27 November 2002
by Duygu Pekmen
The basic principles underlying volunteerism are at the very core of the United Nations concern to meet people's needs, protect their rights, and help give them a voice (Support for volunteering, Report of the Secretary General, title 52, 2001). In Jordan, the strength of this voice has led to successful volunteer programs before and after the introduction of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV). The main activities of the IYV 2001 were the workshops entitled "Voluntary Work, Issues and Challenges" (June 7, 2001) and "Volunteerism and the Facilitation of Volunteer Work in Jordan" (October 8, 2001). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) launched these activities with the collaboration of the Ministries of Planning, Social Development, and Youth, The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), The General Union for Voluntary Societies (GUVS), the University of Jordan, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and UN Resident Coordination Unit.
The Campaign: Jordan First! From Heart to Hands
This year International Volunteer Day (IVD) preparations concentrate on project "From Heart to Hands." UNV Program along with its national volunteer partners seeks to join the Government of Jordan through the Ministry of Planning to promote volunteerism as an essential component of the Jordan First Campaign. UNV plans to instigate this campaign with a work proposal by the students of Jordan University. This is not the first occasion Jordan's volunteerism emphasis is on youth. Organizing a meal at an orphanage in Ramadan on 12 December 2000, for instance, was one of the earlier successful events in response to a finding in Jordan's first Human Development Report that Jordanian youth have feelings of alienation.
"From Heart to Hands" will be an example of individual and group volunteerism. University students will participate in several activities; these activities may include, but will not be limited to, a neighborhood clean-up and visiting people at a hospital or at an orphanage. The Project will commence with A Kick-off Ceremony on December 14, and last until the Recognition Day on April 15. The Government of Jordan will release a proclamation to explain and promote the program and disseminate materials at the Kick-off Ceremony. The materials/forms will also be distributed through the Jordan Information Technology Community Centers, schools, government offices, and community centers (JOHUD, GUVS, etc.). UNV will invite the people of Jordan, individually and in groups, to pledge their time and energy to any volunteer initiative in which they are interested until the Recognition Day. During this period of time, volunteers will be asked to commit to the activity of their choice. When the commitment/activity is completed, an authorized person will sign the form vouching that work was actually done. This form will then be sent to the Program Administrative Office for Action. On the Recognition Day, each volunteer will receive a Heart to Hands certificate and pin, and, in addition, groups of 5-15 people will receive a plaque etc. Larger groups and organizations will receive a banner suitable for display.
It is anticipated that the campaign will help motivate people to make a commitment to volunteer work and to maintain or increase their current level of involvement. In addition, volunteers will strengthen their self-esteem with the consciousness of belonging to a world that extends beyond immediate self-interest. It is this spirit and heart of volunteerism that Jordan needs to build stronger communities and to own its future.
Volunteers know that happiness lies within reach of those who reach beyond themselves. So in Jordan they will reach… From heart through hands…
Thanks to Sean Osner, UNV Country Office Program Officer in Jordan, for providing input into this article. For more information please contact Sean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Jordan's country profile: www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/aag/jor_aag.pdf