From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone Celebrates International Volunteer Day
By Augustine Samba
Dec 9, 2010, 17:08

Sierra Leonean volunteers on Monday 6th December 2010 joined their counterparts and stakeholders the world over to celebrate the International Volunteering Day on the theme ‘Volunteering for the MDGs’. The ceremony was organized by the Volunteer Involving Organization Network (VIONET), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In her statement, the UNDP Country Director, Mia Seppo, said there were over 80 million young people in Africa that lacked beneficial employment according to UNFPA statistics. She said this number can be merged to volunteers.  He informed that in Sierra Leone alone there are over ten thousand people who are members of VIONET and anybody who is above 18 years can also volunteer to serve the world by delivering service.

She disclosed that the services of volunteers are free although in some cases they receive transportation allowances and other benefits but not salary. Further, she requested VIONET members to have a national volunteering policy that would provide opportunity for young people, the old, urban and rural women to selflessly volunteer their time, efforts, talents, energies and other resources in order to reduce and hopefully eradicate poverty at community and national levels.

She also read out the statement by the United Nations Secretary General to mark the day that hinged on appeals and recognition of the efforts of volunteers around the world. The statement disclosed that the act of volunteerism was establishment by the UN over 40 years ago, and those who have been recruited into the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme since then have contributed greatly.

The Secretary General’s message went on to say that there has been strong growth in volunteerism in recent years with the advent of technology. It was revealed that volunteers have helped individuals and citizens and celebrating the day would encourage volunteers to improve on their free service to people around the world.

Victor Massaquoi from the volunteering service overseas said volunteers were contributory to the peace and development of the world which he said has helped to enhance the MDGs. He informed that national volunteers with support from governments can also help to develop communities as well as societies around the world.

A parade from the Youyi Building to the Atlantic Hall in the National Stadium formed part of the ceremony.

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