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19 – 21 August 1999

Residence Inn Hotel

Paramaribo – Suriname



Introductory Remarks by Ms. Sharon Capeling-Alakija, UNV Executive Coordinator

Foreword by Mr. Hans Geiser, UN Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago


Objectives of the Workshop


Opening Remarks By Mr. Hans Geiser, UN Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago

Official Opening By Mr. Uchimura, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan

Volunteering and IYV 2001: An opportunity for partnership By Mr. Robert Leigh, Chief UNV Representation Office in North America

Role of Volunteerism for a national development point of view By Mr. Silvano Tjong Ahin, Director Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation in Suriname

Volunteerism and grassroots development By Ms. Marie Levens, President of the Board of Forum NGOs in Suriname

Volunteerism in the Caribbean: the issues By Dr. Asha Kambon, ECLAC

Volunteerism as it relates to the Caribbean Network of Integrated Development By Ms. Nerle Robinson, Director CNIRD

Volunteerism in the urban area of Suriname By Ms. Sheila Ketwaru-Nurmohamed, Programme Coordinator, Forum NGO’s Service Bureau

How do you identify, train, support volunteers, and motivate them to stay on? By Dr. Sonia Caffe, UNICEF

Collaboration with the private sector: the Caribbean Red Cross experience By Marja Naarendorp, Director, Red Cross Suriname

The legal and policy environment for volunteerism. How can legislation and government policy enhance volunteerism? By Ms. Andrea Power, CPDC

Working sessions – Main issues

Directional Agenda for Action

Summary recommendations

List of participants

Vote of thanks



As we approach the new Millennium it is becoming increasingly clear that the need for greater voluntary action is as vital as ever. The designation by the world community of an International Year of Volunteers (IYV) in 2001 is but one manifestation of this need. IYV presents us all with a unique opportunity not only to showcase the crucial role that volunteers play but also to help shape an environment within which voluntary work can flourish. If we are all to gain maximum benefit from the Year, strategic planning is called for – and this can be greatly facilitated by face to face dialogue on the part of all concerned. For this reason, I am personally delighted with the initiative to bring together organizations from the government, voluntary and private sector in eight Caribbean states to consider collectively this important topic. I believe that the recommendations of the Workshop, applicable at both national and regional levels, are an important step forward in ensuring that preparations for IYV are undertaken in a timely manner. UNV is fully committed to supporting efforts in the Caribbean in whatever way it can. The Workshop has provided a framework for action. The challenge is now for governments, organizations which involve volunteers – and volunteers themselves all over the Caribbean, to move ahead and make this an International Year which truly makes a difference.

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation first and foremost to the Government of Suriname for having agreed to host the Workshop and for providing such a warm reception. Mention should also be made of the contribution of the Government of Japan whose support for IYV continues to be an inspiration to all of us and without which this event could not have taken place. My thanks also to the UNDP Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago and his staff in Port of Spain and Paramaribo, whose untiring efforts played an important part in ensuring the ultimate success of the event. Finally, a word of recognition for the participants from around the region who engaged themselves in the discussions with such vigour, imagination and commitment and who we hope will play an active role in ensuring follow-up to the excellent ideas that emerged.

Ms Sharon Capeling-Alakija
UNV Executive Coordinator




Every morning, anywhere in the world, somebody wakes up to volunteer.

This has been part of all societies for so long that we are tempted to think it has been there for ever. As a result we tend to neglect it or underestimate its impact on the social texture of our rapidly changing societies. A workshop on the preparations of an international year on volunteerism and volunteers, urges participants to reflect critically on these everyday phenomena that go often unnoticed and do not catch the eye, but still influence the quality of life of millions.

For the first time ever, a distinctive blend of organizations from the Caribbean region came together to reflect and strategize about their unique modality to organize and implement social programmes. Delegates from the churches, the national and regional development NGOs, the private sector, the governments, the research institutions, youth and women organizations, and charity clubs met under the UN flag, and more specifically under the UNV patronage. Not to discuss their individual programmes or policies, but to reflect on their very unique commitment to caring through the individual volunteer and his/her volunteer actions. Now that we approach a new millennium, we need to ensure that this process of caring will continue to provide the cement between individuals, communities and nations.

In my opening statement for this workshop, I made reference to the need for effective and increased coordination both among the recipient and the donor agencies. The workshop deliberations and exchanges of experiences have only underscored again this profound need. Furthermore, the meeting highlighted the need for increased and constructive coordination between the recipient and the donor agencies to ensure that the very essence of any sustainable human development effort at the community level, is endeavoured with the assistance and not solely through the labour provided by volunteers of the recipient community.

I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of the contributions from the participants/resource people and their dynamisme that permeated every single session of the workshop. This convinced me once more of the need to have this type of workshops more regularly both at the national and regional level. Not only to ensure that our efforts in effective social mobilization and participation programmes remain attuned, but also to continue pursuing this distinguishing mark of the human being: caring. The workshop in Paramaribo was a first commendable initiative. Let us all work towards achieving the goals and meeting the expectations.

Mr. Hans Geiser
UN Resident Coordinator
Trinidad and Tobago




In 1997 the United Nation's General Assembly accepted a resolution to declare the year 2001 the International Year of Volunteers. This action was taken in recognition of the important role volunteers play in national development and in response to the need for increased volunteer effort in the face of such global issues as environmental degradation, drug abuse, disaster preparedness, social welfare and poverty eradication. In addition, volunteerism was seen as being a serious component to the enhancement of caring societies, identified as important to national development in the UNDP Human Development Report 1999.

Caribbean preparations for the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) in 2001 were the subject of a regional workshop held in Paramaribo, Suriname, between 19 and 21 August 1999. The workshop - the first of a series of planned regional initiatives -- was organized by the United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV) and sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Japan. It drew together representatives of government, private sector and volunteers agencies from Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The workshop was opened by His Excellency Mr. Uchimura, Charge d'Affaires of the Japanese Embassy in Suriname, in the presence of the Honourable Mr. Soewarto Moestadja, Suriname's Minister of Social Affairs and Housing. Speeches by Mr. Hans Geiser, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Robert Leigh, Head of the United Nations Volunteers programme, and Tjong Ahin, Director of the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation in Suriname, underscored the need for social mobilization, participation and partnerships.

The participants in the workshop formulated a directional agenda for volunteers and volunteerism in the Caribbean. The main objectives of this agenda were to promote the benefits of volunteerism to Caribbean societies, to highlight the role of volunteers in social change and sustainable livelihoods and to recognize voluntary service as an important part of civil society.

To this end, the final document of the workshop called for the establishment of national steering committees in the participating member territories to carry forward the planning of events for the IYV 2001, as well as to network among national NGOs, CBOs, and private enterprise, together with governmental and regional agencies in the Caribbean. It was also proposed that a Caribbean regional committee would be charged with the development of a resource mobilisation strategy to enhance the coordination of the national and regional efforts and initiate the establishment of a data base to collate, assess and evaluate national efforts in the participating Caribbean countries.




Overall objective

To bring together for the first time in the region, a number of organizations with a vested interest in volunteerism with a view to establish regional mechanisms for promoting volunteerism and to prepare for the International Year of Volunteers in 2001.

Specific objectives

  1. To clarify the context and the role of volunteerism in the region.
  2. To determine a regional agenda for IYV in the region.
  3. To enhance the flow of information on IYV and volunteerism in the Caribbean region.
  4. To establish a coordinating body for the Caribbean region.
  5. To seek the support and commitment of organizations and governments to promote volunteerism and to prepare for IYV-2001 in the region.
  6. To foster cooperation and networking between various stakeholders committed to volunteerism in the region.




DAY 1 19 AUGUST 1999


Facilitator: Robert Wijdenbosch (VPSI)


Song for Montserrat


Introduction: skit by PEPSUR


* Opening remarks

Hans J. Geiser, UNDP Regional Representative and UN System Regional Coordinator in Suriname

* Volunteering and IYV 2001 – An Opportunity for Partnership

Robert Leigh, Chief UNV Representation Office en North America

* Role of volunteerism from a national point of view

Silvano Tjong Ahin, Director PLOS

* Volunteerism and grassroots development

Marie Levens, Chairperson Board Forum NGO’s

* Opening addres

Mr Uchimura, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan

Coffee break


S E S S I O N 1

Official installation of the rapporteur of the day: D. Hollingsworth (CUSO)

Key Note Presentation

* Volunteerism in the Caribbean. The issues

Dr Asha Kambon, ECLAC

Group discussion – focused conversation

The Caribbean context: What is volunteerism – what does it mean – who is volunteering?



