International Volunteer Day (IVD), on December 5th, was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism. It is an opportunity for volunteers, and volunteer organizations, to raise awareness of, and gain recognition for, the contribution they make to their communities.
The act of volunteering is found in all cultures, languages, and religions. Every year, hundreds of millions of people volunteer their time and skills to help make the world a better place. When they volunteer, they help to improve the lives of others. And when they volunteer, they also gain a greater sense of belonging to their communities.
On December 5th, people around the world will celebrate IVD with rallies, parades, volunteer fairs, group clean ups, blood donations, conferences, exhibitions, fundraising, workshops and volunteer recognition events.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has been supporting IVD since its inception. UNV believes that IVD is an ideal opportunity to recognize the significant impact that volunteerism makes worldwide. IVD enables grassroots voluntary movements to connect with local communities, United Nations (UN) efforts and government authorities. It is a chance to raise awareness of the contribution volunteers give to the well-being of their community. Currently, there are approximately 7,300 national and international UN Volunteers contributing to UN work in sustainable development and peace work in over 130 countries.
This year, UNV launched an online campaign - Volunteer Action Counts - as a global volunteer action platform through which to count volunteer activities worldwide. From the website, http://www.volunteeractioncounts.org, volunteers and volunteer organizations celebrating IVD around the world can upload their stories, pictures and videos, and interact with others online about volunteering. In addition, volunteers can use Twitter to share their stories and experiences by using the hash tags, #action counts and #IVD2012.
About UNV: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism. UNV is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and by the idea that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards peace and development. With partners, UNV advocates for volunteerism, integrates volunteerism into development planning and mobilizes volunteers. The enormous potential of volunteerism is an inspiration to UNV and to volunteers around the world.
Every year, about 7,300 qualified and experienced women and men of around 160 nationalities serve as UN Volunteers in some 130 countries. They are professionals who play key roles contributing to peace and making an impact on development results. Annually, there are more than 16,000 online volunteering assignments offered by development organizations through the UNV Online Volunteering service.