05 December 2002
In celebration of International Volunteer Day (IVD), the Core Volunteer Group, a group of international volunteer-sending organizations, organized an essay competition amongst students from 30 different secondary schools in the capital Ulanbaatar. The students were asked write about how they understand volunteerism and what they could contribute to promote it.
In addition, nine local United Nation Volunteers (UNV) working with bio-diversity project in the Choibalsan, Dornod Aimag organized a public awareness programme on volunteerism and how volunteer work has contributed to development of the community.
On 5 December, an exhibition was held to create greater awareness about the national and international volunteers’ work in the country and to increase public participation in volunteering.
Mr. S. Chinzorig, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare, opened the exhibition. In his speech, he talked about the Government’s plan to recognize the contribution of volunteers’ activities to the national economy. He said that government is identifying the appropriate Government agency to incorporate volunteer programmes for the development of Mongolia. The Mongolian Government has recognized the existence of volunteers and their work and is very keen on institutionalizing volunteerism into the system by creating and enacting policies. Since the Government is learning and experiencing development challenges, it would be very effective if volunteers’ contribution could be adopted and integrated into the government rules and regulations, he added.
Richard Prado, United Nations Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Resident Representative, congratulated all volunteers for their contributions and emphasized that Mongolia’s society would not be successful in meeting all its needs without proper mobilization of volunteer sprits and giving adequate recognition to their achievements.
At the end of the opening ceremony, Vice-Minister Chinzorig also awarded prizes to the winners of the essay competition. E. Indra, school No. 18, Ts. Naranbaatar, school No 5 and M. Uzmee, school No. 93 students were awarded first, second and third prizes accordingly. The exhibit was able to bring representatives from different fields, including embassies, international and local NGOs, the private sector and the public.
The event also attracted volunteers from different organizations. For example, agencies helping the blind and disabled were present to introduce their work and sell some of their products. People found it was a great place where they could talk about future possibility of having partnership and cooperation. Most importantly, the forum helped to build cohesiveness by bringing together like-minded organizations.
"I could not believe that today I am surrounded by friends and colleagues who keep the same vision and mission that I do -- promoting volunteerism in Mongolia," a volunteer said. "I am so delighted to be the part of today's celebration and to broaden my ideas."
The exhibition, attended by more than 1,000 people, was followed by an IVD concert that was jointly organized by the Mongolian Volunteers Association and Mongolian National Television. Famous singers volunteered to carry on the message of volunteerism through their songs.