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Volunteers in Bonn raise awareness in combating HIV/AIDS
30 November 2007

Bonn, Germany: To mark the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December, the Bonn-based United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is partnering with AIDS-Hilfe Bonn to organize activities on 1,5 and 8 December highlighting the work of volunteers and their contribution to combating HIV/AIDS. Volunteers play a crucial role in public education to prevent the disease, and providing support to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
 
The activities in Bonn will help remind everyone that they can be part of the combat against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

On 1 December, UNV staff, volunteers and staff of AIDS-Hilfe Bonn will run an information stand in central Bonn (Poststrasse) promoting volunteerism, encouraging people to volunteer, and providing information on UNV’s work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

On 5 December, UNV volunteer Umberto Bernardo of Italy will be visiting the UN Campus in Bonn to share his experience about working in HIV/AIDS projects in Egypt. AIDS Hilfe-Bonn will also share information about its work and offer local volunteering projects in which UNV staff and others could get involved. This event also aims to bridge global and local commitments in the fight against HIV/AIDS and show the contribution of volunteers and volunteering in combating the disease.

The façade of Langer Eugen, which houses the UN Campus in Bonn, will also be lit with a huge AIDS ribbon to raise awareness about the epidemic. All staff at the UN Campus will be invited to view the film “And the Band Plays On”, which details the discovery of the AIDS epidemic and the political debate within the scientific community that hampered early efforts to tackle the problem.

On 8 December, the partners have organised a 5-kilometre fun run “Nikolauf” to help raise funds for AIDS awareness and support in Bonn. The general public is cordially invited to participate in the run or to come and support the runners. All funds raised will be used to support the work of AIDS-Hilfe Bonn.

IVD was established by the UN General Assembly in 1985 and provides a unique opportunity for volunteers and volunteer involving organizations to work together to promote common goals.

Over the years, IVD has been used strategically: countries are increasingly focused on using the Day to highlight volunteer contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The organization of IVD is generally the result of a partnership between the UN system, governments, volunteer-involving organizations, and committed individuals. Representatives from the media or academia, foundations, the private sector, faith groups, and sports and recreational organizations are also often involved.

The UNV programme was established in 1971 by the UN General Assembly to serve as a development partner for the entire UN system. Since 1971, more than 30,000 UNV volunteers have supported development and humanitarian efforts around the world, including raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and supporting people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. UNV volunteers are skilled professionals with an average age of 37 and 5-10 years of working experience. UNV also operates the Online Volunteering service (www.onlinevolunteering.org) to connect almost 1,000 development organizations with 11,000 online volunteers worldwide.