Russia holds volunteering conference in a month-long IVD celebration
27 December 2002
Moscow: Russia celebrated International Volunteer Day (IVD) by holding several regional conferences organized by more than 500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and led by the Russian Volunteer Development Centre and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
Under the theme of "Strategic partnership between state and volunteer sector in resolving of social problems", the celebrations from 26 November to 27 December focused on the local volunteers’ contribution to society, strengthening relationship with the Government and promoting volunteerism in the country.
The conferences tackled volunteering issues that include problems of mobility within the country, the role of NGOs and young people in helping solve local social problems such as crime, drugs and unemployment. These were held in the regions of Samara, Sverdlovsk, Primorye and Kemerovo.
The first issue of the newsletter "GO!", published by the United Nations Volunteers in Russia, highlights the development of volunteering in Central Asia. It also narrates experiences of local volunteer associations.
In an effort to actively engage the Government, a group of young volunteers from the region of Taganrog drafted and brought to discussion a bill titled "About Volunteering". The Ministry of Education also conducted a discussion about their participation and support for the Spring Week of Goodness and Global Youth Service Day to be held on 11 until 13 April 2003.
On 5 December, volunteers from the province of Vladivostok organized the Fourth Volunteer's Ball under the theme of "The age is not a barrier for acts of kindness and success!" in the region of Novorossiisk. The event also included giving awards to 65 donor organizations in the province of Pyatigorsk which coincides with the 135th anniversary of the Russian Red Cross Society, launching the "Volunteer of the year 2002" contest and a campaign encouraging members of the community to address social problems such as orphaned and abandoned children and homelessness.
Volunteers from local organizations also engaged in several charitable activities. Under the theme "Be kind - 2!", volunteers helped children from orphanages and disabled people. Volunteers also collected toys, books, clothes for children with tuberculosis in the province of Sverdlovsk.
UNV, United Nations Development Programme and the UN Information Center in Moscow organized the events, together with the Agency of the International Development and the Open Society Institute (OSI), Samara Volunteer Development Center, Youth Volunteer Service Agency "PIETAS", Ogaryov Mordovian State university and the Vladivostok Volunteers Corps.