Volunteers clean beach, educate students on volunteerism in Togo
05 December 2002
LOMÉ: International Volunteer Day (IVD) celebrations got off to an early start today as volunteer activities started with cleaning a beach in the capital. Later in the week, volunteers visited a pediatrics clinic where they distributed impregnated mosquito nets to protect the children from malaria.
The theme for IVD was "Volunteerism: an alternative to local development". Activities and discussions focused on the promotion of volunteerism, especially among youth, and its relationship to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Between 1 December and up to IVD, a number of events were held to promote volunteerism. A volunteerism fair and exhibition was held on the first of the month. On 2-3 December, a group of volunteers from the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and other volunteer organizations visited schools throughout Lomé sensitizing students on volunteerism.
On 4 December a conference discussing the year’s theme was held. Students and young people from all over the country attended.
Finally, on IVD, the official ceremony was held involving a number of speeches including that of the president of the National Volunteer Network, M’Ba Legzim, State Secretary of Budget representing the Minister of Economy and Finance and Alissabatou Sanoussi Yameogo, Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In her speech, Ms. Sanoussi Yameogo highlighted that volunteerism is an important ingredient in combating poverty and famine in Togo and that volunteers must have faith in their work even if they are not publicly recognized for their efforts.
Evgueni Tcherevik, the UN Resident Coordinator, spoke on behalf of the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, congratulating Togo for establishing the National Volunteering Network (Reseau des Associations Volontaires) in 2002.
In attendance at the ceremony were representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNV, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and members from national volunteer groups led by the National Volunteering Network, Peace Corps, CUSO, Association Française des Volontaires du Progrès (AFVP) and the German Development Service (DED).
In total, more than 2,500 people participated in the five IVD activities.