S E S S I O N 2

Panel of testimonies

Experiences and views from the Caribbean organizations

- Nerle Robertson (CNIRD) Volunteerism as it relates to the Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development

- Sheila Ketwaru – Nurmohammed Volunteers in Urban Development

(Forum NGOs)

- Sonia Caffe (UNICEF) Training and support of volunteers

- Marja Naarendorp (Red Cross) Collabortion with the private sector - The Caribbean Red Cross Experience

- Andrea Power (CPDC) The Legal and Policy Environment for Volunteerism

Questions and focused conversation

Coffee break

Discussion in small groups – What are the issues for volunteerism in the Caribbean at this time?

Summary of issues raised by participants in plenary

Wrap up session


DAY 2 19 AUGUST 1999

Facilitator: Annette Tjon Sie Fat (UNIFEM)

Official installation of the rapporteur of the day: Nelcia Robinson (CAFRA)

Logistical messages

Reflections on the first day (summary of the 1st and 2nd session)



S E S S I O N 3

Agenda for Action

Brainstorming in small groups

Three areas of intervention to prepare for IYV and to strengthen volunteerism in the region

Coffee break

Plenary session

Writers group to draft a Directional Agenda for Action




S E S S I O N 4

Translation of ideas proposed into actions and strategies

Presentation with visual real-life demonstrations on how website functions; possibilities for promotion of volunteerism and for networking (Cyberlink)

Brainstorming in small groups

How to translate the proposed activities into strategies/actions?

Plenary session

Group proposals

Coffee break

Presentation of proposed Directional Agenda

Adoption of the Directional Agenda for Action

Wrap-up session

DAY 3 21 AUGUST 1999

Facilitator: Richard Laydoo (GEF/SGP)

Official installation of the rapporteur of the day: E. Thomas – Hope (UWI)

Reflections on the second day

Logistical messages


S E S S I O N 5

Discussion in small groups

a. identify resources (financial, human and institutional resources)

b. responsibilities (name of the organization, reporting modalities, management procedures, timeframe)

c. commitments (who will/should do what to achieve a and b above)

  1. critical success factors (how will we know that we have achieved our goals – quantitavely/qualitatively)
  2. preparation of resolutions

Plenary session


Plenary presentation and adoption of resolutions

Wrap up session: summary of highlights and achievement.

Formulation and adoption of recommendations.

Press conference

Interviews by local press

Closing Ceremony

* Closing words by

Mr Geiser, UN Resident Coordinator and

Mr Uchimura, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan

* Vote of thanks


* Hand over of the Recommendations to Mr. S. Moestadja, Minister of Social Services and Housing






Mr. Hans Geiser - UNDP Resident Representative and UN System Resident Coordinator

The concept of and call for social mobilization and participation in development is well entrenched in today’s development debate and a broadly supported principle. Still, contemporary history of development assistance is replete with examples of non-participatory approaches and inititatives. Various explanations of the causes of people’s poverty demonstrated abundantly that when poor people are excluded and marginalized from broader and direct societal participation, development initiatives will flounder and ultimately fail to achieve the original purpose. Donor agencies and governments have put their weight behind and committed large resources to ensure direct involvement of people in the design and implementation of their programmes. What is now needed is more than a commitment , is more than mere resources – however important they are in their own right. What is required is the application of the primacy of putting people first in our policies and programmes. Not only at the ground level, when it comes to implementing a project, but also at the top, to allow their wishes and needs to underpin the key decisions and actions affecting their lives and livelihoods. Application of this operational principle will lead to empowerment of individual citizens and the associations they build up.

UNDP’s experience suggests that community anti-poverty programmes should be firmly based on " social mobilization", allowing those affected by a project to assume responsibility for designing initiatives, implementing them and maintaining high levels of sustainability. In November 1996, many governments in the region subscribed to this view when they became party to the Directional Agenda of Action for Poverty Eradication in the Caribbean. The Agenda recognized that a "new governance system which devolves power and authority, decentralizes and engages in formal collaborative arrangements between central and local government, religious organizations, private sector and social sectors must follow logically from a commitment to social development." Many of non-governmental organizations operate thanks to the commitment and dedication of volunteers, hence the importance of establishing partnerships with the individual volunteers and the volunteer organizations for social mobilization and poverty eradication programmes.

Governments can lay firm foundations and facilitate the mobilization of their populations by creating an enabling environment – legal, social and economic – that supports and fosters citizens to volunteer. Such an environment is one in which there is some measure of social trust, shared responsibility and personal and financial security. Working in partnership, governments, NGOs, and technical agencies should congregate representative groups in order to analyse and promote volunteerism and social mobilization, and present suggestions to the decision-makers. The establishment of an International Year of Volunteers in 2001 offers a unique opportunity to establish a forum, bringing together all partners committed to social mobilization and to setting in motion a process of extensive consultations. Through the establishment of a regional, and various national committees or commissions, national voluntary agencies, governments and other interested parties and individuals, can seek to ensure maximum impact of IYV 2001, and mold the principles of social mobilization and participation to meet the challenge of today’s realities.

Although the effort and realizations of volunteers are greatly appreciated, much energy and commitment gets lost due to the relative absence of coordination and communication at the local, national and international level. The critical mass generated by volunteers could grow exponentially if the effect of their contribution is better coordinated and their experiences and best practices are shared with peers at the national and international level.

Technical and funding agencies involved in the field of development should also reflect critically on the possible impact of their interventions. The relative absence of coordination of their actions and programmes, may have adverse effects on communities in terms of increased competition for funds or an accelerated burn-out of the volunteers, especially when voluntary services of the communities as an in-kind contribution is added to the programme as a conditionality for funding.

I thank you.





Mr. Uchimura - Charge d’ Affaires, Embassy of Japan in the Republic of Suriname

Mr. Uchimura opened the Workshop by stating that the Japanese Government is in favour of and supports volunteerism. He stated that he will do whatever is in his possibility to support the UNV/UNDP initiative and do their utmost to make available funds for further initiatives.





Mr. Robert Leigh - Chief UNV Representation Office in North America

The twentieth century has seen a wide spectrum of approaches to social and economic development – theories have been expounded, translated into development paradigms, introduced into development practice and then, fallen short of expectations. Approaches have often been in conflict, reflecting competing ideologies. As we turn the corner to the 21st century it is evident that while strides in the quality of life have been significant, the century for many has also signified poverty, social exclusion, environmental depletion and physical insecurity. It is becoming clear that sustainable success in tackling the major problems of poverty and marginalization will have to be built on notions of partnership and common interests of all the sectors in pursuit of stability, peace and prosperity.

The circumstances are ripe for this. New political structures for more open societies are following on the heels of economic reform. Voluntary groups are becoming major actors in the advocacy arena for some of the world’s critical issues. And more and more private sector companies are developing forms of social responsibility and social auditing as ethics takes a more central place in their missions.

The UN has been a strong advocate for partnerships. The series of global UN sponsored conferences in the early nineties – on population, urban development, environment, gender and social development have emphasized partnership as a key factor for progress. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has continued the efforts of previous administrations to bring civil society into the work of the UN. He has also made it his particular concern to highlight the key role of the business community in addressing major global issues.

Of course there are many challenges to collaboration. First and foremost there is the need to understand the case for partnership between the sectors and what each can offer. Second, suspicions, mistrust and downright antagonism have to be overcome. Then skills need to be developed for cross sector collaboration. Finally, best practices need to be widely disseminated and scaled-up so collaboration becomes the hallmark of development. There is nothing new about concern for partnerships and there are many examples to point to. What is new is the notion of partnership as a centre piece of development strategy and volunteering appears to be an excellent subject around which partnership can be developed with IYV 2001 is an ideal catalyst.

For sake of brevity I will limit myself to the public, voluntary and private sectors although one could extend the discussion to such areas as organized religion, the media and academia all of which have important roles in volunteering. There are general perceptions around these three sectors as to their functions in the field of volunteering. Governments are seen as providing a framework in terms of legal and fiscal structures within which volunteering can be encouraged or be inhibited. The voluntary sector is accepted as the source of volunteerism and the repository of knowledge and skills in mobilizing volunteers given its grassroots constituency as well as its experience in organization local initiatives. And the private sector is seen, potentially, as a source of funding for all types of volunteer effort.

