International Volunteer Day 2022: A time for solidarity through volunteering

On 5 December 2022 at 04:00

Each year, on 5th December, the World celebrates the value and impact of volunteers in making the world a better place to live in. This year’s International Volunteer Day is marked under the theme ‘"solidarity through volunteerism’’. This theme was drawn from an appreciation of the multiple crises that the world is facing today as is highlighted in the 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Report and the opportunities and ambition that have been evident to combat those cascading and interlinked crises.

The latest estimate shows that more than one billion people around the world volunteer their time, skills, and experience to help improve the communities they live in. The impact of climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, together with political and economic shocks around the world, highlight the challenges facing many people and communities in their daily lives.

“On International Volunteer Day, we pay tribute to volunteers across the globe,” said Toily Kurbanov, Executive Coordinator of UN Volunteer Programme. “Their time, efforts and passion make a positive impact on people’s lives and help address the planet’s most challenging issues. On behalf of everyone at the UN and elsewhere, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for their ongoing commitment,” he added

The UN General Assembly resolution (A/RES/57/106), co-sponsored by 142 Member States and adopted on 26 November 2002, calls upon stakeholders to support volunteerism as a strategic tool to enhance economic and social development. As of today, 78 United Nations Volunteers in Rwanda serve support 14 UN agencies towards Development Programs to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The Government o Rwanda is recognized for incorporating volunteer services in the national planning process and establishing a national coordination framework to effectively harness the national and international volunteer resources at the country’s disposal.

Volunteerism in Rwanda is exercised through the provision of services to the community such as Umuganda, Ubudehe, Umusanzu (Communal self-help activities based on solidarity), Abunzi, local government councils (Njyanama), Gacaca judges, electoral commission agents, community health workers (abajyanama b’ubuzima) and traditional birth attendants among others.

"I commend the Government of Rwanda for being recognized as an excellent example of volunteerism, including traditional forms of mutual aid and self-help, formal service delivery and other forms of civic participation, in economic and social development, benefiting society at large and communities. I would like to welcome the work of volunteers and request them to continue their efforts,’’ Odette Bagitengire, the UNV Programme Country Coordinator.

To mark the 2022 International Volunteer Day, the One UN Rwanda joined the Government of Rwanda, partners and the community of Gicumbi District in the "umuganda’’ activity held in the Gicumbi District, Byumba sector, Gisuna Cell, Rwiri village where they participated in erosion control activities (kurwanya isuri).