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Timor president awards best essay on IVD
10 December 2007

Joaninha H. Dos Santos Soares won the first prize in the essay writing contest (Adult category, Tetum)Joaninha H. Dos Santos Soares won the first prize in the essay writing contest (Adult category, Tetum)
Dili, Timor-Leste: The winners of an essay competition on the theme of volunteerism were awarded prizes by President José Ramos-Horta and Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Atul Khare at a ceremony held at UNMIT Headquarters on 5 December, International Volunteer Day.

More than 60 entries were received from adults and secondary students in Oecussi, Baucau, Manatuto, and Dili. Prizes were awarded to winning essays in the Adult and Secondary School categories, for both English and Tetum language entries.

President Ramos-Horta said he was pleased to see that the majority of the winners present were young people, as Timor-Leste has a very young population. He hoped they would go on to become future UN volunteers, diplomats and international civil servants, and contribute to the development of Timor-Leste.

The benefits of volunteerism were very clearly visible in Timor-Leste, SRSG Atul Khare told the gathering, as hundreds of UN Volunteers had helped to conduct successful elections here in May, June and July. He noted that nearly 20 Timorese citizens were now serving as UN Volunteers in such far away countries as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

Organizers of the competition aimed to emphasize the message that by giving, you receive. With each voluntary action you are not only helping someone else – you are also helping yourself.

There was also a blood donation campaign held to mark IVD. Blood donation camps were organized at the UN Clinic in Obrigado Barracks and National Hospital in Bidau to increase the current stock of blood in the National Blood Bank. A group of UNV Doctors in collaboration with the National Hospital and UN Clinic organized the blood donation camps. A total 40 donors donated blood this year of which a significant number were Timorese.

In addition, there were workshops held aimed at stimulating ideas to promote volunteerism, integrate volunteerism into assignments and feedback from the SO Field Management Training Workshop. The workshop held on 5 December was opened by the DSRSG, Governance Support, Development and Humanitarian Coordination, Mr. Finn Reske-Nielsen. •    Participants included IUNVs and NUNVs from the agencies and mission UNVs.  Feedback from the workshop included a desire to learn more stories and share more experiences between the UNV programmes with UNDP and with UNMIT.