Youth participants at the IVD celebration

“Young Global Active”

To recognize young people as agents of change in their communities, the International Volunteers Day (IVD) themed “Young Global Active” was celebrated at the Clock Tower Square in Thimphu on Thursday.

The IVD 2013 highlights the contributions of youth volunteers working towards global peace and sustainable development.

The event was celebrated with series of programs including cultural programs, speeches by international and national volunteers.

UN Resident Representative Christina Carlson said, “Volunteerism is a powerful tool for maximizing the potential of youth and transforming society.”

She added, “Youth today are faced with many significant challenges, such as poverty, unemployment and lack of access to education or other social services.”

Carlson defines volunteerism as an enormous reservoir of skills, energy and local knowledge for peace and development. Voluntary work has actual monetary value, which is not reflected in GDP. In Bhutan, voluntary work has been estimated to be worth as least Nu 320mn each year.

“Compassion, solidarity, and reciprocity are core values of volunteerism,” Carlson said.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) recognizes five reasons to volunteer as to become happier whereby, serving others and contributing to public good makes one feel rewarded, stronger and more energetic. UNV advocates for volunteerism, integrates volunteerism into development planning and mobilizes volunteers. Every year about 8,000 qualified and experienced women and men of around 160 nationalities serve as UN Volunteers in some 130 countries. In 2012, nearly a thousand of these UN Volunteers were under the age of 29.

In Bhutan, the first volunteers arrived in March 2013 to help enhance the capacity in the health and education sectors of the government.

This year, UNDP and United Nations Volunteers have chosen to highlight the contributions of youth volunteers. There are 1.2 billion young people in the world, of which more than 80% live in developing countries. In Bhutan, almost half of the population is under the age of 25.

Currently, there are 10 Bhutanese nationals serving as international UNVs in Nepal, Liberia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Western Sahara, and Uganda.

Every year on December 5, millions of volunteers around the world celebrate the IVD. The day was designated by the UN in 1985 as an opportunity to promote the power and potential of volunteerism to further peace and development worldwide.

The event was co-organized by Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, Bhutan GNH Youth, Bhutan Kidney Foundation, Bhutan Youth Foundation, Community Based Scouting, Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Go Youth Go, Harmony Youth Support Group, RENEW DAISAN, Secretariat for the New Development Paradigm, Tarayana Foundation, Youth Development Fund, Y-VIA and Y-PEER. The event was coordinated by UN Volunteers and it was supported by Australian Volunteers.

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