Like most generalization this one is flawed – it hides the cross-cutting nature of volunteer action on which collaborative efforts can be built. To begin with, Governments are major users of volunteers in large-scale public sector programmes. Government sponsored mass immunization or literacy campaigns are most likely to succeed where considerable numbers of volunteers are mobilized. In some cases these programmes are contracted out to voluntary sector organizations and in others government departments run their own volunteer units. The voluntary sector is a great source of knowledge on issues to do with mobilizing volunteers including recruitment, administration, training, retaining etc. The private sector is increasingly supporting volunteering within the overall rubric of social responsibility, whether this be financial support to volunteer based activity in the communities where companies have a stake or support to volunteering from among their employees.

I would like here to focus briefly on volunteering in the public and in the private sectors as there are many people attending this conference from the voluntary sector who can speak much more eloquently on partnerships in volunteering from an NGO perspective.

Volunteers are usually considered in the context of the voluntary sector. Popular conceptions of the free spirit, creative spontaneity and caring of volunteers is often at odds with the image of highly structured and impersonal government bureaucracies. Nonetheless, in many countries, volunteers play a critical role in the provision of a broad range of public services in such fields as health, education and other basic services as well as in cultural and recreational fields. Collaboration between government and the voluntary sector is well articulated in those instances where NGOs are called upon to deliver government-funded services which rely on volunteers. But governments also run their own volunteer programmes and interest in this area is growing. Recourse to volunteers appears to be an attractive and relatively inexpensive means to maintain or even enhance the amount and quality of public services in situations of severe resource constraint.

Experience shows, however, that volunteers are not a remedy for cuts in government services but are most effective when used to supplement and broaden services provided by regular staff. There are other reasons behind government support. Citizen participation is normally viewed as worthwhile in itself as a building block for social capital. Local volunteers enhance local ownership of the goods and services being provided; they can improve the performance of paid staff; and can bring fresh insights.

The potential for voluntary sector collaboration in government programmes dealing with volunteers is clearly enormous. From advice on management and administration, to support in mobilization campaigns, to joint initiatives there are a wealth of opportunities for partnership to be explored.

The growing interest of the private sector in volunteering is a recent phenomenon and reflects a move away from traditional cheque book philanthropy and towards strategic social investments as evidence grows to indicate linkages between success in the market place and corporate responsibility as a mission goal. The buzz word today is "image capital". Employee volunteering is an increasingly prominent feature of the companies wishing to be seen as good corporate citizens. Volunteer programmes put a human face on companies but they are also a means to help companies attract and retain the people they need, and to help build skills and attitudes that foster organizational commitment, company loyalty and job satisfaction.

What does this mean in terms of collaboration and partnership? Companies with a track record in employee volunteering are likely to be sympathetic to sponsoring volunteer work in the voluntary sector. There are various ways this can occur - this often, though not always, takes place in NGOs where their employees are working as volunteers through, for example, matching grants, offering company facilities such as office space, and use of computer time, and contributions of equipment, materials and so on. Companies may also release staff to assist NGOs in specific technical and professional tasks such as accounting and bookkeeping, communications for brochure design, information technology, building construction etc.

The voluntary sector can help promote private sector volunteering. It can of course offer well-structured volunteer opportunities for company employees and it can give due recognition to companies for any support it provides. It can also contribute to the creation in a company of an environment where volunteer activity is valued and encouraged – it can provide volunteer orientation, on site visits, publicity material, offer to address employees and help set up formal volunteer programmes including for retired employees. And it can invite company managers to sit on its boards.

One final point. Given that people with paid jobs are more likely to volunteer than those who do not, the workplace is a logical place to promote volunteerism and to recruit volunteers. Employee volunteers can offer fresh perspectives on community issues and bring new talent to apply to challenges. This should thus be seen as a viable way to inject new, creative energy into the work of the voluntary sector.

I hope I have given an idea of the commonality of interests in volunteering among the sectors and highlighted some opportunities for collaboration. These need to be widely discussed in the public arena and good examples identified and disseminated. IYV 2001 is a unique opportunity for all sectors to meet around a common theme and, hopefully, the composition of national IYV committees, like this workshop, will reflect the broad based societal interest in volunteering.

Thank you





Mr. Silvano Tjong Ahin – Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation

Volunteers contribute more than ever to the social economy and national development of both industrialized and developing countries. Or maybe it is only now that their often significant contribution is becoming appreciated. While the so-called third sector is becoming an economic force to be reckoned with, volunteerism is perhaps even more about people acting out the responsibilities that come with global citizenship, it is about an increasing number of often young people devoting their time, energy and skill to improving the life of others in need. This is one of the main reasons why our government supports the International Year of Volunteers in 2001.

Suriname is a country with a population of a mere 400,000 persons and this limited human resource base alone makes it more vulnerable than many other developing countries. Its small population size entails a limited pool to draw its professionals and executives from and makes it hard to sustain all necessary specializations. This disadvantage could not be the sole obstacle to national development as it is aggravated by some other factors such as the following:

  • The economy is not of a sufficient scale to allow for a national educational and scientific infrastructure of extended nature, and university and other academic institutions do not deliver all experts required to address the national needs, while the funds for training and research in specialized fields of science are limited. Consequently, the public sector, education, health and the private sector suffer from a lack of qualified professionals.
  • The continuous brain drain adds to the scarcity of skills and expertise, and our conservative remuneration system, which is also hampered by monetary escapades, does not allow us to compete with the developed world.
  • The high speed in which technological progress is taking place .

In 1995, the average percentage of employees with a tertiary degree working in government was only a mere 2 per cent. In secondary education, 66 per cent of full-time and 68 per cent of part-time staff were not fully qualified for the level they teach on. The health services suffered from a shortage of doctors, specialists, pharmacists and veterinarians. At that time, the needs could not be filled by the supply of university graduates. No significant government program has since been carried out to improve this situation. Consequently, we may assume that the picture did not change. It can only be hoped that it has not worsened. Remembering how essential the development of human resources is for national development, this situation deserves the highest attention, for the success of every development plan depends on the availability of capable, well educated and motivated people.

It is evident that Suriname cannot meet its development needs, and thus for the time being, there is no other choice but to look abroad, relying on aid programmes heavily weighted towards technical assistance, and on the help of expensive foreign consultants and advisers. This is where the international volunteers come in: the expenditure on an average UNV specialist, for example, is a fraction of the compensation for a typical international consultant. The role played by volunteers in Suriname should, however, not only be appreciated from a narrow economist vision. Their cost-effectiveness does not imply that they should be taken for granted. They are professionals distinguished by the notions of service, partnership and solidarity under often difficult conditions; by the willingness to share responsibilities with national co-workers as performers and problem-solvers; by the participatory emphasis on mutual learning and adaptation to local circumstances. The average volunteer does not just visit us, do some interviews and write a report. Volunteers get involved, have time to get to know us, teach us, work with us, make mistakes with us and be concerned with us.

The Government of Suriname has a role to play in enhancing and facilitating the work of volunteers, both national and international volunteers. There is a need for a national strategy for the best use of volunteers and for finding a niche for their specialist roles. Their contributions must be appreciated as being more than low-cost inputs filling the gaps in a skills-short country. In a country like ours, where the need for specialists is high, more room should be created for volunteers. Voluntary work therefore needs to be organized and volunteer assignments should fit into a larger and programmatic vision identifying the need for volunteers. The current international volunteers in Suriname work in government departments, public sector institutions, health services, rural community development and in support of the UNDP office and UN programmes. They should also be able to play a role in strengthening national NGOs that work on gender or environmental issues, on rural poverty alleviation, on cultural preservation, on education, on tourism and trade promotion, on financial and information management etc.

Mr. Tjong Ahin stressed that while national capacity should strengthened and the use of nationals optimized, volunteers should be used to stimulate and invigorate the move towards self-reliance. He hoped that this workshop would be a catalyst to bring more recognition and appreciation to the contribution of volunteers and to stimulate further discussion on their role in national development.





Ms. Marie Levens – President of the Board of Forum NGOs in Suriname

Ms. Marie Levens said that the title of the presentation was in line with the basic principle that IYV 2001 should concentrate on the local community, on the citizens’ group, the village and with the Forum NGOs’ mandate as well.

She explained that the NGO Forum in Suriname is a national coordinating body of NGOs and CBOs, including in its membership a variety of women’s organizations, organizations of indigenous people and maroons, neighborhood organizations, private social institutions for senior citizens, orphans and the handicapped, organizations of micro and small entrepreneurs, small farmers organizations, and environmental organizations.

