A Call for a Hand as Volunteers in Malawi Celebrate International Volunteer Day

Dec 5, 2016

UN Volunteers in Malawi

Volunteers in Malawi celebrated the 2016 International Volunteer Day (IVD) with a passionate call to applaud and recognise the incredible work volunteers do to create a better world for all.

The 2016 IVD celebrations took place at the Children of the Nations (COTN), a non-profit organization that assists destitute children and orphans by providing clothing, food, education and other support on the outskirts of Lilongwe City.

The theme of the celebration was; #GlobalApplause: Give Volunteers a Hand.

The Chief Director in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Mr. McDavis Chiluzi said volunteers should be proud of their work, saying government understands that most volunteers work under difficult conditions with limited financial and material resources.

“Despite the financial constraints they face, volunteers work to serve others. They demonstrate a spirit of community service, people centredness and commitment to their work,” said Mr. Chiluzi.

He called on those interested in volunteerism to come forward and further asked all relevant stakeholders to give a hand to volunteers as a show of appreciation for their work.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Mia Seppo applauded the work of volunteers.

“More than one billion people globally volunteer, internationally and in their own communities, driven by a deep commitment to making the world a better place, for all,” she said, adding that volunteers promote social inclusion, innovation and participation in development work.

“Some people want to become volunteers but they do not know how to go about it,” said Ms. Seppo, calling on government to put in place mechanisms that would allow volunteers to know the processes on how they can volunteer in development work.

Director of Makwelero Youth Organisation in Lilongwe, Patience Silungwe said not only does the work of a volunteer benefit the community and the people served, but also the volunteers themselves.

“I have grown in character and in skill. For one year I have worked as a volunteer, I can proudly say that I have gained the requisite experience worth putting on my CV (Curriculum Vitae),” said Silungwe, encouraging young people to venture into voluntary work as a way to gain relevant skills for the job market.

Ben Twinomugisha, a UN volunteer working as Programme Analyst for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction with the United Nations Development Programme said his work as a volunteer is fulfilling because at the end of the day, it helps communities become resilient to shocks.

Children of the Nations Chairperson, Smile Namagonya said his institution is testament to the work of volunteers who dedicate their energies and time to make the lives of others better.

“Every year, 50 volunteers come to the institution to assist those in need. We have three young ladies who have gone through COTN who are working as volunteer teachers in Sierra Leon,” he said.

During the celebration, students from various schools participated in pep talks focusing on climate change and environment, career choices and making recycled menstrual pads for adolescent girls. The volunteers also led students in the tree planting exercise as a way of inculcating a spirit of volunteerism in the youth for the common good.

Volunteers from different organisations that included UNVolunteers, CORP Africa, World University of Canada (WUSC), Peace Corps, VSO, Progressio, National Youth Council of Malawi and other institutions mobilized bags of maize, recreational materials, books, clothes and other materials which were donated to COTN.

The International Volunteers Day provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the incredible work of volunteers all over the world, while inspiring a new generation of volunteers to join them in acting for peace and development.