International Volunteer Day (IVD) on December 5 is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985.
It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions – at local, national and international levels – to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). December 5th, 2014 marks a year since the inception of the Ghana Volunteer Program.
This was created by the GhanaThink Foundation after the successful first edition of the first National Volunteer Day (NVDay) 21st September, 2013. The NVDay Initiative was to get as many people as possible in Ghana to volunteer their time or do community service on the Founder’s Day Holiday(September 21).
Volunteerism is not very popular and part of our society’s fabric. National Volunteer Day aimed at its inception to increase these numbers and unify efforts in volunteerism in Ghana. The Ghana Volunteer Program has rolled out and partnered several volunteer activities with the aim of ensuring the spirit of volunteerism is cultivated amongst most Ghanaians especially the youth.
The NVDay team with the help of various GhanaThink members approached many organizations who have volunteer events and encourage them to organize something on September 21st every year.
Some of partner organizations like Utopia’s Wishlist were very interested and planned activities. On September 21 2013, about 40 activities with about 300 volunteers happened. There was a lot of online and offline engagement and publicity for these activities. Reactions and feedback were captured via Storify.
The focus of the programme at present is to acquire volunteers for volunteer opportunities around Ghana. GVP also helps volunteer activity organizers find volunteers. This program seeks to encourage volunteerism in Ghana, and to market and make attractive volunteer activities. In furtherance of this focus, in 2014, GVP sourced for Volunteers for three events namely: Dain Agribusiness Workshop, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Lifebuoy Global Handwashing day.
The second National Volunteer Day spanned across from 20th – 22nd September. Volunteers used the holiday and weekend to create, support and join volunteer activities. Many people joined to volunteer in GH for NVDay14. About 80 activities were documented, in 8 of our 10 regions and this involved 1,022 volunteers. There was a lot of online and offline engagement and publicity before, during and after these activities. Reactions and feedback were captured via Storify.
On the occasion of 2014’s International Volunteer Day, the GVP team engages the media all over Ghana discussing the work done so far under the program and what the future plans are for our nation. Through these engagements, we will encourage more people to do community service within Ghana. The GVP lead, Eleanor Asare commented: “The volunteer spirit is the same our founding fathers engendered within our citizenry. We would be cherishing the ideals of founding Ghana and joining a national effort to work for Ghana”. Volunteering demonstrates initiative and hard work, two ideals that many organizations look for while hiring. The GVP team and all of GhanaThink believes that by volunteering, volunteers would be building their CVs and experience.
We envisage that Ghana will be developed through volunteerism, that is why we say at Ghana Volunteer Program that VOLUNTEERISM IS THE HEART OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.