On 5 December 2014, people in more than 80 countries will celebrate International Volunteer Day by taking action to improve their communities. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, global citizens will organize parades, sports festivals, group clean-ups, blood donations, rallies, social media campaigns, conferences, exhibitions, fundraisers, workshops, and other events, in order to “make change happen” around the world.
International Volunteer Day 2014 recognizes and celebrates volunteerism, with a special focus on honoring people’s participation in making a difference at all levels: locally, nationally, and globally. This year’s theme underlines the ability of volunteerism to help create open spaces for dialogue and inclusion, ultimately fostering the participation of people from all age groups, genders, and backgrounds in decision-making processes. This grassroots engagement is currently helping to build a more inclusive process of crafting the post-2015 development agenda – the world’s next plan for eradicating extreme poverty and achieving sustainable development.
How Citizens Can Get Involved
Volunteers around the world are sharing how they are making change happen on the International Volunteer Day 2014 campaign website, www.volunteeractioncounts.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels. UN Volunteers invites citizens to use the hashtags #actioncounts, #IVD2014, and #makechangehappen to share photos, videos, and messages to showcase how they are volunteering to create the future they want.
Examples of International Volunteer Day Events Happening Around the Globe
– In Bangladesh, national and international volunteers will gather in Rabindra Sarabor Park in Dhanmondi to share their stories about how they have made a difference by volunteering. The well-known Bangladeshi band Chircutt will be among the performers at the event, singing a song they have created specifically for International Volunteer Day about the importance of solidarity.
– A “Volunteerism Caravan” is currently traveling across Cambodia to gather the voices and experiences of volunteers across the country. The results will be presented in an event in Phnom Penh on International Volunteer Day.
– A week-long celebration of International Volunteer Day in Cameroon will include a photo exhibit on how volunteerism helps refugees and empowers women.
– A week-long celebration of International Volunteer Day in Egypt will include a Tedx event discussing volunteerism.
– In Hong Kong, a networking breakfast event will help foster partnerships between corporate professionals interested in volunteering and local organizations.
– In India, thousands of people are expected to gather to clean the banks of the Yamuna river at Kudsia Ghat.
– In Laos, UN Volunteers is organizing a photo competition on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/UNVLaoPDR, to capture images of volunteers making change happen.
– In Namibia, volunteers will gather food donations for people who have disabilities and HIV/AIDS.
– In the United States, at an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York, United Nations Volunteers and partners will launch IMPACT 2030, an initiative that will recruit corporate volunteers to contribute to the post-2015 development agenda.
– In Uzbekistan, volunteers will send postcards to other volunteers around the globe, thanking them for their service.
– A cycling tour is being organized in Sri Lanka to help spread the message about the importance of volunteerism.