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United Nations Volunteers and civil society mark International Volunteer Day » 05/12/2008
TIRANA - 5 December 2008 - In commemoration of International Volunteer Day, United Nations Volunteers and its partners organized the roundtable Volunteerism for Development and Integration at the Tirana International Hotel in Tirana.
Representatives from central and local government, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Volunteer (UNV), civil society and academia participated in the event that featured presentations and an open forum. The aim of the roundtable was to explore best practices and challenges encountered in engaging volunteers in community work in Albania.
Ms. Vibeke Risa, UNDP Deputy Country Director in Albania opened proceedings presenting an overview of the important role volunteers can play in the development process. Subsequent presentations went on to explore successful case-studies of volunteer mobilization in community work through volunteerism, including a volunteer scheme managed jointly by the Municipality of Tirana and New York University of Tirana.
As part of the roundtable, the preliminary findings of recent UNV research into the challenges and opportunities for young people to volunteer in Albania was presented and discussed. Following the roundtable agreement was reached on several key recommendations to further volunteerism nationally. These included the incorporation of a volunteer component within the school curriculum and the advancement of legislation to consolidate volunteerism through the appointment of a government focal point to over-see future volunteer initiatives.
In addition, a volunteer fair was organized to promote youth volunteerism and provide practical advice on volunteer opportunities in the country. United Nations Volunteers together with several volunteer-involving non-governmental organisations showcased their work and were on hand to answer questions from young people. While relaying practical information and advice, the event was also an opportunity to celebrate International Volunteer Day with free drinks and live music.
Participating organisations included; PVN, International Social Services, Red Cross Albania, Mjaft!, WUS Austria, Vodafone Foundation, Rromani Baxt, TAMAM Albania, Tirana Legal Aid Services and Walk Together. While sensitizing young people to the importance of volunteerism and active participation in community life, the event gave participating institutions the opportunity to network and exchange experiences of volunteer mobilization. United Nations Volunteers would like to thank Club Seven, Agua Group, IDI Electronic and Erjon Lleshi for their kind support on the day.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the focal point for volunteerism in the United Nations. UNV advocates for the benefits of civic engagement and integrates volunteerism into development planning and participation in development and mobilizing communities. UNV has been active in Albania since 2001, tapping into the growing potential for working with civil society and the Government in promoting volunteerism for development in the country. During this time, UNV Albania has posted more than 40 international and more than 25 national volunteers to work on development projects.
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