shape conversations, question social norms and promote the values we all hold dear. Volunteers are critical to achieving the Sustaible Development Goals.”
There is no shadow of doubt that volunteers are committed advocates of making the world a better place. Let us recognize the immense value of the world’s volunteers as they lend a hand to others, let us give volunteers a hand by applauding their global citizenship and their commitment to building a future of peace, prosperity and dignity for all. I have the experience of being a volunteer in many different occasions. Let us all be part of volunteering movement and take part in whatever way we can and be part of achieving sustaible development goals in our life time.
(With inputs from UN publication and feedback may be sent to email@example.com)