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UNV Kosovo celebrate International Volunteer Day 2002
05 December 2002

Pristina: On Tuesday 3 December 2002, UNV Kosovo launched an exhibition about volunteer work in the National Theatre Pristina to celebrate the International Volunteer Day 2002.

About 50 children, a number of UN Volunteers and representatives of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as the political adviser to Kosovo's Prime Minister, Ramadan Avdiu, and a number of local media joined the opening ceremony.

To mark International Volunteer Day, UNV Kosovo organized a drawing competition in six schools in Pristina, Gracanica and Laplje Selo. The theme of the competition highlighted volunteering in Kosovo and around the world.

The children were asked to imagine what volunteers did and how they could volunteer in the future. The best 50 pictures, chosen by a Serbian, an Albanian and an international staff member of the Ministry of Culture, were on exhibition in the National Theatre.

Christine Botejue-Kyle, UNV Programme Manager, UNMIK gave the opening address and highlighted the work of UNV in Kosovo. Ramadan Avdiu, Political Adviser to Kosovo's Prime Minister, also thanked the UN Volunteer programme. He welcomed the idea of raising the spirit of volunteerism in Kosovo’s children and praised the imagination and commitment the children show in their drawings. The launch was then followed by a welcome address by UNDP Resident Representative Robert Piper and included the presentation of certificates of merit to the top five

For security reasons the Serbian schools decided not to take part in the celebrations, but sent Momirka Cankovic from the Community Information Centre in Gracanica as a representative to receive two prizes on behalf of those children and schools who were not able to attend.

To make the event accessible for a larger audience, the exhibition stayed in the National Theatre until 5 December. Reports in the local media stated the exhibition received a large number of national and international visitors.

The celebration of the International Volunteer Day continued after the launch of the exhibition on 3 December and was followed with a large UNV celebration in Pristina. Because of a UN holiday on

4 December and an official holiday in Kosovo on 5 December, UNV Kosovo celebrated the IVD on 3 December.

About United Nations Volunteers in Kosovo

The first 300 UN Volunteers were deployed in Kosovo in August 1999. Volunteer’s organized food, medical care and temporary shelter for the thousands who had to start from scratch as refugees. The assistance in the camps set up by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was part of their work. As the political situation evolved on the ground and the need to organize elections arose, an additional 400 UN Volunteers organized the voter registration in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to pave the way for the municipal elections in October 2000.

Today 250 UN Volunteers work in every municipality and region of Kosovo. A few of their responsibilities are to provide legal assistance, stress counseling, protect the environment, build ties among local groups and supply administrative support in courts and prisons. A key aspect of the UN Volunteers’ work is the production and distribution of travel documents.