IVD Message of Hon. Minister T. D. Mogami

Launching of the International Year of Volunteers 2001

5 December 2000; 8:30 a.m.

YWCA, Gaborone


Distinguished Guest, Mrs. Barbara Mogae, First Lady of Botswana and Honourary Member of the National Committee for the International Year of the Volunteers 2001;

Acting Resident Representative of UNDP, Mrs. Comfort Tetteh;

Mrs. Phumela Vanqa, National Executive Director of YWCA;

Mrs. Norah Motlhabane, Chairperson of the National IYV 2001 Committee;

Members of the National IYV 2001 Committee;

Pastor Oupa Rampa of the Adopt-a-Person Foundation;

Directors and Representatives of Volunteer Agencies in Botswana;

Officials and Representatives from Service Organizations in the country;

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

Colleagues, Students and Friends;

On behalf of the His Excellency, Mr. Festus Mogae, who is now in Addis Ababa for a very important workshop on HIV and AIDS, I am sincerely honoured and priviledged to have been designated to be part of this important occasion - the 5th of December and at the same time the launching of the International Year of Volunteers 2001. Being an advocate of volunteer service myself, I am delighted to join you in this year’s celebration which I believe is simultaneously conducted in New York and in other countries.

I am aware that the UN Secretary General himself, Mr. Kofi Annan, had a successful opening of the International Year of Volunteers in New York on 28 November 2000. I have noted the Secretary General’s appreciation of the significant contributions that volunteers make but are often overlooked in both developed and developing countries and that most countries do not take their services in to account when calculating national outputs.

I am very pleased to know that a special day like this, 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, today’s celebration for the 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 individuals, families, friends and colleagues wherever we are and whatever we are doing. Together with all the other volunteers in the world, based from our own goodwill, we have to continue in putting our minds, efforts and hearts together in order to be of service to others. 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.

It is a fact that the country has likewise become a home to many international volunteers who came and extended their services to different parts and sectors of the country. Their contributions have benefitted not only their clients or recipients and partners but also the volunteers themselves. This is manifested through the high level of inner satisfaction that the volunteers are able to gain and the inspiration it brings to keep them going.

As we celebrate the International Volunteers’ Day and prepare for a much bigger event next year, the International Year of Volunteers or IYV 2001, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and salute all the volunteers in Botswana for a job well done, and invite more Batswana to get involve, volunteer and make a difference. With this note, I am honoured to launch the International Year of Volunteers 2001.

Distinguished guests, colleagues and volunteers, I thank you again for this important occasion and wish you all a successful programme for the year 2001 and beyond.

Kudos to all the volunteers!