UNV celebrating the International Volunteers DayDec 5, 2012
Sana'a, The United Nations Volunteers Program in Yemen celebrated the International Volunteer Day under the slogan of “Volunteer Work Counts” on Wednesday, December 5.
At least 500 participants from civil society organizations and various youth volunteer initiatives took part. In addition, representatives of the Yemeni government, the private sector and international organizations attended the event held at Movenpick Hotel in Sana'a.
The annual celebration was an opportunity to honor the valuable contributions from voluntary organizations and initiatives working in Yemen in various fields, such as youth development, economic empowerment, humanitarian relief and efforts to raise youth capacity. Also important is the spirit shown to encourage national participation in building a better Yemen. A photo exhibition was part of the event, highlighting activities these organizations have engaged in over the past year.
Ms. Randa Aboul-Hosn, Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme in Yemen, pointed out that the United Nations recognize volunteer work as an effective way to contribute to community development and promote a culture of peace, respect and tolerance.
“The culture and spirit of volunteerism has become a prominent feature in the world, volunteers being an integral part of all aspects of development from humanitarian relief work and responding to natural disasters, to engaging in cultural and sports events,” she said. “Volunteers in Yemen work under very challenging conditions, yet they apply their best efforts to improve different aspects of life. Over the last year, we have seen Yemeni volunteers sending messages of peace in Al-Hassaba, Sana'a, Aden, Haradh and Kharz.” She added that the cooperation between the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program and independent Yemeni volunteers has proven to be a strong and constructive partnership.
Mr. Omar AbdulAziz AbdulGhani, the Deputy Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, in his speech stressed the commitment from the Yemeni Government to support volunteers. This partnership, he said, will continue to build bridges of trust and cooperation between civil society and the government agencies to serve Yemen and the development of the country. “The Yemeni Government hopes to build stronger relationship with voluntary organizations working in Yemen as our common goal is to serve the country in every possible way. We have signed several agreements with international organizations such as the United Nations to implement projects that aim at strengthening the role of volunteers, especially young volunteers. We believe this inclusion of a wide range of citizens will have a positive impact on the future of Yemen.”
Mr.Waheeb Al-Eryani, Arab States Portfolio Manager at the United Nations Volunteers Office in Bonn, delivered a speech in which he explained the significant role played by the United Nations in promoting a culture of volunteerism in countries around the world. He praised the role of young volunteers in particular and announced the “Young Arab Volunteers for a Better Future” project, which will be implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the Yemeni Government. The project sets out to demonstrate the role of volunteerism as an effective tool for development. It also aims at strengthening the institutional basis for volunteer work in project countries, including Yemen.
Mr. Walid Hajj, a volunteer, delivered a short speech in which he thanked the Yemeni volunteers for their work. He said that the whole world celebrates volunteers on this day, regardless of borders, languages and races - unified as one global team. He stressed that the volunteers in Yemen are well aware of their important role in serving Yemen. He thanked donors, international organizations, local partners and the private sector for their continued support. Finally he acknowledged the Yemeni Government's role in encouraging volunteers and facilitating voluntary work. He also thanked the United Nations for creating a real partnership with volunteers and volunteer organizations, apparent through the celebration of “Volunteer Work Counts” on December 5.