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IVD paves the way for lasting volunteerism in Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 February 2009

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In partnership with UNDP and two local NGOs, international UNV volunteer Lauren McAlister successfully organized a big event in Foca to celebrate International Volunteer Day and promote volunteerism for the local volunteers. She was assisted by two UNV volunteers based in Sarajevo.

Almost 80 participants attended, including representatives from the NGO sector, volunteers for the Red Cross, Nove Nade and Ornamenti, Oraganization for Security and Co-opereation in Europe (OSCE) community outreach officers, the media, and representatives from the UNV Country Office in Sarajevo and the UNDP Upper Drina Regional Development Programme in Foca.
 
In Sarajevo, UNV, UNDP and the Bosnia and Herzegovina State Commission for the Coordination of Youth Issues convened a high-profile press conference in the parliament building, followed by a volunteering visit to the public orphanage.

The aim of the event was the kickoff of preparations for a law on volunteerism at the state level. Almost 50 media, decision-makers and practitioners attended the event.
 
In partnership with OSCE and UNV, 10 Local Volunteer Service (LVS) organizations simultaneously implemented activities to promote, recognize and award their volunteers.  UNV distributed T-shirts with the slogan "I ja sam volonter!" to all volunteers. Approximately 300 volunteers were involved, and an estimated 1,000 people attended the events.

In Bihac, volunteers provided a special hot meal to the city's poor and socially excluded. Trebinje's mayor welcomed and recognized the city's volunteers. In Livno and Srebrenica, celebrations concluded five full days of volunteering activities.

As a result of a coordinated media campaign, both local and national media uniquely covered the events organized in these 10 localities. Within the UN House, a small IVD celebration event was organized around tea-time and five UN agencies participated.  
 
At this IVD, some 50 new volunteers registered with the participating Local Volunteer Service organizations. Lasting effects of these joint events will hopefully include stronger public awareness and recognition of the value of volunteering, while in particular the public event organized within state institutions on the importance of a legal framework for volunteerism could ideally lead to renewed incentive for a law on volunteerism.