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International Volunteer Day in Viet Nam: volunteers to beat the jazz
03 December 2002

Ha Noi: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Viet Nam, in collaboration with other International Volunteer Sending Agencies, will organize a concert to celebrate this year’s International Volunteer Day.

In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly designated 5 December as an annual celebration of voluntary action by people, communities and government of the world. International Volunteer Day is for volunteers of all walks of life working in communities around the globe. “International Volunteer Day provides the best opportunity to showcase the contributions of volunteers to society and the importance of volunteerism as a vehicle to include all segments of society,” said the UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Mr Jordan Ryan. "Like volunteerism, music is a universal form of expression that cuts through all cultures. This concert with the voluntary participation of three blue and pop-rock bands, will pay tribute to all national and international volunteers for their invaluable contribution.

The UN Volunteers also celebrate the Day by presenting for the first time the UNV Honorary Ambassador Awards to the outstanding students of Hoa Sua Vocational Training School for Disadvantage Youth. This annual award was initiated personally by UNV Honorary Ambassador Takehito Nakata while he visited the School last August.

Earlier on 30 November and 1 December, UNV provided training on basic social work skills for 80 volunteers from Viet Nam’s Youth Volunteer Club and Ha Noi Red Cross. The young volunteers are helping children in need, disabled and elderly persons. They are also participating in environmental protection, primary health care, humanitarian relief and prevention of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. Most of these young volunteers are students from universities. They are enthusiastic but lack of life skills and those needed for their voluntary activities. Three social work specialists who have been themselves UN Volunteers provided these youngsters with basic social work knowledge, skills and experiences.

Recent years have seen a sensitization to, and a mobilization around, the volunteerism of a diverse range of stakeholders, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community groups, private companies, academia and the media. “Local voluntary involvement has been a valuable and indispensable contribution to social and economic development,” said Helen Booth, UNV Programme Officer based in Ha Noi.

In Viet Nam, the International Year of Volunteers 2001 was embraced by government, non-government organizations and individuals with enthusiasm. A major outcome of the Year has been a collective recognition by government of the role and contribution of voluntary action and the need to adopt strategic approaches to enhancing the environment for such action to flourish. Volunteers are more and more called for to participate in community development, poverty alleviation, to share their skills and experience to contribute to the socio-economic development. Viet Nam is one of the 142 nations worldwide to co-sponsor the General Assembly Resolution “Follow-up to the International Year of Volunteers”.

Global trend towards greater self-help, decentralization, participatory democracy and networking are all having an impact on citizen participation and volunteerism is one defining characteristic. The potential of volunteerism to contribute significantly to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals is also widely recognized.

“The United Nations very much appreciates the contributions of volunteers who are actively involved in community development, poverty alleviation and who share their skills and experience to contribute to the socio-economic development in Viet Nam” said the UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Jordan Ryan.

Last year, 67 UN Volunteers served in Viet Nam, of which 37 were Vietnamese nationals. They worked in a wide range of professions, from rural development projects in remote provinces to Government Ministries in Ha Noi.

International Volunteer Day Concert:

Venue: at Legends Beer, 4 Vu Ngoc Phan Street, Ha Noi

Time: 20:00, 7 December 2002,