10 November 2005
The United Nations International Volunteer Day (IVD) committee on Thursday held a conference to discuss Corporate Society responsibility among Ghana's top companies.
The conference, which sought to sensitise companies and organizations on the importance of corporate volunteerism, also highlighted some of the events for the celebration of IVD which falls on 5 December every year.
Norma Messam, UN Volunteer programme officer, in her address acknowledged the importance of volunteerism in the socio-economic development of every nation.
She stated that the role of corporate volunteering could not be ruled out if success was to be achieved, adding that "their contributions to the societies in which they operate help in promoting quality standards of living for the people."
Messam said the willingness and ability of citizens to give their time out of solidarity and without any monetary demands would have great influence on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by developing countries.
She said governments and the international efforts could only complement the efforts made by the programme, while the major dependence should be on the voluntary involvement of people all over the world.
Messam called on the government to introduce voluntary contributions as part of the assessment process when awarding certificates and degrees in the educational sector.
She said voluntary action efforts need to be recognized, "It is for this reason that the UN Volunteer programme is in the process of completing a study on volunteerism, which would document and quantify the value of voluntary contribution to the development of the country," she explained.
She also called for the encouragement of pro-voluntary legislation that would create an enabling environment to foster voluntary contributions and recognize volunteerism as a valued part of the national development effort.
Nii Dodoo Dodoo, national programme officer with the Volunteer Services Overseas, (VSO), noted that corporate volunteerism was a new concept that was gradually catching with many companies, as they were now awakening to the realization that volunteerism played a vital role in the enhancement of corporate image.
He stated that employees of corporate organizations had skills, which, in addition to annual cash donations, could be used for community development, and which would help build team spirit, enhance their skills and further bring them closer to their communities.
He said VSO had started a project in which opportunities were created for individuals and corporate organizations to volunteer their services to the needy in society.
Nii Dodoo encouraged interested groups and companies to contact VSO for any assistance in respect of programmes towards the IVD celebrations. He said the celebrations would be held in five regions with the national launch in the Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The other regions are the Volta, Greater Accra, Ashanti and the Northern regions with activities that include tree planting exercises, youth educational forums, medical outreach programmes and clean-up programmes.
Pastor Chris Nyame, national coordinator of the Voluntary Services Organization, condemned the poor attitude of corporate society towards volunteerism.
He recalled the situation where poor corporate support led to Ghana 's inability to organize any programme or activity for the year 2001 and called for more support for IVD, including media publicity.