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Lesotho launches national volunteer commission on IV Day
06 December 2002

Leribe Hlotse: In a special ceremony celebrating International Volunteer Day (IVD), the Government of Lesotho officially launched the Lesotho National Volunteer Commission. As a follow-up to the success of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001, the Commission is now working with the Government to establish a permanent National Volunteer Centre to tap into the full potential of volunteerism in Lesotho.

In attendance to celebrate IVD were the Honourable 'Mathabiso Lepono, Minister for Gender, Youth and Sports, the District Secretary for Leribe, the Principal Chief of Leribe District, the Director of Youth Affairs, the Country Director of Skillshare International, senior officials from the Lesotho Government, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Lesotho, the officer in-charge of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), more than 200 youth volunteers and members of Lesotho’s National Volunteer Commission.

Held at the Mount Royal R.C. Hall, events included: speeches by Minister Lepono, drama presentations, traditional dances and the awarding of certificates to 72 youth volunteers trained in the provision of home-based care and counselling to people living with HIV/AIDS.

On 6 December, UNV, in collaboration with the National Volunteer Commission, organized a seminar at the UN House in the capital Maseru to discuss the role of volunteering in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Opened by Ernest Fausther, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative for Lesotho, the seminar identified ways in which volunteers could significantly contribute to poverty eradication, improving gender equality and working conditions for female workers, combating HIV/AIDS and increasing environmental awareness and preservation. The seminar was attended by the country director of Skillshare International, the Director of Youth Affairs, the Chairperson of the National Volunteer Commission, members of the Commission, UN Volunteers and journalists.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Fausther announced plans to establish a national volunteer corps comprising of graduates of the National University to address HIV/AIDS and assist the graduates in getting "hands-on" work experience.

All events on 5 and 6 December were organized by the UNV Programme Officer and the UNV country team, in cooperation with the Department of Youth Affairs of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Sports and the National Volunteer Commission.