Message of Mrs. Barbara Mogae, First Lady of Botswana and Honourary Member of the National Committee for the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001

Clean-up Campaign, 6 December 2000; 8:00 a.m.

Old Naledi, Gaborone


Distinguished Guest, Hon. Jacob Nkate, Minister of Lands, Housing and Environment;

Mr. Nonofo Kejelepula, Undersecretary of the Min. of Finance and Devt Planning;

Acting Resident Representative of UNDP, Mrs. Comfort Tetteh;

Members of the National Committee for the Int’l Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001;

Directors and Representatives of Volunteer Agencies in Botswana;

Officials & staff of the Environmental Health Dept, City Council of Gaborone;

Officials and Representatives from NGOs & Service Organizations in the country;

Representatives from the private sector;

Officials and staff of the Environmental Health Services and Somarelang Tikologo;

Most-valued Volunteers serving in the country, both national and international;

Colleagues and Friends;

I am deeply honoured and priviledged to be part of this important occasion – a clean-up campaign here at Old Naledi to celebrate the International Volunteers Week and the first activity of the volunteers in the country after the International Year of Volunteers 2001 was launched yesterday at YWCA. Being a committed and pro-active volunteer myself, I am delighted to be a part of this continuous efforts that we are doing in making our environment – our home, a clean and safe place to live in. By doing so, we are able to live happily and contentment with our families, neighbours and friends.

I am very pleased to know that a special day like yesterday, the International Volunteer Day (IVD), was designated by the UN General Assembly to be celebrated every 5th December and for the United Nations Volunteers or UNV at UNDP to serve as the focal point for this annual celebration. I believe that this occasion enables governments, para-statals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or civil societies and communities, to recognize, appreciate and strengthen the spirit of volunteerism in us. I am sure that volunteers all over the world and here in Botswana are likewise happy in celebrating this event.

Distinguished guests, volunteers and friends, in Botswana, celebrating the week for volunteers is not just any other celebration – but it is something that you and I, and all of us, should deeply be grateful and happy about. This is the time that we should share your significant contributions to our respective communities wherever we are and whatever we are doing. These contributions may come in any form or nature from picking up of litters along the road – like what we did in yesterday’s march, cleaning our yards and community centres or halls, providing support in continuously sensitizing our friends and neighbours on the importance proper and hygienic practices, and many others. And I am sure that for volunteers like us – what is more gratifying and important is, when we are able to see that after having successfully initiated and jumpstarted an effort – is seeing individuals, groups and communities being able to continue and successfully sustain the initiative on their own great ways.

I believe that through our collective efforts, together with all the other volunteers in the country, based from our own goodwill, we will be able continue in putting our minds, efforts and hearts together in order to be of service to others and make Botswana a dream place to live in. As the UN SecretaryGeneral has emphasized, "the courage and dedication of the volunteers should be an inspiration for others – for all of us – to act".

Distinguished guests, volunteers, colleagues and friends, Botswana is definitely a nation of committed volunteers. We could always remember our own ways of valuing "mephato", "molaletsa", "diphiri", or "metshelo" and several others that greatly contributed in response to social needs in our communities. You may have heard some people saying that there is a decline of volunteerism in the country but this may not be so since I believe that we are all witnesses to the continuing support and assistance that we are extending to each other in our respective communities. At this moment, we do hold hands in combatting the HIV and AIDS pandemic, poverty, environment degradation and others. As we realize how these problems are affecting the different sectors of our people, particularly the youth, we are even more challenged to act and be a part of the solution to the problems that we as a nation is now being challenged. I strongly believe that with this spirit, we would all be able to work effectively together towards the achievement of our aims under Vision 2016 – with the volunteers in the forefront.

As we start our activities in celebrating the International Year of Volunteers or IYV 2001 through this clean-up campaign, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend all the volunteers in Botswana for a job well done, and invite more Batswana to get involve and volunteer. Reach out, let’s volunteer and make Botswana clean and green!

Distinguished guests, colleagues and volunteers, I thank you again for coming to Old Naledi and I hope that this important initiative will continue. I hope that we all enjoy the spirit and results of this clean-up activity today.

Thank you for your attention!