5 December 2008

Ethiopia: Country Joins International Volunteer Day

Addis Ababa — The International Volunteer Day (IVD) is being celebrated today around the world including Ethiopia where a series of activities are organized by volunteers and volunteer organizations in marking the annual day.

The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly to give due recognition to the willingness of many individuals who devote their time, efforts and resources to the welfare and advancement of all.

Senior Officials of the Ethiopian government are expected to join the UNV/UNDP in Ethiopia, including volunteer mobilizing organizations, volunteers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and NGOs in a rally at the Volunteer Square in Mekanisa area in an effort to highlight the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In some places, IVD will be marked with the launch of a week- or month-long campaign to promote volunteerism and recognize volunteers.

While underscoring volunteer contributions in development, the event will also discuss the role of volunteers in support of the development process of Ethiopia.

"MDGs are ambitious, but with global voluntary action, they are achievable. International Volunteer Day provides opportunity to strategically support such action," Alessandra Tsiot, UNDP Ethiopia Country Director said speaking at a press conference at the UNDP office here a day before the international annual event.

In a message read out at the event, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon said, volunteerism was fully recognized as a potentially vast and powerful resource to engage people in the pursuit of peace and development.

Mr. Ban said the cultural form and definition of a volunteer may change depending on circumstance, but the underlying principle never wavers: every individual can make a difference in society.

"The altruistic sprit of volunteerism is immense and renewable. On this IVD, I urge all members of global community to tap this great reserve of energy and initiative," he pointed out.

UN Volunteer programme is the volunteer arm of the UN system supporting peace, relief and development initiatives in nearly 150 countries.

Created by the UN General Assembly in 1970 and administered by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), UNV works through UNDP country offices to promote volunteerism and mobilization of volunteers.

The UN Volunteers programme deploys 7,500 volunteers every year to support national development efforts, and many millions more contribute their time and energy in their own way.

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