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Uzbek volunteers unite at International Volunteer Day event
21 January 2009
by Matthew Taylor

Volunteers at a conference held to share knowledge and skills on IVD. (UNV)Volunteers at a conference held to share knowledge and skills on IVD. (UNV)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Volunteers from across Uzbekistan met with a range of NGOs, volunteers of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today to share knowledge and skills, swap stories and mark International Volunteer Day.

"Today’s event shows volunteerism is alive and well in Uzbekistan. We face global challenges, from food price rises to human trafficking and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Volunteers are vital in tackling these. We are here to build, strengthen and network, to better tackle these challenges together," said Edin Elgsaether, UNV Programme Officer in Uzbekistan.

Participants came from Uzbekistan’s four corners, with youth HIV prevention volunteers from Termez in the south, human trafficking prevention workers from the north, green volunteers from Andijian in the east, and young reproductive health workers from the Western Republic of Karakalpakstan.

Presentations were given by the United Nations information Centre, UNDP and UNFPA on volunteer projects, youth networks, funding opportunities and youth leadership. But the main emphasis was on practical skills, including networking for good practices. Exercises in blogging, website work and managing e-networks helped spread new ideas and tools.

In open and enthusiastic discussions, an Andijian volunteer challenged others to turn words into action. Participants heeded the call, and solid plans were laid for a new Uzbek e-volunteer network.

According to Alexandra Povarich, a Tashkent volunteer working for the youth environment network of Uzbekistan, "today is a great deal about building a union between volunteers from all different fields. I learnt how to better use IT to work with and keep in touch with others. I‘ll definitely use these techniques to involve more volunteers from all different fields in our work for the environment. Others have already agreed to help spread the word."