The main tasks of NGO Forum are to stimulate networking between NGOs and CBOs, to render services to its members, to increase the flow of funds to NGOs and CBOs and to improve the relationship between NGOs and the Government.

There are 175 member organizations, of which about 20 per cent are somewhat larger, intermediary and service providing organizations with an office, professionally paid staff (part-time or full-time) and with volunteers, either remunerated or not. The other 80 per cent are community based (urban, rural and village) and mainly volunteer-driven, most of them with no remuneration whatsoever.

In preparing for this workshop the NGO Forum carried out a rapid survey, or consultation. 17 organizations and 14 volunteers from among their ranks responded. The survey was conducted along the lines of the four aims of IYV: enhanced recognition, facilitation, networking and promotion of volunteer service. In brief, the findings were as follows:

  • Most of the organizations have no clear definition of volunteerism; elements mentioned are non-remunerated service to the community and it should be self-initiated by the volunteers. Some did mention that a small stipend would not do harm to the essentials of volunteerism. Especially the volunteers were not even aware of their work being volunteer service or qualifying as such.
  • Volunteers spend between four and eight hours on a weekly basis on volunteer service.
  • The most fundamental motivation for volunteerism is social compassion.
  • It is recognized that volunteerism is under a lot of pressure from the socio-economic situation. Although the demand is increasing, volunteers are becoming a scarce commodity. Volunteer organizations lack financial resources and facilities as well.
  • Most organizations and volunteers are in favor of a ‘volunteer council’ or ‘central body’ to organize, facilitate and coordinate the work of volunteers. This body should be completely autonomous from the government.

What can we expect from the International Year of the Volunteer as a national body of volunteer organizations?

  1. Communities and society at large cannot exist or develop properly without the voluntary services of a vast number of its members.
  2. The need for volunteer effort is greater than ever before, especially when speaking of poverty eradication and sustainable human development. The Human Development Report 1998 mentions increasing poverty and rising inequalities within and between countries. Poverty has been compared with a disaster. It is argued that poverty eradication will be much more successful when stressing the empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged through institutional strengthening and capacity building at the community level. Poverty eradication in this sense means developing the human potential/human capital and volunteer service is a crucial element in developing and implementing a poverty eradication strategy.
  3. As volunteerism is basically part and parcel of the cultural heritage of our communities and societies, in this new era we have to build volunteer efforts on the genuine norms and values of these communities and societies. This means giving them back their moral and ethical sustainability, building a culture and civilization on human solidarity and cooperation, which is essentially sustainable human development.
  4. In assessing the value of voluntary service one should take into account that a substantial part of voluntary work cannot be calculated, namely solidarity, mutual love, caring for our fellow men, etc. Even in paid jobs in the social services sector, for instance health care, teaching children, caring for senior citizens, the handicapped, orphans, relief workers in disaster areas and the like. Remunerated or not, these workers cannot be compensated for what people do beyond the call of duty, for just being their and caring.
  5. Voluntary work in a poverty stricken community and society is being challenged. ‘Why would I spend unpaid time doing community work while during that time I could have earned money to pay my bills’. The rich and middle class people usually doing voluntary work, and being able to afford that, are now busy expanding or even sustaining their wealth or standard of living. On the other hand the majority of the population in our societies is empoverished. In a materialized, individualized world nobody is doing ‘anything for nothing’ anymore.

How can volunteerism be encouraged under circumstances of economic crisis and increasing poverty?

  • Increase the number of volunteers by at least 30% at all levels, but especially at the community level. Recruitment of volunteers, especially at the grass roots level in urban and rural communities, should be supported through the strengthening and facilitation of CBOs and by removing the obstacles for persons to be recruited, for instance through some form of remuneration, training etc.
  • Continue extensive consultation among NGOs and CBOs on what should be realized in 2001 and beyond, especially in the field of recognition, facilitation, networking and promotion of volunteer service.
  • Mobilization of local expertise through a national mechanism where people can register, be trained and guided and exchange of experience and information is facilitated.
  • Regional and international networking in exchange of information, experience and expertise and even volunteers. International and regional volunteerism enables us to relativize our own situation. We will become more creative in seeking and finding solutions. At the same time international and regional volunteerism is a means to promote solidarity and friendship among peoples and communities which on the long run will promote world peace and equity between countries and nations. Even in a globalized world, or rather, because of globalization and the threats it brings with it in terms of poverty and other forms of inequity, we need to humanize our societies and international relations.
  • Volunteerism and IYV 2001 give us the excellent opportunity to build that new sustainable foundation in the light of the new era. And we have to build that from the grass roots level, from our communities.





Dr. Asha Kambon - ECLAC

Let me begin by stating what are for me the critical challenges/ tasks facing volunteerism in the region:

  1. To lobby for and to develop a cadre of young people who are socialized to be volunteers;
  2. To create or rejuvinate the mechanisms which facilitate their involvement in volunteerism;
  3. Through the engagement of the UNV mechanism, work to enhance the capacities of those countries firstly in the subregion, who are facing the most difficulties meeting the challenge of development - Haiti, Guyana, Suriname and possibly Jamaica;
  4. To change the very context of volunteerism in the subregion.

The UNDP 1999 HDR says:

" Gaps in income between the poorest and richest people and countries have continued to widen. In 1960 the 20 per cent of the world’s people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20 per cent -- in 1997, 74 times as much.

"The net worth of the world’s 200 richest people increased from $440 billion to more than 1 trillion in just the four years from 1994 to 1998. The assets of the three richest people were more than the combined GNP of the 48 least developed countries."

"We have soaring opportunities for some people in some places and severely limited choices for others; immense waste and desperate want. Privilege based on colour, ethnicity, gender, religion and class in tandem with institutionalized deprivation and inequality. There exists diminishing control/or influence by people of their immediate environment as the structures of decision making become far removed at the same time that democracy has taken over the world. Globalization, having removed the isolation makes every groups situation known to the other."

In the Context of the Caribbean – What is Volunteerism and is there a changing definition of a Volunteer? Is there a changing regard for the Volunteer? Freire can be paraphrased to define Volunteerism this way – " as an opportunity to intervene actively in the social reality instead of begin carried along in the wake of change. It should facilitate the effective enabling of the beneficiaries to do the same. Volunteerism should result in the "placing of persons in a consciously critical confrontation with their problems, to make them agents of their own recuperation". Volunteerism has to be rooted in the culture and context of the people with whom you are working – in the Caribbean the globalizing process continues to uproot us physically, mentally and emotionally the same process at the same time has the possibility to create sameness as the norm (everyone wearing the Nike, listening to the same music, eating the same pizza, etc).

Globalization is putting a squeeze on care and caring labour. The monetization of all caring services results in the negative perception of volunteers who may be deemed ‘foolish’ for not using their time to increase their own income instead of in the caring sector.

Looking at significant historical experiences in the region can capture a historical view of caring in the Caribbean. The pre-Independence period saw services provided from a welfare perspective – as volunteers tried to meet the gaps which had been left unfulfilled by the Colonial Governments; this could be followed by the post independence period – defined by issues of empowerment of people and efforts at social transformation; the next period can be definedas the post Grenada period – as volunteer groups became more formalized into non-governmental organizations and often found themselves strapped by agendas set outside of the region as they were faced by financial constraints.

Allow me to elaborate a little more on the Challenges or tasks facing the Region:

A. To lobby for and to develop a cadre of young people who are socialized to be volunteers. This socialization entails assisting them to appreciate -- a commitment to equality, social justice, and the abolition of privilege, to non-elite from of leadership that is non-sexist. This you realize will be in a complete contrast to the materialist values which the free market invites them to become a part of;

B. To create or recreate the mechanisms which facilitate their involvement in Volunteerism. I question why should the only mechanism be the Peace Corps, or a religious missionary – and this doesn’t mean that I am suggesting that there is anything wrong with these two methodologies – just that their should be others; I am suggesting that there ought to be some secular, non-partisan, credible Caribbean process of volunteerism;

  1. Through the use of the Volunteer mechanism work to enhance the capacities of those countries firstly in the subregion, who are facing the most difficulties meeting the challenge of development in our own region: Haiti, Guyana, Suriname and Jamaica and then the wider world, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  2. To change the context of volunteerism in the region. I am reminded of Freire’s work in this area. He states and I quote, " Words form a linguistic field within a conceptual field, expressing a vision of the world which they reconstruct".

We have to be sure that the expressions of volunteerism express a vision of the world, which is egalitarian and respectful of the cultural rootedness of all peoples.





