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VSO offices worldwide mark IVD by 'building communities'
30 November 2005
by Theo Breedon

For International Volunteer Day 2005, Voluntary Service Overseas is highlighting the important contributions of local and national volunteering – and also the contributions of international volunteers – with a campaign entitled "Volunteers for Development: Building Communities Together".  

Many of our programme offices in over 35 developing countries will be participating in events to mark this campaign. The following brief highlights a number of campaign activities:

VSO and the Balkans
Youth Communication Centre (YCC) and VSO are organizing a volunteer management training workshop between December 2nd and 6th in Banja Luka, Bosnia i Hercegovina (BiH). The 25 participants are an equal number of NGOs involving local volunteers and Governmental Centres for Social Work that work with volunteers in BiH.

The training will be delivered by a group of trainers from Bosnia i Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania. It forms part of a three-year strategic plan of VSO's programme for national volunteering development in the Balkans region. The goal of the programme is to reduce vulnerability of socially vulnerable groups through the effective mobilization of volunteers in the social care sector in the Balkans.

Also, 5 December will see the launch of the RIVER SEE publication Partnership against Poverty and a regional seminar on IVD 2005. This event is due to take place in each of the seven countries/areas involved in the UNV-led RIVER SEE programme, following the image of a river flowing from South to North or vice-versa. The RIVER SEE programme aims to assist the reconciliation of South East Europe by organising a number of 100 intra-regional long-term volunteer placements over 2 years. The countries currently involved in this initiative are Albania, BiH, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

VSO Bangladesh
VSO Bangladesh is organizing a volunteer fair with other local and international volunteering organizations with the objective of raising awareness of volunteers’ work and their contributions to society. The fair will raise the awareness of local and national volunteering and and will create an opportunity for various organizations to network and share existing practices and innovations of the volunteers and partner organizations.

VSO Cameroon
VSO Cameroon is organizing a volunteer market in the Far North provincial capital province, with exhibition booths highlighting information on VSO, the acitivities of local partners and volunteers’ contributions to community development.  VSO will be showcasing its work in Education, Secure Livelihoods, and HIV & AIDS.  A radio programme will be aired to discuss issues surrounding volunteering and development. 

VSO China
VSO China is working with UNV and Huizeren Social Service Centre to organize an IVD forum. The theme is volunteering and community development and will be held in Chengdu and hosted by the Sichuan Women’s Federation and Heifer International. Approximately 50 volunteers and representatives of local volunteer-involving organizations will participate in the discussion around the role that volunteers play in promoting rural development, environmental protection, gender equality, HIV prevention, etc. The forum will showcase a photo-story exhibit and will also serve to launch a 3-year project aimed at building the capacity of local NGOs in volunteer management, a collaborative effort from Huizeren, VSO and UNV.

VSO Ghana
VSO Ghana will be working with local NGOs to organize volunteering activities in various regions throughout IVD week, culminating in a large national volunteering forum.  As part of the forum, awards will be given to people who have been nominated by volunteering organizations in the country.

December 3 has also been branded Corporate Volunteering Day and volunteers from a number of corporations will be accompanying orphans from the Teshie Orphanage on a tour of the Accra and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.  Participants will also be holding a discussion on the value of volunteering.

VSO Malawi
In collaboration with Volunteer Sending Agencies in Malawi and the Ministry of Sports, VSO has invited volunteers and partner organisations to take part in a day of sports on December 10th, which coincides with International Year of Sports and Physical Recreation.

Mixed teams will compete against each other in activities such as football, netball, volleyball, table tennis and basketball.  All participants will pay a small entry fee and make a donation that will then be given to an orphan care group in Lilongwe, the capital city.  The day is expected to attract volunteers and partner organisations from VSO, UNV, Red Cross Malawi, WUSC, Peace Corps, and JICA.

VSO Mongolia
A number of local volunteering organizations and VSO have organized a range of events to mark IVD Events include a discussion on volunteerism, social development and the Millennium Development Goals; a cultural night to celebrate volunteering; a donors’ day among network member organizations; awareness raising activities on voluntarism at universities and colleges; activities to celebrate World AIDS Day and International Day of Disabled Persons; and inviting the media to participate in all activities.

VSO Nepal
VSO international volunteers and local partners will be participating in a rally through Kathmandu.  A number of activities have also been planned by the National Development Volunteer Service, the National Planning Commission, the Returned United Nations Volunteers Association of Nepal, and Students Partnership Worldwide.  Activites include a workshop on volunteering and the MDGs, food distribution for street children, a radio broadcast, and various rallies in the Kathmandu area.

VSO Nigeria
VSO Nigeria, in partnership with Volunteer Corps and the Nigerian National Volunteer Service, will sponsor an IVD event entitled "Volunteer for Development: Building Our Nation Together" in Lagos.  The aim is to bring together people dedicated to building a stronger Nigeria through a commitment to service.  On December 3rd and 4th, VSO will facilitate a workshop on volunteer management training for volunteer managers from various volunteer-involving organizations from the region.

VSO Rwanda
VSO Rwanda is working alongside UNV and local volunteer organizations to host activities in Kibuye province that focus on reproductive health education for children heads of households and children living with HIV& AIDS.  Visits will be made to patients at the Kibuye Hospital and there will be a tree planting ceremony, construction of public latrines, and the distribution of food and non-food items to vulnerable members of the community.

Sri Lanka
VSO and other volunteer-sending organizations will be celebrating IVD by hosting a one-day event planned on 3 December in Wadduwa, near Colombo.

Over 200 international volunteers from VSO, UNV, JOCV (Japan), KOICA (Korea), AVI and AYAD (Australia), Project Trust (UK) and Uniterra (Canada) are expected to attend this event. Participants will also be given an opportunity to attend a development-focused workshop on disability and also on responses to the effects of the tsunami, one year on.

VSO Zambia
VSO Zambia is part of the IVD national preparatory committee and will be participate in the march on 5 December. On 29 November, VSO Zambia was part of a panel discussion for a radio program known as "let the people talk". The programme provided an opportunity for VSO Zambia to disseminate information and create awareness about the role of volunteering and their contribution to the development process in Zambia.

On the 2 December 2005, VSO Zambia will also partner with a home-based care partner in Lusaka to conduct home visits in a community in Lusaka. The team will consists of staff, VSO volunteers and community-based volunteers from the local home-based care groups.