29 January 2010
by Filippo Busconi, UNV Project and Advocacy Officer, N'Djamena
International Volunteer Day (IVD) was celebrated in Abeche, Eastern Chad with fervour and enthusiasm. Since the inception of the UNV programme in Chad, this was the first opportunity for IVD celebrations to take place in Abeche instead of N’Djamena, the capital city.
As was obvious from the theme of the day, 'Volunteering for our Planet' this year’s IVD celebrations focused mainly on raising awareness and translating into practice the protection of the environment and how to keep it clean and hygienic.
A day of activities were carried out not only by the UNV volunteers from the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and UN agencies but also by more than 200 local volunteers from various local associations, mainly ADESK, APSELPA, Croix Rouge, AIUPT, BIC, CHAILD, Club UNESCO, Ami de l’arbre, and Zain (UNV's local partner in Chad).
In addition to the enthusiastic participation and commitment of local volunteer associations in Abeche, the day was honoured by a vast presence of representatives from UN agencies (UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA), MINURCAT (the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General), and local authorities (the Governor of Ouaddai region, the Sultan, the Prefect and the Mayor of Abeche).
The activities started at 06h30 with the cleaning of the Abeche Regional Hospital, where volunteers cleaned five wards (constituting paediatric, maternity and emergency), followed by tree planting in Lycee Cheick Hamdoun, where local authorities, and representatives from UN agencies/ MINURCAT along with volunteers planted 75 trees.
The closing ceremony was marked by the reading (both in Arabic and French) from the MINURCAT DSRSG of the statement on the IVD released by the UN Secretary-General, which also recalled our two UNV volunteer colleagues who lost their lives in October (2009) in an attack in Afghanistan, followed by speech from DSRSG and UN Resident Coordinator (UNDP Resident Representative).
Both dignitaries appreciated and thanked the volunteers - both local and international- for their motivation, enthusiasm and commitment towards volunteerism for development and the protection of the environment.
Further to the coverage of IVD activities on national radio and television network, a special programme with respect to the IVD celebrations in Abeche was broadcasted live in the afternoon, on Voix de Ouaddai/Internews, where Ms. Isabelle Blanc (Coordination Officer), Mr. Bachaika Singare (UNV Programme Officer) and Mr. Filippo Busconi (Project and Advocacy Officer) participated along with the representatives from ADESK and the Croix Rouge du Tchad.
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