Ms. Nerle Robertson - CNIRD

The Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development (CNIRD) was launched in 1988 in response to increasing neglect and deprivation being experienced by Caribbean people. CNIRD is an independent regional non-governmental organization, which promotes Cupertino and sharing among organizations working to improve the quality of life within the rural and other disadvantaged communities in the Caribbean. The organization targets the NGO community particularly youth and women as well as researchers and students.

The organization’s mission is to promote sustainable and environmentally sound development through consultation with and the involvement of the communities and other relevant entities in order to improve the quality of life in rural areas and the well-being of Caribbean people.

In view of the diverse areas and the range of activities, its limited resources both financial and human, there is the need to solicit support from all available sources in order to implement the projects. Consequently, volunteerism is an important element in the programme of CNIRD and the organizations with which it networks.

Volunteerism has declined significantly since the 1970s and 1980s and this has affected the extent to which CNIRD efficiently implements its programme of work particularly in the context where the organization uses networking as the strategy.

Robotham in his analysis of the decline in volunteerism in Jamaica suggested that selfishness and indiscipline contribute to the fall off in voluntary action. However, further analysis suggests that the factors which influence volunteerism are political, social and economic situations.


As the government’s role of providing services is reduced the citizenry is saddled with greater burdens and struggle to provide services, which were previously in the domain of the government. As a result citizens seem unable to expend the effort, time and resources in voluntary activities.


An ageing cadre of volunteers who can be considered professional volunteers

in some cases do not have the capacity to provide the requisite services.

There is limited data on volunteers or information on the services which can be provided and limited information on the status of voluntary actions and follow-up. Assessments do not clearly identify successes and lessons learnt.

The social structure in which the interventions are done often negatively influence successful project implementation.

The failure to accomplish set goals in a situation where there is no social structure can frustrate the efforts of the volunteers. Rivalry and jealousy among volunteers on the same projects have been known to jeopardise project implementation. Rivalry between NGOs and government organization where government see NGOs as usurping their roles


The market economy, which focuses on an accumulation of wealth, encourages an attitude which demands remuneration. The current trend towards individualism is reinforced in this economic setting and indigenous practices aimed towards community benefits e.g. self-help are no longer instinctive and a project for the development of the community cannot get the full support of the members. The increased poverty experienced by the community also mitigates against voluntary contributions of community members as they continually struggle to meet their basic needs.

Volunteers are generally otherwise employed and resources which can be expended on voluntary actions are limited. There is a need to find ways to optimise the use of scarce resources re volunteers time by for example ; time saving measures which would include more focussed meetings to plan and implement programmes.

Information gleaned from four groups which provide services to communities in Trinidad:

  1. Reflected the fact volunteers are not easily accessed and commitment is not sustained. Volunteers can be however sourced through the media by advertisements, person to person contact, through persons benefiting from the service.
  2. The difficulties related to voluntary support are identified by the groups which affect their ability to attract volunteers and sustain volunteerism are:
  • Lack of recognition.
  • Lack of commitment to volunteers.
  • Inability to get media coverage.
  • Scarce finances due to inability to solicit financial support from government, private or international agencies.
  • Personnel poorly equipped to deal with assigned tasks.
  • Providing incentives to volunteers e.g. training
  • Groups engaging in strategic planning
  • Adopting and implementing good management practices and systems.
  • Provide training for groups in order to understand and manage volunteerism.
  • Provide systems of rewards and recognition.
  • Financial assistance.
  • Appealing to person’s moral and spiritual sensitivity.

An additional factor is developing strategies to facilitate networking among organizations.

While there is an indication that there is a general decline in volunteerism there continues to be pockets of communities in which examples of volunteerism persists. In many of the Caribbean countries in Guyana and St. Vincent for example, labour and financial resources for agriculture are supplemented by fairly well structured arrangements in which friends and relatives come together to lend support. In St. Vincent this method which is called ‘swap labour’ is widely practised. It becomes evident that the act of volunteerism is influenced by the desire of the community to be self-reliant and the extent of the individual’s moral and social responsibility for each other’s welfare. These are innate qualities which instil have no relationship with the level of financial support available to communities.





Sheila Ketwaru - Nurmohammed

Programme Coordinator, Forum NGO’s Service Bureau

Voluntary work in Suriname is dynamic and diverse because Suriname has so many cultures with their own typical forms of volunteer systems.

The family/village volunteer system is a traditional and often casual way to support members of the family or the village. In the case of the village, the inhabitants are mostly extended families or are accepted as such. Family, by the way, has a very elastical meaning in our societies. Cases in which people offer their support are, for example the preparation of agricultural land, harvesting, marriages, funerals, construction of private and communal buildings, assistance to the elderly and the sick, etc. etc. Often both men and women take part in the activities with a clear division of labour between them.

In the rural districts and in the interior family/village support is very common, for example the mohsiro or majuri system among Amerindians and the gotong royong among Javanese. Gotong royong is a community self-help system where relatives and neighbours help each other on a completely voluntary basis, for instance to build a house. Javanese also know what is called sambatan. The principle is the same as in gotong royong but the activities are limited to agricultural work. Maroon communities have annual land clearing activities with the support of relatives and friends and this support is also given during the harvest. Voluntary services also apply when someone is old or sick and should be helped. Indigenous people have a system called mohsiro by Carib and majuri by Arowak Amerindians. This system serves the special purpose to clear land for cultivation and everybody is expected to make a contribution. In exchange for the help of men, Amerindian women prepare food and kasiri (alcoholic drink prepared from manioc). For Hindustani special events such as marriage, house construction and religious services depend strongly on the contribution of relatives and neighbours. Financial support of newly weds, elderly and sick people is also very common. The same system can be found among Chinese who additionally also help each other with loans and guidance to start a business. Creoles have the kasmoni system known as box hand in the Caribbean. Creoles also have an extensive family support system targeting elderly people and single mothers. In addition to all these systems, religious organizations play an important role in volunteer work as well and that it is very difficult to make a distinction between religious and social work. Informality being one of its most important features, the family-village system is often overlooked by outsiders or by persons who are only familiar with volunteer work according to Western concepts.

The formal organization system looks more like what would be considered the Western system of volunteerism. The organizational setting of volunteer work in Suriname is structured and does have a legal basis, since law registers most organizations. People combine efforts in an organization with the purpose to help the needy in the community or the society. Volunteer work in this case includes a wide array of social and development activities. Historically this system was introduced by the church to expand its social and missionary work among the needy. Most volunteer work in the urban area of Suriname is formally organized because this part of the country is culturally to a large extent westernized. Volunteers have increasingly organized themselves for access to funds of overseas donors who demanded a proper registration with the government. Over 3,000 foundations and associations are registered, some of which are not active at all. Volunteers are found in all kinds of organizations: social, cultural, educational, recreative, developmental or health. The activities include a broad array of services, for example related to First Aid, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence against women, health education, promotion of breastfeeding, counselling of persons with HIV/AIDS or of drugs addicts, care of and recreation for elderly and disabled people, assistance of children with their homework, sports and cultural activities, etc.

In the urban area, Forum NGOs has a wide experience with the work of developmental CBOs, of which the majority is managed by volunteers in the traditional sense of the word. Most of these volunteers are Christians and some of the organizations were established by the church. Some volunteers state they act purely out of social compassion. These volunteers usually are skilled persons and their volunteer work is often related with their profession. Women are more involved in basic field work, while men feel more comfortable with the management of the organization. The ages of the volunteers vary between 25 and 55 years. Thus, most volunteers belong to the economically active population while the women are also in their reproductive age. Most of the volunteers have a low or moderate income. They indicate that they often have to reach in their own pocket for the work they do. This and the fact that most people are forced to have one or more additional jobs, are the main reasons why there has been a sharp fall in volunteer’s work in the past decade. High migration is also an important factor that has caused a downward trend in volunteer service.

In collaboration with CBOs, the Service Bureau developed a three-year program for urban poverty alleviation and community development. The program aims to build the capacity of volunteer organizations to improve the living conditions of people in urban neighbourhoods. It also aims to promote collaboration and exchange of experiences among CBOs. The activities of the program include:

  • strenghtening management and the negotiating skills of volunteers through training and assistance;
  • increase people’s participation on the basis of gender equality through the promotion of participatory and gender development approaches;
  • assessment of the potential of communities and organizations within these communities, resulting in the drafting of integrated regional development plans and business plans for organizations;
  • Development and management of projects;
  • Mobilization of resources and development of fundraising activities;
  • Strategies to recruit more volunteers and members for the organization;

After three years of working and training there is a change in the efficiency and effectiveness of volunteer efforts. Professional working skills prevent the waste of people’s potential, their creativity and their precious time. Volunteers contribute significantly to the survival and welfare of people in Suriname. In recent years they have adopted many government responsibilities and it is sad that their contribution is ignored in national economic and social policies.




