PORT OF SPAIN, 1 December 2011 :Each year on 5 December, millions of volunteers across the globe unite to celebrate their contribution to development on the occasion of International Volunteer Day (IVD). This year’s celebrations will take place under the motto of ‘Volunteering Matters’ and highlight the fact that people from all walks of life can have an extraordinary impact on development and peace.
There are many examples for such ipact. In Nepal, nearly 50,000 female community health volunteers, supported by UNICEF, UNFPA, USAID, and the Gates Foundation, have helped cut child mortality by two- thirds over the past fifteen years. Japanese Red Cross volunteers played an indispensable role in dealing with the aftermath of the terrible earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. UN Volunteers form a significant part of UN peacekeeping missions, making up around one third of the international civilian staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Liberia, and elsewhere.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the UNV Field Unit with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has joined forces with the Pride in Gonzales Project in Belmont to showcase the numerous volunteer efforts in the community through the symbolic Planting of a Peace Pole on Sunday, the 4th December 2011 from 3:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Dr. Jens-Ulrich Poppen, UNV Programme Officer at UNDP stressed the hugely important contribution that the volunteers involved in the Gonzales Action Committee are making towards peaceful resolution of conflicts, skills-development, counselling and the constructive engagement of young people in after-school activities, something that has a direct impact on the levels of intra- and inter-communal violence and on the development of positive attitudes among residents.
“We are celebrating people in the community that have made a tremendous difference for the quality of life in their neighbourhood”, Poppen added, “every day heroes who feel responsible for what goes on out there in their community, who are not asking for remuneration, rewards and glory but who simply care about their nextdoor neighbour and who are concerned about the well-being and security of their fellow citizens.
On Sunday, the main IVD activity will be the placement of a Peace Pole in Gonzales and the sharing by volunteers of their experiences and achievements in community development. Representatives of community organisations that jointly form the Gonzales Action Committee will address the audience, and musical entertainment will be provided by Sheiker’s Steelband. IVD will also mark the official end of this year’s anniversary campaign of the International Year of the Volunteer (IYV+10) while at the same time providing the launch pad for the State of the World Volunteerism Report (SWVR).
About the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers
Volunteering empowers change from the grassroots up, especially when enabled by strong partnerships at every level. It is 10 years since the International Year of Volunteers, and the United Nations has called for this anniversary to be marked across the planet. The partners’ aims are to promote and recognize volunteering’s positive impact on peace and development, to reinforce volunteering networks, and to help all people make a difference through volunteering. www.worldvolunteerweb.org
About the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme
UNV is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. www.unvolunteers.org
For more details, visit the UNV Trinidad and Tobago Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/UNVTT or by visiting the UNV Webpage at
Contact information in Trinidad:
Dr. Jens-Ulrich Poppen, UNV Programme Officer
Tel (868)623 7056 ext 223