09 December 2005
Volunteers plant trees on Ruhira Mountain in Kibuye in Rwanda on the occasion of the International Volunteer Day, 5 December 2005. (Photo: UN Volunteers Rwanda)Kigali, Rwanda:
Hundreds of national and international UN Volunteers and other volunteers – including scouts and guides, members of the National Youth Council, VSO, young Christian associations, young women Christians associations, and the Red Cross as well as citizens – joined hands in celebrating the International Volunteer Day (IVD) in Rwanda. The Municipality of Kibuye also joined the events which were organized by the United Nations System in the country.
The participants started with a march to raise awareness around the role of volunteers worldwide. A community event (umuganda) followed, with the planting of trees on Ruhira Mountain in Nyagahinga Cell. Around 10,000 trees that were planted will not only serve to protect the soil against erosion, but also as land fertilizers and food for domestic animals. The equipment used in planting trees was later donated to the Municipality of Kibuye to help them in future endeavors in preserving the environment, one of the targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“These equipment are of utmost importance for our town in our efforts to ensure environment sustainability,” said Vianney Nkurunziza, vice-mayor in charge of economic affairs in the City of Kibuye. The equipment donated was worth 1,500,000 Rwandan francs.
Widows and children heads of household associations were given goats to help them improve their standards of living through animal husbandry. Ten goats were given to each group, one goat per family under the promise that the first offspring will be given to one of the other families that didn’t receive a goat.
UN Volunteers visited and supported the Hospital of Kibuye with food items to be distributed to the resident patients who badly need assistance. According to reports, the hospital of Kibuye each week receives between 30 and 50 patients who cannot afford to pay for treatment. The food donated included sugar, rice, maize and wheat flour, cooking oil, soaps and beans worth 2,000,000 Rwandan francs.
The youth was one of the target audiences of the IVD activities. A visit to the Youth centre of Rubengera, a project supported by UNFPA and the Ministry of Youth Culture and Sport, was organized and the youth trained in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.
“The International Volunteer Day is a good opportunity for people in all regions to consider the great work done by volunteers and their contribution to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals”, said Jean de Dieu Kayiranga, representing the UN Resident Coordinator at this event. He invited the government, private sector, civil society, media and others to support this work.
The province and district authorities praised the work done by UN Volunteers. “We shall start from what you did, whether protecting the environment or helping others,” said Rutamunuga Obalde, representative of the Kibuye Province, thanking UN Volunteers and local volunteer organizations for choosing Kibuye as the venue for the IVD commemoration.
As part of the commemoration, a new “League of Volunteer Associations in Rwanda”, set up a week ago with technical and financial support from the UN Volunteers, was also launched. The league will lead local volunteer organizations in their efforts towards achieving the MDGs.