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Former UNV volunteers organized IVD in Cook Islands
20 December 2007

Cook Islands: Wednesday, 5 December, is a very special day as it signifies volunteerism demonstrated by hundreds of local and overseas volunteers from over 50 NGOs and government organizations who fulfill their missions in the Cook Islands.  

Prime Minister Honorable Jim Marurai and his Chief of Staff Tuaere Tangianau attended a special event that celebrates the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on Dec 5, 2007 with representatives from the Cook Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (CIANGO), Red Cross, Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF), UNDP and UNV.

Volunteer work indeed has created a lot of contribution to the improvement and development in the Cook Islands.  Mr. Hideki Date, a former UNV volunteer from Japan, was honored for serving Cook Islands for the past three years.  Date-san has worked in many outer islands on fixing and installing power equipments, literally brightening up the lives of the people there.  His service organization, the Office of the Minister for Islands Administration (OMIA), was represented by CEO Mr. Otheniel Tangianau at the special celebration event for IVD.

Another UNV volunteer Mr. Hong-Yi Ip from the Prime Minister Office, has begun his mission in Raratonga 9 months ago.  He is running the e-Government Project co-funded by UNDP and the Cook Islands Government.  The project has positive impacts on Governance, Human Capacity Building and Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) of the country.
At the IVD event, various attending volunteers from overseas and the local areas with their corresponding organizations were introduced and honored for their contribution. Ms Vereara Maeva, president of CIANGO, represented all the oversea and local volunteers.  Ms. Sally McBride and former  volunteer, now staff member Ms Zoe both from Canada represented PIAF.

Ms. Fumie Arimizu, Program Officer from the UNDP Samoa office, and a group of visiting UNDP officials, celebrated the occasion with attending volunteers and local government members. Ms. Georgina Bonin, Assistant Regional Representative from the UNDP Samoa Multi-Country Office, delivered a statement from the UN General Secretary's on IVD.

Besides a joyful celebration of the volunteers work in the Cook Islands, Ms. Fumie Arimizu from the UNV office has also established a dialogue with Ms. Vereara Maeva from CIANGO.  They will set up a local contact and a national committee for the future IVD programmes in Cook Islands.

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