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Hundreds of volunteers attended IVD celebrations in Nicaragua
03 December 2004

Managua: A whole week was dedicated to various activities and events that were organized by the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and several volunteer organizations and universities.

The celebrations kicked off in the capital Managua, on 3 December, with positive news about the Volunteer Law initiative. The president of the Population and

Development Commission, Emilia Torres, confirmed that the Commission was in favour of approving the initiative that aims to get more people involved in strengthening volunteerism and voluntary activities. The process for implementing the initiative has lasted for over a year and the surprised guests welcomed the news.

Volunteers and other volunteer-involving organizations attended the event where key speakers praised volunteers’ work. The speakers included Jorge Chediek, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP in Nicaragua; Patricio Rojas, Representative from the World Health Organization, who on reflected the importance of volunteerism in a series of inspirational and emotional speeches. Jose Antonio Alvarado, the Minister of Health, considered volunteers as signs of hope and encouraged the audience to “cherish the spirit of giving, without expecting anything but a smile and the satisfaction of a promise fulfilled”.

The speakers praised the valuable work of the volunteers and in particular those in the health sector. The focus of the event was also on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and speakers reflected the importance of volunteers in bringing the MDGs into practices of everyday life. Esperanza Bermudez, President of the Red Cross in Nicaragua and a volunteer for 60 years, shared her rich experiences; drawing on her eclectic experience in the health sector she directed her words to the youth, encouraging them to volunteer.

The Volunteer Law initiative was given further recognition in a separate event hosted by the Youth Secretary, on 6 December. The initiative plays an important part in promoting volunteerism and the event acknowledged the dedication and achievements of the scheme to date.

National universities that form part of the University Volunteers Service (SVU) honoured IVD by organizing the first Nicaraguan University Volunteer Meeting. The meeting focused on the fundamental role that the university volunteers play for the UNV and the development of the country in general.

The SVU, with the help from UNV, also offered two days of training for the newly recruited UN university volunteers.

The Polytechnic University also played its part in the IVD celebrations by giving recognition to student volunteers and launched a campaign to collect toys for the rural children. The event concluded with various artistic performances by the students themselves, including singing, music and poetry recitals.

From: UN Volunteers Nicaragua