Fair trade, healthy lifestyle dominate IVD in Samoa
10 December 2007
Apia, Samoa: This year’s International Volunteer Day celebrations held on Saturday, 8 December in Apia, broke new ground in Samoa when it saw about 100 volunteers, government and non-government organisations representatives unite to promote volunteerism, fair trade and healthy lifestyles.
UNV volunteers teamed up with volunteers from other organizations, e.g., JICA, US Peace Corps, AusAID, Red Cross and SUNGO (Samoa Umbrella for non-Government organisations) to help organise the gala day which involved fun activities for the kids, sports for the adults, an organic market, and a series of stalls promoting NGOs and organisations working to create a healthy Samoa.
The Red Cross also ran its first major blood drive in Samoa – a nation where the practice of donating blood is not yet well established. Representatives from the Red Cross said they were delighted with the response from the public and believed that the IVD blood drive provided a great opportunity to raise awareness and encourage local people to donate blood.
Other key participants included the Animal Protection Society, the National Disability Council, Tagiilima Handicrafts (promoting fair trade) and Women in Business (an NGO who facilitated the involvement of about 20 organic farmers who sold their farm produce on the day). To further promote the health theme, IVD organisers restricted the sale of food and drink to healthy alternatives such as sushi, organically grown fruits and vegetables, fresh umu (earth oven) food, freshly made fruit juices and niu (drinking coconuts).
The gala was officially opened by Ms. Naheed Haque (UN Resident Coordinator in Samoa) who was “extremely pleased to see so many organisations joining forces to acknowledge and promote the role of volunteerism in region”. Ms Haque believed that the gala represented “… another small but significant step to towards achieving MDG 8 by demonstrating the ability of different organisations to band together to fight poverty and to help achieve the MDGs.”
The chairman of this year’s IVD organising committee in Samoa, UNV Dr Willy Morrell commented that this “this year’s IVD was a real joint effort between local and international volunteers and that we could build on the event in years to come as it provided a great way of helping target MDG 4 (Healthy Children), MDG 5 (Healthy Mothers), MDG 6 (Preventing HIV/AIDS ) and of course MDG 8 which focuses on partnerships for development”