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Volunteerism worldwide: News, views & resources
June 2007

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Be part of the climate crisis solutions
To encourage Chinese-speaking people to help save the environment, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in China has translated Climate Crisis Solutions into Mandarin, a practical guide on helping avert environmental crisis at home, on the job, and in local communities.
The guide is part of Live Earth, a monumental music event across seven continent to "trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis". It encourages people to change their lifestyles and behaviour -- drive smaller cars, recycle newspapers, plant trees, use solar energy among others.

Aid agencies pledge continued efforts despite deaths of volunteers
Beirut, Lebanon: Aid agencies pledged to continue efforts to deliver relief and evacuate the injured from the besieged Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon despite an upsurge in fighting and death of two volunteers. The LRC, the Palestine Red Crescent (PRC) and the ICRC issued a joint statement deploring the deaths of the two medical volunteers and stressing the importance of respecting medical and relief teams working in the field in support of the victims of the current hostilities. 


Companies launch toolkit to improve employee volunteering
London, UK: A group of companies recently launched, ENGAGE Toolkit, a comprehensive guide to internationalise emlpoyee engagement for companies and NGOs. 

Volunteers may outnumber foreign visitors at Beijing Olympics
Beijing, China: Beijing municipal officials on Monday announced a target of 400,000 city volunteers to staff urban areas outside the Olympic venues. Volunteers roughly equal the number of foreign visitors expected for the Olympics, with estimates ranging from 500,000 to 800,000.

Volunteers pulled 7M pounds of trash from waterways
Florida, USA: More than 350,000 volunteers removed about 7 million pounds of  debris from 34,500 miles of coastlines and waterways, along with ocean, river and lake bottoms. 

Partnership pledges to promote volunteers’ role in social activism
Johannesburg, South Africa: The indispensable role of volunteers in helping countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals is to be explored in a new co-publication by the CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE).

Volunteers target children in effort to eradicate polio
by James McCarten
Kandahar, Afghanistan: Health officials launched a different sort of Afghan offensive Sunday as a brigade of volunteer soldiers armed with clipboards, chalk and tiny bottles of vaccine fanned out across the city, hunting an invisible enemy that preys on the poor and the young. 

Sri Lanka volunteer killings worry UN head
Colombo, Sri Lanka: United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has voiced concern about the safety of aid workers in Sri Lanka after the murder of two Red Cross volunteers, his office said, as Japan's peace envoy began a visit to the war-battered island.

Hundreds of Chinese volunteers to teach Mandarin in Thailand
Beijing, China: China sent more than 400 volunteers to teach Mandarin in Thailand, the largest number of volunteers since China launched its program to send volunteers abroad to teach the Chinese language, the overseas edition of People's Daily reported on Monday.

Pakistan minister: More efforts needed to encourage volunteerism
Islamabad, Pakistan: Volunteers are a catalyst of change for any society and there is urgent need for creating an enabling environment at the national level to foster volunteerism, said Federal Health Minister Muhammad Nasir Khan recently.


Do volunteers strengthen NGO accountability?
Karena Cronin, a UNV volunteer working for CIVICUS, reflects on volunteers' role in strengthening civil society organizations' accountability, as discussed at the recent CIVICUS World Assembly in Glasgow, Scotland.

Volunteer story

'I felt I had something to offer again'
Franco Di Giovanni is HIV positive. He was out of work and out of touch with the world - but then volunteering helped rejuvenate his life.


World Corps Kenya
World Corps Kenya is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization,  concerned about poverty, particularly the lack of access to energy, information and economic opportunities in rural areas of developing countries.

InterAction seeks volunteers who are interested in working with refugees --  hosting a refugee while they find work, tutoring refugees and their children to help further their general education or learn a new language, or even organize a fundraiser, collect items to donate such as blankets, clothing, food, medical items, etc.

RMS Refugee Resettlement
Each year, the New Zealand government selects 750 refugees for resettlement. The non-profit organization RMS Refugee Resettlement is the agency which helps them to resettle in their new communities. It operates a unique programme which trains volunteers to work alongside refugees as they begin to settle into their new communities.

Hotline for Migrant Workers
The Hotline for Migrant Workers is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, working with over 150 volunteers, to promote the rights of undocumented migrant workers and refugees and eliminate trafficking in women in Israel.

VOSESA is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was set up in 2003 as part of the Global Service Institute (GSI) network¹ to address the need for well-researched, up-to-date information on civic service and volunteering in southern Africa. VOSESA supports the growth of knowledge about civic service and volunteering in the following southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Involving volunteers from diverse backgrounds
Published by Volunteering Australia, this guide is for volunteer managers to help build knowledge about involving people from diverse backgrounds in volunteering program, and help improve volunteering policies and practices.

A part of society: Refugees and asylum seekers volunteering in the UK
The latest report from the Volunteering and Asylum Project is based on case studies of ten organisations across the UK that are all outside the refugee sector, and that are all successfully involving refugees and asylum seekers as volunteers. The report is for policy makers, volunteer managers and others wanting to encourage and develop diversity in volunteering. 

Involving third country nationals in volunteering
This 18-month research project (June 2005 – December 2006) was aimed at addressing the lack of knowledge about migrant volunteering, including third country nationals' concepts of, and attitude towards, volunteering and national policies and actions that facilitate these activities. It was led by Volunteering England, and co-ordinated by the European Volunteer Centre (CEV).

Five-country cross-national study on civic service and volunteering in SADC
VOSESA has conducted a cross-national study on civic service and volunteering in five southern African countries: Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The study focused on the form and extent of civic service programmes in these countries. 

50 Jeitos Brasileiros de Mudar o Mundo
This book, jointly published by the UN Volunteers programme and UN Development Programme in Brazil, contains 50 practical and successful projects on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It aims to encourage people to get involved in development and volunteering, establish new development projects and help civil society organizations with their work towards achieving the MDGs. (Read the original article in Portuguese here) 

Research Partnerships Build the Service Field in Africa
This research demonstrates how different actors in the South African region are co-operating to address the human development challenges in the five countries - Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The service initiatives reported on contribute to developing knowledge and good practice, and demonstrate the role that service and volunteering can play in promoting the achievement of national social development goals and priorities.

Women refugees - from volunteers to employees
This research, conducted by Working Lives Research Institute and the London Metropolitan University, supports the view that volunteering can assist refugee women in finding employment, as well as providing important benefits to women who are not able to undertake paid employment. It also highlights the breadth and depth of voluntary activities in which refugee women are involved, and the research report documents the experiences of refugee women as volunteers in a wide range of organisations and activities.

Female volunteers reduce child-mother mortality in Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal: The National Survey of Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) has revealed that active mobilisation of female health volunteers has helped reduce child and maternal mortality through the Vitamin A, de-worming tablets, polio vaccination and other campaigns. The country is also marking 20 years of FCHV's Service Day today.


The Global Volunteer Update is published by the United Nations Volunteers programme in partnership with several organizations. Information is posted from various sources in the effort to advance understanding of volunteering issues. Copyright of content lies with original authors/publishers. Opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors and not of UNV or its partners.