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Albania promotes volunteerism, MDGs on IVD
05 December 2003

Tirana, Albania: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Albania, together with six other volunteering organization celebrated Interanational Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December by organizing a travelling exhibit promoting volunteering and the Millennium Development Goals in the capital Tirana.

The MDGs are a set of objectives that include halving poverty, ensure primary education and reduce child and infant mortality by 2015. The volunteers distributed leaflets, brochures, posters and other information materials on the various participating organizations on volunteering and the MDGs.

The vehicle was decorated with MDG and IVD materials, posters of different participating organization and photos of volunteers doing MDG-related activities. Exhibit visitors were also requested to sign a petition for the Albanian government to create laws that will regulate volunteer work and legalize the status of volunteers in the country.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Albania led discussions on how volunteer organizations could help monitor the MDGs with numerous volunteer-involved agencies, non-governmental and community-based organizations (CBOs).

Among the issues tackled were the importance of engaging volunteers in achieving the MDG; the perspectives and trends of volunteerism in Albania; the importance of creating a network volunteer-involved organizations in the country; and the relevance of specific legislations to regulate volunteering activities and the status of the volunteer.

Organizations present during the discussions were the MJAFT movement, the Albanian Red Cross, Caritas (Albania), Italian Caritas, Albanian Youth Council and VIS.

Volunteering efforts were witnessed in different parts of Albania. In the city of Fier, UN Volunteers organized a television talk show on volunteering, in collaboration with the Red Cross, to raise awareness on organized and sustainable volunteerism to achieve MDG.

In Gjiroskastra, UN Volunteers donated trees to local schools. Local volunteers painted school walls, cleaned schoolyards and drainages in Cakran while within the Hekal commune; school children planted trees and cleaned the neighbourhood.

Inspired by the IVD message of UN Volunteers Executive Coordinator, a.i., Ad de Raad, who underlined that 5 December "is more than a day", UN Volunteers in Gjrokastra continued to do volunteer activities after IVD. In 15 December they provided the first toilet and plumbing to the elementary school and health clinic in Humelice, a village in Cepo Commune. The CBOs of Humelice volunteered to install the toilet, dig the channels and place the pipes.

UN Volunteers also donate trees to a small public park on 15 January, a joint project of the CBOs of 18 Shtatori Quarter in Gjirokaster, the municipality of Gjirokaster and the local government’s governance programme.