UNV honours outstanding Online Volunteering teams
05 December 2007

Bonn, Germany: The United Nations Volunteers Online Volunteering service today announced the winners of the “Online Volunteering Team of the Year Award”.  The 10 winning teams, comprising online volunteers and their volunteer managers at the host organizations, made an exemplary impact on human development through their efficient online collaboration and commitment to volunteering. 

A jury of experts in volunteerism, development and online collaboration selected the winners of the Online Volunteering Team of the Year Award based on the volunteers’ commitment, the organization’s approach towards online volunteer involvement, the online collaboration and its impact on the organizations’ development activities.

The jury included UNV representatives from country offices and headquarters, the UNDP Civil Society Organizations Division, external partners China NPO Network and Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.

The purpose of this annual award is to recognize the contributions of online volunteers to human development, to demonstrate how development organizations can strengthen their activities through effective online collaboration with volunteers, and to showcase the diversity in which online volunteers can support development organizations.

The winners of the Online Volunteering Team of the Year Award are:

African Conservation Foundation Team
Two online volunteers contributed to the conservation of rainforest and the protection of critically endangered populations of great apes in South West Cameroon, providing technical expertise in geographic information systems and remote sensing.

Bureau for Reconstruction and Development Team
Working closely with the Director of the Bureau for Reconstruction and Development, an online volunteer helped to enhance this non-profit’s organizational capacities and the quality of its services in the areas of human rights and capacity building in support of civil society organizations, local NGOs and the Government of Afghanistan, sharing her skills in strategic business planning, project/team management and proposal development.

Community Empowerment Collective Team
Over 150 online volunteers help run the Community Empowerment Collective Society, a web site that  empowers low-income communities by providing training material to community workers in more than 30 languages.

Conscious Generation Team
The Burundian grassroots organization Conscious Generation engaged three online volunteers in writing a proposal for a youth centre, which is now being reviewed by potential donors for funding. The project drew on the volunteers’ expertise in civil engineering and project management.

Lawyers without Borders Team
Lawyers without Borders engaged an online volunteer to promote the work of this group’s volunteer lawyers worldwide who stand ready to support non-profit organizations, rule of law initiatives, legal capacity building projects and human rights work around the globe. The volunteer designed graphics for the web, logos and other branding images.

MAPU Team
MAPU Association of Spain joined forces with an Argentinean civil movement to raise international awareness on the consequences of mining projects in Argentina. They engaged 10 online volunteers to translate information related to the environmental, social and economic situation of Argentinean communities affected by mining.

RESPECT Team
Some 30 online volunteers from around the world run the RESPECT University project, which provides refugees and internally displaced persons with opportunities for personal, academic and community development by offering high school graduates free distance post-secondary courses.

Shine a Light Team

Seven online volunteers translated material created by 300 grass-roots organizations serving marginalized children in Latin America. This facilitated knowledge sharing between the organizations, which form part of the ‘Shine a Light network’ and who work in a number of languages from Portuguese and Spanish to Aymara and Tzotzil.

UNDP International Poverty Centre Team

23 online volunteers from 17 countries built the web-based UNDP International Poverty Centre’s directory of 2,800 research centres worldwide dealing with poverty and social development. It is now a key tool for fostering South-South cooperation and knowledge sharing, particularly among developing countries.

Youth for Technology Foundation Team

Six online volunteers supported the Youth for Technology Foundation in establishing the Sironko Digital Village, a community technology and learning center in Uganda, by creating a webpage, mobilizing supporters and providing strategic advice.

Congratulating the winners, UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad commended the online volunteers’ admirable commitment and stressed the importance of civic engagement to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Achieving the MDGs will depend in large part on the engagement of citizens and civil society.  Expanding opportunities for people’s participation in their own development contributes to the ‘shared sense of responsibility’ referred to in the Millennium Declaration," he said.  "The winning teams’ experiences may inspire others and thus help mobilize more volunteers for the cause of human development, and encourage more development organizations to strengthen their efforts by tapping into the rich resource that online volunteers provide."

Since its launch in 2000, the Online Volunteering service has provided the opportunity for more than 1,000 development organizations to benefit from the talents and dedication of over 11,000 online volunteers.

Shine a Light Director Kurt Shaw said, “Shine a Light has made a huge impact on the lives of children in Latin America, both by increasing the capacity of grass-roots NGOs and by reforming public policy, but we would never have been able to do it without the help of online volunteers.”

Further information about the winning teams is available on the UNV Online Volunteering service website: www.onlinevolunteering.org

For further information, contact: 
Scott McQuade, Communications Unit, Email: scott.mcquade@unv.org
Elise Bouvet, Online Volunteering service, Email: elise.bouvet@unv.org




This page can found at: http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org/nc/news-views/news/doc/unv-honours-outstanding-online-1.html