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Eritrea celebrates IVD with local communities
05 December 2003

Asmara: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Eritrea and Ethiopia and several UN agencies marked International Volunteer Day (IVD) with a wide range of community-based activities in Asmara and various other locations in Eritrea and Ethiopia on 5 December.

In the Eritrean capital Asmara, volunteers painted playground equipment and leveled the children’s playground with gravel at the Asmara Community Center. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila and other UN staff attended the activity to improve facilities of the playground. During the ceremony, SRSG Legwaila congratulated the volunteers for their good efforts, which, he said have been widely appreciated in UNMEE. He further called on the volunteers to pursue their humanitarian and community work with vigour, diligence and selflessness.

In Assab, southeast of Eritrea, volunteers Vinod Sharma, Kinza Om, Christian Guere, Abdallah Mponda, Gibrilla Kamara, Francois Barashingwa, combined International Day for Disabled and IVD with the upgrade of the access road to the Assab Orthopaedic workshop, using equipment loaned by the Indian military engineers serving with UNMEE. The road to the local orthopaedic workshop was extremely rough and rocky, and the upgrade enables easier access for disabled visitors using crutches and wheelchairs. The volunteers also provided, from their own funds, kitchen equipment and furniture to the local orphanage.

In Senafe, a town within the temporary security zone that encompasses the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, UN Volunteers Jean Bosco Mukulira, Joseph Kwemala and Linda Ngwenya-Phiri, based in Ethiopia and Eritrea in that region, organized a sports day for the local school children, many of whom live in internally displaced people (IDP) camps. UNV donated sports equipment and clothes for the students and explained the background of IVD and volunteering. The day was organized with the assistance of the local teachers and War Child, a non-governmental organization.

In Inda Silase, Ethiopia, human rights volunteer Sadiq Syed gave a presentation on “Volunteerism, Human Rights and the Global Presence of UNV” to 120 Red Cross volunteers attending a first aid training program. The participants were issued with posters developed by Sadiq Syed featuring slogans highlighting volunteerism and human rights.

Sadiq Syed also gave a presentation on volunteerism and human rights to the local secondary school students and teachers and provided UNV posters.

Combining IVD and World Human Rights Day, Sadiq Syed returned to the secondary school on 11 December and held and interactive quiz event for 800 students, combining human rights and volunteering themes into the quiz. Prizes for the students were donated by the UNMEE Human Rights office and UNV.

UN Volunteers James Kormon and Sando Burphy cleaned the local orphanage, distributed sporting equipment and IVD t-shirts to the children and staff while explaining the background of IVD and the promotion of volunteering in Barentu, south west of Eritrea.

IVD closed with a dinner for volunteers and friends in Asmara, with the UNMEE Special Representative of the Secretary-Genera Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator and UN Volunteer James Kormon read IVD messages from UNDP and UNV.

Photo shows volunteer NNade Nitusananon & Margherita Serafini painting playground equipment in Asmara.