Joining hands & winning hearts in Jamaica
07 December 2004

Kingston: This year, in partnership with the Governor General’s Hands Across Jamaica project, the International Volunteer Day (IVD) Committee on 5 December honoured in Kingston organizations and individuals who continue to provide assistance to people whose lives are severely disrupted by Hurricane Ivan.

During the church service in Falmouth, the Mayor was presented with the “City with a Heart” award for Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to Urban Development and the MDGs.

The award was initiated by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and in partnership with UN-Habitat and the Inter-American Development Bank's Initiative on Social Capital, Ethics and Development, and serves as a reference point for recognizing excellence in volunteer promotion for urban development at the community level.

Through UNV’s Caring Cities project, the town of Falmouth started a process of revitalizing its rich but fading culture of volunteerism and self-help in 2002. Since then, schools were rehabilitated, the beach cleaned and developed, local monuments and parks refurbished, a book drive for low-income students held, and a number of local associations—fishermen, artisans, neighbourhood groups—received professional trainings to update their skills and learn new technologies. These activities had not previously been possible given the local government’s lack of funds. Voluntary activities in the city are now coordinated through a joint committee.

In Trelawny, the William Knibb Baptist Church in Falmouth held a special service and recognized the newly established organisation, Trelawny Association of Voluntary Organisations (TAVO).

A poster competition with the theme “Volunteer and Transform Jamaica“ was also held in schools in Kingston. Winners of the competition, along with outstanding volunteers were awarded prizes and certificates of appreciation at a special IVD ceremony held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on 3 December.

On 4 and 5 December, church services paid tribute to volunteers in their communities. At the Webster Memorial United Church IVD service, the Governor General’s IVD message and the message from the UN Secretary General were read.

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From: UN Volunteers Jamaica

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