06 December 2002
Nineteen volunteer organizations jointly celebrated the International Volunteer Day (IVD) under the theme of "Combating HIV/AIDS in Namibia through volunteerism" to support the Namibian Government’s work to fight HIV/AIDS and help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative in Namibia, Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, read the IVD messages of the UN Secretary-General, the UNDP Administrator and the Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV). In his message, the Secretary-General hopes "that more and more citizens across the social spectrum are willing and able to volunteer in ways that bring benefits to society and a sense of true fulfillment to the individual volunteer. If we are to achieve the goals set out in the Millennium Declaration, harnessing this potential will be crucial".
The MDGs is a set of eight development goals that the UN has identified and aims to achieve by 2015. One of the targets is to "halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS".
The Government persuaded the Namibians to volunteer their time to help take care of the children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. "This is one of our biggest challenges. Unless we volunteer, the future of these children are doomed," said Ms. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa, Minister of Women Affairs and Child Welfare, representing the Namibian Government.
"Even if you are not infected with HIV/AIDS, you [will be inevitably] affected. Let us all volunteer to fight the deadly disease in our society," said Anita Isaacs, member of the Lironga Eparu or Learning to Survive organization of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
The representative from a group of international and national volunteer organizations said, "The potentials of volunteers are yet to be fully exploited in Namibia. [There is] much to be achieved...and lives saved if volunteers are mobilized to assist in combating HIV/AIDS, against disaster management, drought relief, road safety and other issues in Namibia."
The day was also marked with cultural presentations of local dances and songs of volunteerism from around the world. The public was likewise invited to visit information stands organized by local and international volunteer organizations to know more about volunteerism and HIV/AIDS.
Among the organizations who participated in the event were German Development Service (DED), US Peace Corps, the French Association of Volunteers for Progress (AFVP), WUS of Denmark and the Africa Groups of Sweden (AGS).