18 May 2012

Kenya: Leaders Champion Volunteerism

Nairobi — Kenyans have been urged to embrace the culture of volunteerism to promote peace and development in the country.

Speaking during the launch of the Africa Conference on Volunteer Action for Peace and Development, Kenya Commercial Bank Group Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno asked Kenyans to volunteer to be peace ambassadors especially in view of the forthcoming general election.

"Election years come with their own challenges. This is coming at a very relevant time, there is volunteerism that is related to the elections, to ensure there is peace, development and prosperity. We have to ensure we don't end up like in 2007/2008 violence," he advised.

He emphasised on the critical need for Kenyan volunteers to promote peace and help others disregard negative ethnicity likely to spur violence that will hamper development and stability of the nation.

Leading businessman Manu Chandaria also encouraged young people to especially take the lead in offering their services freely to boost development and peace.

He said people should start valuing free services as opposed to always expecting money for everything.

"Instead of sitting around and doing nothing, we have to change our mindset, and we need to change the mindset of Kenyans," he asserted.

Chandaria drew his attention especially on peace efforts saying that it was important in helping Kenya achieve economic growth.

He asked for concerted efforts and appealed to the media to take a lead role in helping plans to promote the culture of volunteerism as a key intervention to addressing unemployment.

The two were speaking ahead of the Africa Conference on Volunteer Action for Peace and Development to be held on July 2 and 3 at the United Nations complex in Gigiri, Nairobi.

It is a joint conference between the United Nations, the private sector and the government under the theme of 'youth volunteerism for peace and development in Africa'.

It will be attended by local and international experts who will participate in the conference and activities such as tree planting.

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