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Ready for International Volunteer Day 2003
21 November 2003

Bonn: Tens of thousands of volunteers around the world are preparing to celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December. Celebrations range from heads of state presenting certificates of appreciation to individual volunteers, to modest gatherings in private residences, to panel discussions on how volunteerism can be expanded in the private sector are planned. In some places, IVD represents the launch of a week- or month-long campaign to promote volunteerism and recognize volunteers.

Some of the larger events include Honduran President Ricardo Maduro Joest, who will honour UN Volunteers at a special ceremony before the national football team plays an exhibition match will local children. In La Paz, Bolivia, Feria del Voluntariado, an exposition on volunteerism will feature information booths and discussion groups highlighting the contribution made by volunteers. In Sao Paulo, Brazil a large celebration will take place at Ibirapuera Park. Federal ministers, UN officials, and national celebrities will join some 10,000 students who will be accompanied by their deans and principals from schools across the nation at the event.

Australian Volunteers International will host ‘Carnivale’ a street party at Federation Square in Melbourne. The 7 December event is a celebration for all who have volunteered at a local, national or international level. Across Pakistan, rallies in all 17 districts, will recognize some 20,000 volunteers for their contribution to human development initiatives in Pakistan. In Japan, the National Network of Organizations Promoting Volunteerism, (NNOPV) have organized "Volunteer Week" activities including "Volunteer Fiesta 2003". UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Konno Misako will join a number of Japanese celebrities and officials at the fiesta.

In Accra, Ghana, the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama will deliver the key note speech on volunteerism and socio-economic development at the UNDP Conference facilities. UN Volunteers in cooperation with other volunteer sending organizations have prepared an exhibition in honour of the vice president’s visit. In Kissy Town, Sierra Leone, UN Volunteers have organized an event with the theme "refugees from Liberia and their hosts Sierra Leone". The event will extend a positive message about volunteerism to both the refugees and their hosts. Clothing will be distributed and a volleyball match between UN staff and local children will take place. And in South Africa IVD will mark the start of "Celebrating 16 days of Activism through Volunteer Action". Volunteer South Africa will use IVD as the focal point to create a lasting infrastructure for volunteer movements in the Southern Africa Development Community.

In Jordan, a local Volunteer IT community centre will be inaugurated while at the same time, a MDG Community Outreach campaign will be launched. In the Lebanese capital, Beirut the Association for Volunteer Services, (AVS) will host a reception with Lebanon’s Vice President, His Excellency, Mr. Marwan Hamade. An exhibition, "World of Volunteering" will feature the diversity of volunteerism around the world, while at the same time encourage others to volunteer. In nearby Badghan village, 1000 trees will be planted near the Association of Municipalities facilities by a local youth club. In Nicosia, Cyprus Young Volunteers, a youth-led organization, will host a celebration which will culminate with the lighting of a Christmas tree. Members of the diplomatic corps, local government officials will join Mr. Pefkios Georgiades, the Minister for Education and Culture at the ceremony.

In Belgium, the European Volunteer Centre will host a round table discussion in Brussels featuring European Members of Parliament, along with Ms. Jenny Winter, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Barretstown, Ms Esther Fonfria-Novella, Secretary-General of the Foundation for Solidarity and Voluntary Work of the Valencian Community and Mr. William Andrianasolo, Chief of the Research and Development section at UN Volunteers. In Estonia, IVD will be celebrated everyday during the first week of December. The EST YES and Tartu Volunteer Centre have teamed up with various partners to present a week of activities and awareness campaign. Their goals are to promote volunteering as part of an active life, mobilize potential volunteers, and demonstrate the benefits of volunteering to elected officials.

An extensive list of IVD activities / celebrations can be found on the Internet portal,