Celebrating International Volunteer Day [Archives:2006/1006/Reportage]

December 11 2006

Nisreen Shadad
“Volunteers are the real inspiration for all of us. Volunteering is about people and beliefs t's about people believing to make a difference. All of us – no matter what our work or spatiality or area of work – can volunteer and make a difference,” says United Nations Resident Coordinator in Yemen Flavia Pansieri.

The panel at the Dec. 5 International Volunteer Day conference discussed volunteerism and its contribution to development. The event aimed to be a turning point in promoting volunteerism in Yemen and worldwide.

“Today is an initiative to all members of Yemeni civil society to admit the importance of the volunteer role in achieving Millennium Development Goals. In the early 1990s, Yemen had the biggest volunteer program and the largest number of volunteers in the Arab world. However, the number of volunteers is decreasing. We want this day to be a turning point in promoting volunteerism in Yemen and worldwide,” says U.N. Volunteers Program officer Kawtar Zerouali.

Celebrating the day afforded an important opportunity for organizations benefiting from the experience of volunteers, as well as individual volunteers, to gather with one voice to highlight and promote their contributions to economic and social development at both national and international levels.

Contributing to volunteer work ennobles men and women and promotes their society. “Volunteer work is vital and important to develop our society and broaden our horizons because it furnishes society with needed skills,” says Tariq Abulhoom Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of Science and Technology, “It activates and energizes Yemeni youths, who actually are aware of the dimension of society's problems and how to control them. It helps volunteers gain experience and invest their free time in a very productive way.”

Both national and international volunteer programs play an important role in promoting volunteerism. Yemen's U.N. Volunteers Program and the Charitable Society for Social Welfare program served as models at the conference.

“It's a very effective and essential means to achieve Millennium Development Goals and requires the involvement of all people. We all individually – and civil society organizations in particular – have an important role to play in the country's development.” Pansieri stated.

“”In this respect