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December 5th is International Volunteer Day - Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

United Nations Volunteers
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December 3, 2012
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On IVD 2012, we celebrate our commitment and hope for a better world. The main focus of IVD 2012 is awareness of and recognition for volunteers and volunteer organizations. The purpose is to recognize this commitment, to inform people about the impact of volunteering on peace and sustainable development, and to applaud volunteers for their dedication and impact. (unv)

The United Nations (UN) annually observes the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5. The day, which is also known as International Volunteer Day (IVD), gives volunteers a chance to work together on projects and campaigns promoting their contributions to economic and social development at local, national and international levels.

What do people do?

This day hopes to heighten people’s and governments’ awareness of the voluntary contributions. It also focuses on stimulating people to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad. Over the years, governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals contribute the International Volunteer Day through various activities including:

  • Voluntary community projects.
  • Parades, marches, or rallies.
  • Award ceremonies for volunteers who made significant contributions to their communities.
  • “Time donation” campaigns that involve people pledging hours of voluntary service to specific projects.
  • Companies launching voluntary programs as part of their corporate responsibility.
  • Volunteer competitions.

Activities and events for the day help promote the impact of volunteering and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, via volunteering to:

  • Help eradicate poverty.
  • Achieve universal primary education.
  • Promote gender equality and empower women.
  • Reduce child mortality and to improve maternal health.
  • Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases.
  • Help ensure environmental sustainability.

Many people participate in many of these events through the World Volunteer Web, which the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) operates in partnership with various organizations.

Background

Each year UN General Assembly invites governments to observe the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5. As a result of the resolution from December 17, 1985, governments, the UN, and civil society organizations work together with volunteers around the world to celebrate the Day on December 5 each year.

In 2001, the International Year of Volunteers, the Assembly adopted a set of recommendations on ways that governments and the UN could support volunteering and asked that they be widely disseminated. The International Year of Volunteers aimed to stimulate national and international policy debate around, and to advocate for, recognizing, facilitating, networking and promoting voluntary action. The year led to a much better appreciation of the power of volunteerism in its many forms and the ways to support it.

Symbols

The IVD logo is used to promote the day. The logo features two olive branches that encapsulate three Vs in a cup-like manner. Each V has bullet points at the top of each tip of the letter, so the Vs are drawn in a way to resemble simple figures of people in unity. The words “International Volunteer Day” are under the olive branches. The image, including the words, is in orange on a white background.

Learn more at the United Nations Volunteers website

  Check out Destination:PEACE Volunteer Vacations

  Check out Outreach International

  Check out Fly For Good - Volunteers' Discounted Travel


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