05 December 2005, 17:21
by Mounir Kleibo
Today, civil societies, governments, UN agencies and volunteers throughout the world celebrate the 20th anniversary of International Volunteer Day (IVD). The core values of the UNV Programme are ownership commitment, engagement and solidarity, which are the foundations of volunteerism that are celebrated on IVD around the world.
The Palestinian UNV Programme www.unv-pal.org and its partners have organized a variety of activities in honour of its UN national, international and TOKTEN* volunteers www.tokten.org on IVD this year. These workshops, symposia and community events engage local authorities, communities, NGOs and volunteers throughout the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
The Palestinian UNV Programme is widely recognized for its large-scale promotion of volunteerism to support sustainable peace and development, in which the Programme has been engaged since its inception in 1994. A testament to this commitment to volunteerism is that over 700 qualified female and male, international and national volunteers have served the Palestinian community since 1994, for an annual average of 130 active volunteers during 2004 – 2005. These numbers are impressive, as they indicate not only a strong need for qualified volunteers, but also the capacity of the relatively small UNVP staff to manage this large number of volunteers.
Partner organizations, communities and the Palestinian Authority (PA) highly esteem the Programme and its responsiveness to the shifting needs of the Palestinians over time. The UNDP/Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People www.papp.undp.org generously hosts and funds the Palestinian UNV Programme, which serves various PA ministries and NGOs as they face the ongoing occupation and the challenges it poses to development.
Additionally, the UNV opportunity is highly rated among the volunteers themselves. UN Volunteers apply their talents and gain new skills as they partner with institutions in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. A diverse range of fields benefit from UNVs, including management, finance, education, health, elections, environment, information technology, women and youth empowerment, culture, media and communications, and the promotion of democracy and human rights. UNVs have supported over 100 ministries, private sector institutions, aid agencies and NGOs in their endeavours to meet the needs of the Palestinian people. Among these, UNVs have provided valuable assistance to national and international youth organizations such as Right To Play and Sharek, as well as the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, Yabous, the Ramallah Cultural Palace, Juzoor, and other dynamic entities. Additionally, UNVs in the oPt have served many start-up organizations, new projects or new ministries, such as the ministries of Women's Affairs, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Planning, Labour and Civil Affairs, the Prime Minister's Office, all of which benefited immeasurably from the technical and expert assistance of UNVs.
We take this opportunity to thank the local, national and international volunteers serving the Palestinian people.
Please join us celebrate the IVD in the occupied Palestinian territories and check the attached power point presentation and calendar of events for this week ….
UNV Program Manager