Every year, on December 5th, we celebrate International Volunteer Day. It is a day set aside to honour the contributions made by volunteers to the improvement of their communities’ societies, economy, and environments. On this particular day, members of the public pay attention to topics that are important to them in their communities.
It is not enough to convince individuals to donate their time for a single day; rather, the objective is to alter people’s mentalities, attitudes, and behaviours in such a way that they become agents of change and collaborate with others to create a better world. In this world, the concept of sustainable human growth and a spirit of equality serve as the foundation for all relationships between individuals.
More About International Volunteer Day
International Volunteer Day (IVD), also known as the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development (5 December), is a global commemoration that was established by the UN General Assembly in 1985. It provides an opportunity for organisations that involve volunteers and individual volunteers to encourage governments to support volunteer efforts, promote volunteerism, and acknowledge volunteer contributions to the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national, and international levels.
Numerous non-governmental groups, civic society, and the commercial sector among others all participate in International Volunteer Day celebrations. Additionally, it is acknowledged and sponsored by the UNV programme. Every year, UNV conducts a campaign to raise awareness of IVD, building on the positive effects volunteers have locally, nationally, and internationally for peace and development. In 2018, IVD will not only celebrate volunteering in all of its forms, but will also emphasise the crucial part that volunteers play in creating resilient communities.
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More than 100 Million Volunteers
It is important to note that according to recent estimates, there are 109 million full-time employees who work as volunteers worldwide. 70% of volunteering happens through informal interactions between people, with the remaining 30% taking place formally through organisations, associations, and groups. Women make about 60% of all unpaid volunteers overall.
In order to recognise and support the spirit of volunteerism in order to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for everyone – people and planet – UNV collaborated with UN agencies, partners, Member States, and governments throughout the world for IVD 2021 celebrations. Therefore, “Volunteer today for our common future” is the campaign’s slogan.
First Appearance of Volunteering
In mediaeval Europe, where caring for the sick and religion coexisted, volunteerism first appeared. In nations like England, hundreds of hospitals run by churches provided care for lepers and plague victims. By the 18th century, volunteering was more about participating in the military than it was about helping the community. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, organised volunteering as we know it today really took off.
Organizations like the Red Cross, Lions Club, Rotary Club, and YMCA began to raise funds, organise volunteers, and carry out charitable and community service projects. During the Revolutionary Wars, volunteerism first emerged in the United States. Instead of the traditional faith-based charity work seen in other parts of the world, it was more about everyday people demonstrating their love for their country and aiding the war effort.
The Second Great Awakening, a religious revival that occurred in the 1820s, motivated many common Americans to get involved in resolving social problems. Among the volunteer organisations that stepped up at this time were the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the United Way. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters proliferated in the United States after the Great Depression of the 1930s.
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United Nations Volunteers Programme Manage International Volunteer Day Since 1985
International Volunteer Day is observed annually on December 5 and is managed by the United Nations Volunteers Programme since 1985. In order to raise awareness of the value of volunteerism in fostering a sense of community and a sense of nation, they have collaborated with academic institutions, corporate entities, government agencies, civil society organizations, and non-profits. One of the key strategies for creating a world that is both peaceful and sustainable continues to be volunteering. The goal of this holiday is to engage as many people as possible in volunteer and community service.
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How you can Participate in International Volunteer Day
Contribute to a volunteer group
Donations support the functioning of volunteer organisations. On International Volunteer Day, consider making a donation to provide critical services to frontline workers and vulnerable groups.
Participate in volunteer activities
Participate actively in community volunteering. To spread awareness and encourage others to volunteer as well, feel free to post images or videos of your work online using the hashtag #VolunteerNow.
The World Volunteerism Report can be read.
The United Nations publishes the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (S.W.V.R.) every three years. It tracks global volunteer efforts and the benefits their contributions bring.
International Volunteer Day Importance
Improving the future
Supporting an important cause today contributes to creating a better world tomorrow. Building schools, protecting the environment, and teaching young people useful skills all contribute to a better future and set an example for coming generations.
Enduring remedies for world issues
No one has all the answers, but when we tackle the world’s issues collectively, we have a better chance of finding long-term solutions. As a result of their greater inclusivity and focus on the needs of individuals, the public’s solutions are more likely to be long-term viable when they involve them in the problem-solving process.
Motivating other people to volunteer
People are inspired to volunteer when they realise how much volunteering affects their community, economy, and environment. Ordinary people are motivated to participate in the activities on International Volunteer Day by being made aware of pressing concerns and shown how others’ actions have improved matters.
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