Dr Sonia Caffe – UNICEF Consultant in Suriname

Sonia Caffe’s presentation was made around a number of questions, which she went through with the audience:

  1. How do you identify volunteers?
  • Develop a profile of (minimal) requirements for a volunteer to succeed at the task (i.e. education, age, available time, specific skills)
  • Develop a suitable strategy for active recruitment (be creative, go beyond "the usual")
  • Strictly apply the minimal requirements for selection (will prevent disappointment and frustration for the volunteer and the organization)
  1. How do you train volunteers?
  • Training should be ongoing and appropriate
  • Do not "undertrain"
  • Do not "overtrain"
  1. How do you support volunteers?
  • Protection against over-extension
  • Provide a social and emotional network
  • Provide financial and in-kind support where appropriate and necessary
  1. How do you motivate them to stay on?
  • Consistency of the organization
  • Monitoring the "costs", both material and immaterial
  • Provision of (appropriate) rewards according to the costs





Marja Naarendorp - Red Cross Suriname

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a global humanitarian Volunteer Network organization:

  1. 175 member National Societies
  2. Chartered by Governments to conduct health, welfare and safety programmes, but operate independently
  1. Specific activities vary to meet the needs of the countries they serve

Traditional National Society Activities:

  1. Emergency/Disaster relief
  1. Health services
  1. First Aid training
  1. Social Welfare services
  1. Blood Services
  1. Youth programmes
  1. Dissemination of the principles


  1. Network of 32 Caribbean NS and overseas branches of other NS (Dutch, British, French)
  1. Led by over 92,000 members and volunteers
  1. Serves a diverse population of 37 million people
  1. Serves 2,600 warm meals weekly
  1. Trains 17,500 persons in lifesaving First Aid and CPR annually
  1. Responds to over 440 disasters each year
  1. Provides assistance to more than 1 million people annually
  1. Is in three countries in the region responsible for the national Blood program
  1. Rated as the most visible and respected NON-PROFIT in the Caribbean

While demand for Red Cross assistance has increased, the Red Cross has not realized the required corresponding growth in resources - donations and volunteers. In fact, local "competition" for these scares resources is at an all time high with many other worthy organizations targeting the same donors and the same volunteers as the Red Cross.

Strategic alliances are not fund raising and not philanthropy. Rather, it is about creating strategic, mutually beneficial, and lasting relationships which complement the strengths and resources of each "partner" to maximize the benefits for each. Strategic alliances look for investments far beyond a financial gift to form lasting relationships that can generate desperately needed resources for the Red Cross while providing invaluable goodwill and marketing advantages for our partners. These investments can include technical assistance, in-kind donations, employee involvement, sponsored advertising, customer promotions, etc.

The media should not be overlooked as a potential partner. They can offer valuable airtime which is clearly one resource that the Red Cross wants. The Red Cross can offer a community image and valuable information which is important in the media outreach. In February 1998, radio stations throughout the region joined forces with the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) and Red Cross Societies to raise public awareness about the plight of the homeless and to collect food items on their behalf. Following Hurricane George, CANA organized the first-ever-regional radiothon for the Red Cross, raising funds for the relief effort and promoting disaster preparedness steps for families.

NGOs & the UN. Again, in developing strategic alliances we must consider the needs of our National Societies and the available resources from other potential partners. With this, partners should not be restricted to just corporations or media as mentioned above. Community groups, service clubs, and other NGOs should also be considered. In the Caribbean, community group and neighbourhood watches are key in implementing the Community-based Disaster Preparedness Programme. These groups already have an established structure and community presence so they can easily disseminate Red Cross preparedness information and lead mitigation projects in their area.

Other agencies, including the United Nations, should also be considered. While they are traditionally approached for funding, they can also provide invaluable technical support.







CPDC is a regional network, whose membership comprises other regional development organizations, national networks, umbrella organizations and national agencies with regional perspectives in their work programmes. At present the membership of the CPDC includes 23 regional and national networks and agencies. Members include agencies from the English speaking Caribbean, as well as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico. CPDC is also represented in Central America. CPDC's philosophy is to work with the broadest sectors in developing positions on policy issues and influencing public policy. The organization therefore works directly and through its member agencies, with diverse segments of the Caribbean Community: farmers, rural people; women; youth; artist; researchers; professionals; media workers; church members; businesspersons as well as policy makers. As part of CPDC’s efforts to ensure the longevity of the NGO movement in the region, we have made NGO strengthening a priority. Volunteerism in the context of the Caribbean is but one way in which we can build the capacity of NGOs to respond to the needs of the disadvantaged in our society. In this regard volunteerism forms an integral part of the CPDC’s strategy for NGO strengthening in the region.

Through volunteer programmes, NGOs of the region can make use of skilled persons from the various regional universities, technical and community colleges and indeed the wider community. There is benefit to the volunteers as well. Volunteerism in the Caribbean is largely limited to involvement in charitable organizations and is often project specific. The prospective volunteer programmes associated with the NGOs have the potential of sensitising the wider community to the importance of the NGO community but also to provide hands-on training for those interested in this particular field.

There is no specific mention of volunteerism in the Charter for Civil society for CARICOM signed in 1993. Furthermore, Caribbean NGOs have not been able to secure the financial resources in order to establish volunteer programmes, which are so vital to their survival. So often we at the CPDC have had offers from students of the University of the West Indies and other institution to volunteer with us, not only during the holidays but on completion of their studies. Unfortunately, we have not been able to facilitate these requests due to the small size of our office and a lack of financial resources with which to sustain this activity.

One example of volunteerism in Barbados is that conducted by the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. It entails the setting up of legal clinics across the island and law students and lecturers giving free consultations. The programme has not only helped hundreds of Barbadians who otherwise not have access to legal help, but it also helped the students to develop a sense of moral responsibility to the disadvantaged in the society. There are traditional charitable organizations, whose efforts are concentrated on fundraising and emphasis on specific projects, but not a sustained and organized donation of human resources. We need therefore, to transform volunteerism in the region into an activity which is more sustainable and which provides a skills bank for the region in every sphere. CPDC, as a regional body wishes to lead the way by developing a model of volunteerism, which would break new ground in the regional integration movement. We feel that our human resources are the best resources we have. To this end we envisage a programme within the Caribbean which helps countries of the region to share their expertise in the areas of technology, human resource training and management, agriculture and entrepreneurship. But it is here that the limitations, both in the legal and policy framework, pose severe problems for any potential programme. Firstly, not all of the CARICOM countries have seen it fit to sign on to the Inter-Governmental Agreement on reciprocal arrangements for free movement of skills and hassle-free travel, which is supposed to form part of the Protocols for the establishment of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy. As a result, NGOs have to battle with work permits, visas and time consuming paper work which only leads to frustration in the movement. If then we are to coordinate a volunteer programme, this situation becomes worse. We must lobby for a provision either in legislation or by agreement, to allow volunteers exemptions from work permits and visas, perhaps a framework similar to that provided for the diplomatic core through bilateral agreements. Similarly we have to engage the governments in discussion on the issue of the payment of income tax and contributions to local Social Security schemes. More often than not volunteers, are paid by institutions extra-regionally and are paid on the basis of a volunteer rate. Hence there is little disposable income. Another issue, which must be addressed, is that pertaining to volunteers who may bring with them school age children. Presently, in the Barbados for example, non-national parents with non-national children must pay for their children to attend government schools. This only brings to the fore a burning need for a clearly defined and negotiated policy for volunteers.






1. Need for definition of volunteerism:

* self sacrifice

* mutual benefit

* international vs local

* institutional vs individual

* as a career

* complementing and not substituting government’s civic responsibilities.

2. Mechanisms for requirements/standards for a volunteer:

* experiences/skills

* motivation

* governance

* preservation of integrity – e.g. partisan political manipulation

* succession planning, e.g. youth

3. Legal and policy framework for institutional support to volunteers, e.g. exemption from local taxes; labour legislation (work permit); visas; hassle free travel.

4. Mechanisms for equitable reward and incentive systems to be established for volunteers.

This should not lead to an expectation of elitism among volunteers.

