Celebrating Youth Volunteerism on International Volunteer Day 2013
By Kazushige Tsumita
In recent years, there has been an increasing focus within the development community on youth issues and a growing emphasis on youth participation in particular.
In this context, the Five-Year Action Agenda on the United Nations Secretary-General identified working with and for young people as a top priority. To ensure greater youth engagement and exchange with young people, the Action Agenda has led to the creation of a United Nations youth volunteering modality under the auspices of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the appointment of an Envoy of the Secretary-General on youth to facilitate greater youth engagement, and the development of a System-wide Action Plan for Youth to deepen the youth focus of existing UN system programs at all levels.
United Nations Volunteers (UNV), in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, developed a Youth Volunteering Strategy for the period 2014-2017. A key feature of the Youth Volunteering Strategy is the establishment of a youth volunteer modality. Through this modality, UNV will engage youth between the ages of 18 and 29 as volunteers to enable them to contribute to global peace and sustainable human development, while enhancing youth volunteers own skills, expertise and capacities.
Each year on International Volunteer Day (IVD), the world celebrates one of the most basic expressions of solidarity and social cohesion, volunteerism. On IVD 2013, held in December, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme highlighted the important role that youth volunteers are making to global peace and sustainable development.
Under the theme Young.Global.Active, the United Nations Volunteers programme in Rwanda joined dozens of other countries around the world in celebrating IVD through marches, music and theatre, workshops and other events. As a United Nations Volunteer serving in Rwanda I was involved in the organisation of three special events together with local authorities as well as national and international volunteer-involving organisations.
Activities started with the inauguration on 5 December of a photo exhibition on “Volunteer Engagement”, which aimed to bring together volunteers and others in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where they could learn more about volunteerism in action.
On the following day, a knowledge fair on volunteerism took place, headed by France Volontaires. A variety of volunteer-involving organisations, including UNV, showcased their activities to youth participants and took part in a roundtable on the state of volunteerism in Rwanda.
As the principal activity for IVD 2013 at country level, a special national volunteer day was celebrated on 12 December guided by the national theme of “Volunteerism as a means to self-reliance”.
The day began with a peace walk by national and international volunteers of various organisations together with more than 1500 Rwandan youth. The walk preceded to Petit Stade in Kigali, where participants were greeted by the chairperson of the National Itorero Commission, the entity in charge of volunteer promotion in the country. After the remarks from the chairperson, UNV, The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO), among others, were awarded for their commitment and contributions to making a better world as well as for raising awareness and campaigning for popular support to volunteerism.
These different activities contributed to raise the profile and recognition of volunteerism, especially among young Rwandans, with the aim of further engaging youth through volunteerism and thereby reinforce their contribution to socio-economic development in Rwanda.
About the Author: Kazushige Tsumita is a UN Youth Volunteer currently serving as a Youth Volunteering and Skills Development Specialist in Rwanda. He is participating in the UNV programme as part of a supplementary partnership with Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan which facilitates the mobilization and pre-departure training of Japanese university students as UN Youth Volunteers.
The mission of Youth Volunteers without Frontiers (YVWF) is to embed the spirit of volunteerism in young people and to enable them to be a resource for community development. By encouraging the youth to volunteer, YVWF believe that this will have a rippling effect on the community. The vision of YVWF is to have a generation of patriotic young people who appreciate the significance of volunteerism and its contribution to development. More information..
This report presents new estimates of the levels and trends in adolescent fertility worldwide from 1990-1995 to 2005-2010. It highlights key social and demographic factors underlying adolescent fertility, including early marriage, first sex, contraceptive use and education. This period coincides with assessments of progress in implementing the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the MDGs, which include a focus on reducing early childbearing, expanding access to reproductive health and investing in the human capital of youth, especially girls.
The Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is holding a launch event of the 2013 World Youth Report: Youth and Migration, to be held on 14 February 2014, from 1:15 to 3:00 p.m., at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, UN Headquarters, New York.
The event will depict the lives of young migrants through different art forms, including poetry, dance, acting, film and music etc. If you are interested in attending the event, please send us your name, organization name and email address to email@example.com before 7 February, 2014.
