March marks the start of IYV in Botswana
05 December 2000

To celebrate the International Year of Volunteers (IVD), 5 December, the National Committee for IYV 2001 and the Volunteer Agencies in Botswana started the day with a march from Bontleng Mall through CID, SCORE going to the Anglican Church and to YWCA. The march was participated in by Hon. Minister Thebe D. Mogami, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration; Ms. Comfort Tetteh, Acting Resident Representative of UNDP, Members of the National IYV Committee, Directors and Representatives of Volunteer Agencies, community home-based care volunteers, students and several Botswana who aims to volunteer. While marching, a number of the participants were picked up litter along the way.

The launch proceeded as planned - was formally opened by Mrs. Phumela Vanqa, National Executive Director of YWCA, the invocation led by Mrs. Rampa, National Coordinator of the International Association for Volunteer Efforts (IAVE) and the message of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan was read by Ms. Tetteh of UNDP. Hon. Min. Mogami followed with his message on behalf of the Government of Botswana and concluded his speech by launching the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001 celebration. The programme was graced by the First Lady, Mrs. Barbara Mogae, who serves as an Honourary Member of the National IYV Committee.

During the launching ceremony, several groups came to entertain the participants - presentations were made by the Traditional Dance Troupe and Drum Majorette of the Botswana National Youth Centre and a musical number by the SSG Police Band. After calling on the members of the National IYV Committee, the launching ceremony was officially closed by Ms. Norah Motlhabane, Chairperson of the National IYV Committee.

After a short break, the Forum on Volunteers' Experiences followed with the First Lady, Mrs. Mogae as one of the participants together with the other guests for the day. The speakers at the forum were volunteers in the field representing Junior Achievement Botswana (JAB), the German Development Service (DED), Botswana Red Cross, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and Botswana Work Camps Association (BWCA). To entertain the audience the Traditional Dance Troupe of BNY Centre performed and a song rendered by members of the National IYV Committee. The forum was formally closed by Mr. Nonofo Kejelepula, Undersecretary, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFPD).

Representatives of the National Committee for IYV 2001 and the UNV Programme Officer were on the air for 30 minutes over YaRona FM to elaborate on the morning's launch of IYV 2001 and inviting the general public to the remaining activities for the week (please refer to list of activities). Within the 30-minute slot, the IVD Message of the UN Secretary General was read in English (by Ms. Comfort Tetteh, UNDP Acting Resident Representative) and in Setswana by a volunteer. An IYV jingle prepared by the Committee was likewise played several times during the day.

Botswana TV included in its 7 p.m. news coverage in Setswana, the march and launching ceremony that took place in the morning of 5 December at YWCA.

Additional IVD Activities (2-9 December 2000)

To start the volunteers week celebration (2-9 December 2000), an International Volunteer Day (IVD) Fair was held at Tsholofelo Community Centre last Saturday, 2 December. At the centre, 10 volunteer agencies serving in Botswana participated in the exhibition as part of their continued efforts of informing the general public of the volunteers' activities in the country. Simultaneous to the exhibition was a musical festival and an international food fair.

The IVD Fair was officially opened by Mr. N. Kejelepula of MFPD, followed by the IVD Messages from Ms. Tetteh of UNDP and the Hon. Min. Daniel Kwelagobe, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs. The participants to the fair were entertained by several performers including Mr. Mmereki Marakakgoro, Lentswe la Batlhoka Pono, Mr. Billy Mosedame, and the Diphala and BNY Centre's traditional dance troupes.

On 4 December, the blood donation campaign sponsored by the volunteer-agencies in Botswana was formally opened at Gaborone's City Hall until 19 December 2000. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Gaborone City Council, donors came to the City Hall to donate blood.

On 6 December, in cooperation with the Environmental Heritage Foundation and Somarelang Tikologo (Gaborone-based NGOs), a clean-up campaign was held in one of the densely populated community in Gaborone, Old Naledi. The activity started with a programme participated in by the First Lady, Mrs. B. Mogae and Member of Parliament and Hon. Minister Jacob Nkate of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Environment. The members of the National IYV Committee, Directors/Representatives and volunteers representing various Volunteer-sending Agencies (VSAs) joined the community of Old Naledi by dividing themselves in groups to clean-up different parts of Old Naledi. The First Lady joined the volunteers and the community in the campaign until mid-day.

On 7-8 December, the UNVs in Botswana held its two-day UNV Quarterly Meeting at Maharaja Restaurant in Gaborone. The meeting included sessions on Gender Issues with focus on the integration of the gender issues to the activities that the UNVs are doing at their respective duty stations, on Stress Management and Positive Thinking and most importanly, a session with Programme Partners where the UNVs had the opportunity to dialogue with partners to clarify issues affecting their work and at the same time establish resolutions and recommendations to improve and/or strengthen programme implementation. The UNVs had the chance to watch UNV's video, "Changing the Face of the World" - for the benefit of newly-recruited UNVs.

On 9 December at 10 a.m., the volunteers enjoyed by playing soccer and volleyball at New Era School. The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) coordinated the Sports Day on behalf of the volunteer agencies in Botswana.

To conclude the week's celebration, a dinner-get-together for volunteers was held at YWCA from 7:30 - 12 midnight with the aim of strengthening camaraderie and "we feeling" among volunteers in Botswana. With participants representing local and international volunteer agencies, the evening's programme was formally opened by Mrs. Phumela Vanqa, YWCA's National Executive Director. After a great dinner prepared by YWCA's Cafeteria, the volunteers enjoyed dancing with the sounds of Lentswe la Bathloka Pono (LBP), a band composed of blind performers and managed by the Administrative Officer of JOCV. LBP proudly started their evening's performance by singing an IYV 2001 song in Setswana. The IYV 2001 song was composed by the group for next year's celebration.

From: UN Volunteers, Germany

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