5. Development of data base

* needs assessment

* impact of voluntary work and investments (evaluation)

* identification of social issues.

6. Need for public education, networking (building partnerships) and collaboration among agencies:

* institutional support for strengthening of volunteer agencies;

* opportunities and benefits;

* value of volunteerism;

* international vs local benefits.



The objective of volunteerism is for global social change and sustainable livelihoods. The volunteer practices under conditions of free will, according to the Caribbean cultural reality. The volunteer may receive in and benefits out of pocket expenses, allowances and other reciprocal benefits. In the pre-independence period, volunteerism was mainly within welfare systems. With independence, the context changed to transformation and empowerment. Other changes in the context came about with the experiences of Guyana in the 70’s Grenada revolution and the structural adjustment period. With the current impact of globalization, economic survival became the focus of individuals and organizations and put a dollar value on volunteerism.

For volunteerism to be effective, there is a need for:

  • research on the context in order to understand the challenges faced by volunteers;
  • succession planning and mechanism for people, including young people to be identified recruited and trained, who are motivated and supported in their work as volunteers.

Six themes were developed from the issues presented by the small groups, for further exploration:

1. mechanisms for requirements and standards for a volunteer

2. legal and policy framework

3. mechanisms for equitable rewards and incentive systems for volunteers

4. development of a database

5. public education, networking (building partnership) communication and collaboration among agencies.

6. coordination mechanisms



1. There is a need for a clear definition of the type of labor or skills




-social mobilization skills

2. Coordination of volunteer Activities

    -needs assessment

    -monitoring, evaluation and regulation

3. Transfer of knowledge, including a counterpart for sustainability and success planning.


  1. Advocacy: lobbying government for recognition of volunteerism
  2. Legal framework: use opportunity provided y IYV to articulate to governments the legal framework concerns.
  3. Education and communication: access to government machinery in order to disseminate information, and inclusion of opportunities for volunteerism in the school curricula


  • formal scheme introducing mutual benefits for volunteers/individuals/.organizations
  • personal development opportunities
  • volunteer recognition for example awards
  • pay attention to marginalized groups


The goal of the data base is to provide relevant, timely data to service priority needs at local, national and regional level. The data base will make analyses of what the priorities should be.


The media should be used to publish aspects of volunteerism, not just for news releases. It should be stressed to the business community the importance of volunteerism and how it can be entrance/benefit their business.


  • establishment of a regional mechanism for the promotion of volunteerism, and coordination of regional activities for IYV and beyond
  • establish national committees to plan activities for IYV

From the activities proposed under the themes, the following seven priorities were drawn out, to begin the process of developing strategies for the Regional Action Plan.

  • Establishment of a National Committee for IYV ( see guidance notes)
  • National and Regional Clearing House and Database on Volunteerism
  • Legal and policy Environment of Volunteerism.
  • Advocacy, Awareness and Recognition Building.
  • Regional Coordinating Body for IYV (and volunteerism in general)
  • Mechanisms for encouraging volunteerism particularly among youth
  • Mechanisms for performance and impact appraisal.




The six themes developed during the second day were further explored and elaborated.

Working Groups further reviewed themes of Session 4 in terms of the following:

    1. identify resources
    2. responsibilities
    3. commitments
    4. critical success factors
    5. resolutions/recommendations to be proposed


Presentation of Working Group Reports

The results of the discussions were presented to the plenary and incorporated into the Directional Agenda for Action by the Writing Group.

Summary of the discussions:

a) Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC)


There was general consensus that such a committee IS required.

The point is that Volunteerism is an activity that already exists and has an agenda and therefore requires attention and coordination, not solely celebration as suggested by the YV2001.

- Questions were raised on whether the Trinidad and Tobago UNDP be so

centrally involved as suggested? The desire for this was re-affirmed.

A suggestion was made that a small interim committee should be formed to strategize and to mobilize funds for start-up activities.

Question: What is the role of UNV for the International Year of the Volunteer 2001.

Response: Mandate is to provide a supportive environment for all efforts to plan for IYV2001 and to report on the implementation of activities. It has no core budget to pay for IYV 2001 activities nor does UNDP.

Additional matters raised:

That a principle of gender balance be taken forward in the formulation of new committees.

Function of research- who should undertake this; what is the research agenda?

Training of Volunteers is needed, even before 2001.

  1. Mechanisms for Encouraging Volunteerism

Involves regional, national and local levels.


  • Suggestion made that concrete proposals made to carry volunteer activities forward eg. that the UWI undertake to register students as volunteers among the neediest of organizations/groups in the society.
  • Because of the difficulty of attracting young persons to volunteerism, the emphasis on self-denial should be replaced with an emphasis on self-enlargement.
  1. Advocacy, Awareness and Recognition Building


The UNV Programme is intended to provide an enabling environment.

The point was made that UNDP rather than UNV should be approached to assist

in to source start-up funding.

d) Legal and Policy Environment of Volunteerism

There was no discussion on the issues presented.


e) National and Regional Clearing House and Data Base on Volunteerism

There was no discussion on the issues presented.

f) Establishment of National Committees for IYV


Questions were raised about the need for, and the role and membership of a steering committee. The ensuing discussion reflected the complexity of the start-up process, thus reinforcing the need for a steering committee in the initial stages. Further questions were raised on who should mobilize, and on what authority, the national committees following the present planning meeting.

It was indicated that UNV would decline to take the lead in selecting membership of IYV national committees.

It was suggested that the groups who are obviously involved would be those who carry the process forward. Nevertheless, it was pointed out that the intention is not solely to celebrate volunteerism but also to develop and take forward the mechanisms for ongoing volunteerism.


  1. Mechanisms for performance and Impact Appraisal

No issues raised.


CLARIFICATION OF THE ROLE OF UNV in the activities leading to IYV2001

The facilitator reported that a small ad-hoc working group had met to examine and discuss the above matter. The following statement was read:

"This Meeting wishes to draw attention of participants to the United Nations Resolution C2/L.21 and in particular to Section 3, which reads as follows:

[The United Nations] designates the United Nations Volunteers programme, without prejudice to existing priorities, as the focal point for preparations, implementation and follow-up of the Year in close collaboration with other organizations of the United Nations system, and encourages the United Nations Volunteers to continue the process of close collaboration and partnership with Governments and international and national volunteer and non-governmental organizations, in particular, with regard to the preparations for the implementation of the Year.

In view of comments expressed, we strongly recommend that UNV continue to be an be part of the implementation process in the Caribbean region, both in terms of being a catalyst and a resource for the proposed national and regional committees."


A fund-raising committee had been suggested in response to the need for financial resources to proceed at both regional and national levels. Discussion of the membership of committee led to a proposal that on the basis of the fact that a number of regional NGOs are located in Trinidad, that the committee be comprised of persons who are located in Trinidad. That it should comprise representatives of the Regional NGOs, together with represenation from the Private and Government sectors, UNDP and UNV. It was proposed and agreed that those persons from Trinidad who were currently at the planning meeting should carry forward the establishment of the fund-raising committee in the very near future.


Recommendations were proposed by each working group. These were combined in a single document and presented to a representative group of the meeting for endorsement. (See attachment)


The Writing Group presented a draft of the Directional Agenda for Action to the plenary. The Directional Agenda for Action was approved and is attached herewith.


Directional Agenda for Action


In recognition of the necessity for advisory and coordinating bodies to oversee the preparation of IYV 2001, it is proposed that steering committees be instituted at the national and regional levels.These committees will embrace a wide cross-section of civil society and will be facilitated by existing structures wherever possible .

The national coordinating committees will have the task of instituting and implementing national and local programs and activities for IYV 2001. Additionally, the national committees will have the responsibility for advocacy and strengthening the legal and policy environment for the promotion of volunteerism.

The Regional Steering Committee will comprise of representatives of participating and associated territories, and will function as an advisory and co-ordinating body. It will be responsible for consensus building and take decisions on behalf of the region where joint action is required. The regional committee will also liase with the global initiative.



In order to improve the services provided by volunteers, data on available skills and needs to be filled should be maintained. This database will seek to quantify the contribution given by volunteers in order to lend legitimacy to the process. It will also serve to research and document the activity which contributes to the social fabric of the country. Volunteers operate today under conditions of declining financial resources. Decision-makers, therefore, will be given more precise information in order to allocate scarce resouces. The database will also provide information to enable groups and individuals to network and access relevant data.



