March 3, 2024, 3:37 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-12-05 18:00:41 BdST

International Volunteer DayVolunteering - The Power of Everyone

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Bangladesh celebrated International Volunteer Day (IVD) 2023 under the theme "If Everyone Did."

The theme underscores the collective power of individuals, urging everyone to engage in voluntary acts for the greater good.

IVD was observed on Tuesday, (5 Dec), through a virtual event that brought together Government Officials, UN partners, Volunteer Involving Organization, Civil Society organization, academia, youth-led organization, and volunteers across Bangladesh.

Md. Kamrul Hasan, Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

Speaking on the occasion, Hasan stated that “International Volunteer Day is a testament to the remarkable contributions of volunteers in promoting economic and social development. It is a day to recognize the selfless efforts of volunteers and their role in shaping a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous world.”

Ms. Gwyn Lewis, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, in her speech, applauded the invaluable contributions of all UN volunteers. Ms. Gwyn said “In celebration of IVD, let us commit to embrace the spirit, take charge, and do our individual acts of volunteerism. Let us be hopeful for the rewards that it would bring to the world, to all of us!”

Through a video message, Toily Kurbanov, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme said ‘Today I say to all volunteers around the globe: Thank you. For choosing to improve the world. For finding inspiration to act. For creating solutions. For keeping our hopes alive. And to the world, our message is: Imagine what we could achieve if all joined in. And volunteered.’

Christian Hainzl, UNV Regional Manager for Asia and the Pacific who joined the event virtually noted ‘Volunteering is not just an act of kindness; it is a catalyst for change. It is a force that transcends boundaries, unites communities, and empowers individuals.’

There are more than a billion volunteers globally, and half of them are in Asia and the Pacific region. They act for solidarity and humanity for people and the planet. Since the beginning of 2023, more than 180 UN Volunteers have contributed to the work of the United Nations in Bangladesh, helping to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals in the country.

They are helping to ensure good health and well-being, child and maternal health care, access to primary education, promoting gender equality, helping to uphold democracy and peace, taking actions for climate resilience, and supporting poverty alleviation initiatives, among others.

Ms. Sonia Mehzabeen, Country Coordinator, UNV Bangladesh, in her presentation highlighted the significance of International Volunteer Day and apprised the audience on the volunteering initiatives taken by the UN Volunteers in commemoration of the theme of this year.

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