Admission is free of charge. However, the Focal Point on Youth will not bear any cost incurred in relation to your attendance to this event. Should you need further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Doha Evidence Symposium brings together policy makers and practitioners with academics and researchers to present and discuss the evidence base for “what works” in increasing the employment and productivity of youth in the Middle East and North Africa region as well as other developing regions. The Evidence Symposium is organized by the International Labour Organization in partnership with Silatech, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and the Arab Urban Development Institute.
To attend the Evidence Symposium in Doha (6-8 March 2014); please complete the registration form here.
The first Work4Youth Regional Conference on Labour Market Transitions of Young Women and Men in Sub-Saharan Africa took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 3-4 December 2013. The event brought together Governments’, workers’ and employers’ representatives from the eight sub-Saharan African countries covered by the Work4Youth Project, a global partnership between the ILO and The MasterCard Foundation, as well as senior officials from Ethiopia and observers from regional and international institutions, civil society and development partners. More
The regional conference Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century was the culmination of ICPD review in UNECE region comprising Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Chair’s report highlighted the necessity of incorporating youth perspectives and participation into the development agenda beyond 2014. The report noted the importance of ensuring access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, especially for youth and adolescents, which will enhance the capacity of youth to support families in achieving work-life balance. More
The Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development advocated a focus on investment in education, the provision of decent employment for young persons and the creation of mechanisms to ensure the full participation of youth in areas of leadership and policy formulation. Furthermore, calls were made to ensure the decent and comprehensive provision of sexual and reproductive health services for the region’s youth to ensure that they are sufficiently prepared to meet the challenges of the twenty first century. More
In the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development, itt was highlighted that the improvement of youth economic and social conditions is integral to the region’s development potential and for the wellbeing of future generations. The declaration noted that the challenges of youth unemployment can be addressed through investment in education and developing and implementing strategies and policies that provide young people with access to decent and productive work as a means to ensure sustainable and inclusive development. More
The Cairo Declaration of the Regional Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014 in the Arab States detailed the opportunity available for the region to take advantage of the recent and rapid growth in the youth population. It notes that the current demographic window offers unprecedented potential for sustainable social and economic growth beyond 2014 and called for the full participation and integration of youth into leadership roles and policy formulation. More
The declaration adopted at the African Regional Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014 "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend: The future we want for Africa" called for high-level political commitment and provision of sufficient resources for youth development and employment. Within the declaration, emphasis was placed upon the full integration of youth amongst other groups in decision-making and other leadership positions and the full provision of services including sexual and reproductive health. More
Feeding a child is simple with the World Food Programme’s Hunger Quiz, and you can do it from your home computer. The short, multiple-choice quiz asks five questions about hunger around the world—from the region with the highest number of hungry people (Asia and the Pacific) to the cost of feeding a child for a day (25 US cents). Each time you take it, you provide a warm meal to a child in need. More
It all started with Canadian band, Mindil Beach Markets’ logo: a jellyfish. Using it as a symbol for the health of our world’s oceans, they created The Jellyfish Project - an exciting and innovative way to engage youth in the sustainability movement through the power of live music. Coming off a Canada-wide tour in 2013, the JFP has now reached over 40,000 students across the country.
World Assembly of Youth (WAY) is partnering with the Finnish Association DROM in organizing an International Conference “The Conscience of Europe” dedicated to, and aimed at renewing the multicultural policies in Europe from 18 to 19 March 2014 at the Finish Parliament Annex, in Helsinki, Finland. The expected number of participants in total is approximately 120, of which, 38 are young people from all over the world.
On The European Union has the highest unemployment rate of anywhere in the world apart from the Middle East and North Africa. In 2013, almost a quarter of young people in the EU labour market were unemployed. This report focuses on measures that can be taken to tackle the skills element of the youth unemployment problem and help young people find the jobs that they want and deserve. More
To mark International Volunteer Day, the UNV Field Unit in Bangladesh has published Volunteering for the MDGs in Bangladesh. The colourful booklet provides an overview of UNV’s activities in Bangladesh and relates the country’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals through stories about volunteering. More