Mechanisms shall be put in place to ensure that the contribution made by volunteers is of the highest standard and has the widest possible impact. The components include a needs assessment (at both national and regional levels), as well as monitoring, evaluating and regulatory systems. Commmunity participation will be encouraged through the registration of their needs, as well as provision for faciltiators (commmunity leaders, NGOs or individuals) who will ensure that volunteers are appropriately placed. While the attributes and skills of volunteers will vary, a training and orientation programme will be formulated.


Governmental and regional associations in the Caribbean will be encouraged to place volunteerism on the national and regional agenda. At the governmental level this will necessitate a review of national legislation in order to encourage and facilitate initiatives in which volunteers may be engaged. This will require an examination of taxation, social security, education and medical benefits in order that mutal benefits may be maximised and an enabling environment created for volunteerism.

At the regional level, it will be expected that close links be established with the CARICOM Human and Social Development Programme in order, for example, that volunteerism be included in CARICOM’s Civil Society Charter.



The lobbying of governments, private enterprise, trade unions, NGO’s and CBO’s for recognition of the part volunteerism can play in national development and particularly in the development of a more caring society is seen as an important function of the national committees as they plan events for the IYV 2001.

Outreach programmes to schools, youth organizations and other NGOs aimed at an all-inclusive approach to volunteerism will be encouraged. The national media – the press, TV and radio - will be briefed about plans for IYV 2001 and other information about volunteer activity. Private enterprise will be encouraged to see volunteerism as part of its social marketing strategies and encouraged to invest in "image capital". Help will be sought for the training of volunteers and the development of their skills.

Finally, a scheme of rewards and incentives will be instituted to encourage volunteers and acknowledge their efforts and motivate them in the tasks undertaken. Success of volunteer initiatives will be seen in the sustainability of their work.



Regional Workshop for the Preparation of the

International Year of Volunteers, 2001

Suriname, 19-21 August 1999

Summary Recommendations to all Stakeholders in Promoting

IYV 2001 and Volunteerism



United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/52/17 on the International Year of Volunteers, 2001, which aims to heighten awareness internationally, nationally, and at the community and individual levels of the importance of volunteering in the development process, and on the benefits of volunteering, both for the volunteer and the recipients of their services, and which designates UNV as a partner in this process;


That the objective of volunteering is global social change leading to sustainable livelihoods;


That the volunteer in the Caribbean region practices under conditions of free will, responding to priority needs, and evolving with the Caribbean cultural reality;

That for volunteering to be effective, there is a need for high-quality research to improve understanding of the context in which volunteers must work and the resulting challenges they face;


That existing structures should be used as far as possible to promote and encourage volunteering at the local, national and regional levels;


That the need for volunteer effort is greater than ever in light of the adverse impact of such global problems as environmental degradation, poverty, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS on the more vulnerable sectors of society, and of the trend for civil society, in partnership with government and the private sector, to assume an even more active role in the development process; and


That young people must be provided the opportunity to participate actively in the process of global social change;



  1. The establishment of national committees for volunteerism in the context of the IYV 2001 by 5 December 1999, and urges the active collaboration of representatives from the public, private, and voluntary sectors in their work.
  2. That national committees, once established, support the creation of a regional database/clearing house on volunteering and volunteers in the Caribbean.
  3. That national committees prepare for a high profile launch for IYV 2001 on 5 December 2000, to ensure maximum visibility and participation in the Year.
  4. The creation of a small working group to develop strategies for mobilizing resources for the establishment of a regional mechanism for IYV 2001.
  5. That the UNDP Country Office in Trinidad and Tobago inform the CARICOM Secretariat of the results of this regional workshop, and urge the Secretariat to encourage CARICOM member governments to participate actively in the national committees once they have been established.
  6. That UNDP include the issues on "caring" , arising out of the 1999 Human Development Report, in future National Human Development Reports of the countries of the Caribbean.
  7. To request UNV to support research with a view to developing a methodology for quantifying the contribution of volunteering to national development and for conducting situational analyses of volunteering in individual countries, as well as on the enabling policy environment that will allow volunteering to flourish.
  8. To request UNV to facilitate the sharing of information on the results of this and other Regional Workshops for the Preparation of the International Year of Volunteers, 2001.




1 . Ms. Angel, D. Forum NGO’s Suriname

2 . Ms. Artist, J. Red Cross Suriname

3 . Ms. Baarn-Dijksteel, E. NVB / NAKS Suriname

4 . Mr. Bell, R. Lions Suriname

5 . Mr. Bouters, L. UNV Suriname

6 . Ms. Branker, S. CAMDA Barbados

7 . Ms. Brown, H. Network of NGO’s Trinidad

8 . Ms. Brown, I. Govt. of Jamaica Jamaica

9 . Ms. Caffé, S. UNICEF Suriname

10. Ms. Dijk, W van PEPSUR Suriname

11. Mr. Doran, R. Forum NGOs Curacao

12. Ms. Drayton, Royal Bank Trinidad

13. Ms. Dualeh, M. UNV Guyana

14. Ms. Edwards, B. Youth Challenge Int. Guyana

15. Ms. Edwards, F. Ass. of Dev. Agencies Jamaica

16. Ms. Elsen, B. Ministry of PLOS Suriname

17. Mr. Geiser, H. UNDP Trinidad

18. Ms. Gyles-McDonnoug,M UNDP SURF Trinidad

19. Ms. Harris, B. Forum NGO’s Guyana

20. Ms. Hollingsworth, D. CUSO Jamaica

21. Ms. Hooplot, M. UNDP Suriname

22. Mr. Hope, T. Mustard Seed Comm. Jamaica

23. Ms. John, M. UNV Barbados

24. Dr. Kambon, A. UN/ ECLAC Trinidad

25. Ms. Ketwaru, S. Forum NGO’s Suriname

26. Mr. Laydoo, R. GEF/ SGP Trinidad

27. Mr. Leigh, R. UNV/ UNDP USA

28. Ms. Levens, M. Forum NGO’s Suriname

29. Mr. Lisse, S. NIMOS Suriname

30. Mr. Lotens,W. Journalist Suriname

31. Ms. Maks, M. Red Cross/PLOS Suriname

32. Mr. Moelhan, R. Ahimsa Suriname

33. Ms. Naarendorp, M. Red Cross Suriname

34. Ms. O’Marde, I. Car. Conf. of Churches Antigua & B.

35. Ms. Power, A. CPDC Barbados

36. Ms Ravales, N Min. of

37. Ms. Robertson, N. CNIRD Trinidad

38. Ms. Robinson, N. CAFRA St. Vincent & G.

39. Mr. Romalho, I. Forum NGO’s Suriname

40. Mr. Sanné, W. Forum NGO’s Suriname

41. Mr. Schuurmans, M. VPSI Suriname

42. Ms. Snauwaert, N. UNDP /UNV Suriname

43. Mr. Snoeks, J. UNV Trinidad

44. Ms. Themen, M. CAMRODD Suriname

45. Prof. Thomas-Hope, E. UWI Jamaica

46. Ms. Tjon Sie Fat, A. UNIFEM Suriname

47. Ms. Veldhuizen, T. van NIMOS Suriname

48. Ms. Vreedzaam, H. Sanomaro Esa Suriname

49. Ms. Wassink, W. PEPSUR Suriname

50. Mr. Wesenhagen, H. Forum NGO’s Suriname

51. Mr. Wijdenbosch, R. VPSI Suriname

52. Ms. Wilkins, W. CVSS Jamaica



Mr. O. Spong Cabinet of the President

Ms. S. Décambre IDB

Mr. K. van Veen Dutch Embassy

Mr. S. Mathur Indian Embassy

Mr. A. Camble Embassy of the United States

Mr. Buckmire ICCA

Mr. Gangaram Panday Chamber of Commerce and Factories

Mr. M. Ooft NIMOS

Mr. K. Arjun Guyanese Embassy

Mr. H. Latiri PAHO

Mr. W. Lotens Lachispa

Ms. R. Hubart Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. E. Limon Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ms. B. Candries European Union

Mr. Moestadja Minister of Social Affairs

Mr. Powell Ministry of Social Affairs

Theatre group of young volunteers from Peer Education Suriname (PEPSUR)

Ms. C. Pinas

Ms. S. Margaret

Ms. J. Davis

Ms. G. Linger

Ms. V. Baumgard

Ms. S. Walcott

Ms. van Bosse

Mr. M. Moesan

Mr. R. Frederik



This workshop would not have been possible without the assistance of many organizations and individuals.

Particular thanks is due to:



Government of Japan

Forum NGO's

Red Cross Suriname

UNIFEM Suriname



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