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The 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers in Cambodia
Submitted by admin on 5 January 2012 - 8:41am
As 2011 and therewith also the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers(IYV+10) has come to an end, it is time to summarize the achievements of the year and time for the UNV field unit in Cambodia to express its gratitude to many partners.
Without the shadow of a doubt, we can say that this year has been a great and productive one for UNV Cambodia.
We organized, for example, a series of sessions at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC) on Volunteerism and Gender-Based Violence during which the students reflected on the benefits and added value of involving volunteers in combatting gender-based violence, as well as a Workshop on Development Effectiveness and Volunteerism in preparation of the General Assembly of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness.
The largest event of the year was the first (ever!) National Forum on Volunteerism organized in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) and VolCam members, the lasting impact of which we will ensure through the continuous usage of its outcome recommendations. The Forum participants included a variety of stakeholders, who all very much appreciated the opportunity to learn from each other, exchange ideas and reflect on volunteerism in Cambodia. The recommendations will continue to serve as an important advocacy tool, strengthened through their recent approval by the National Committee on Volunteerism and IYV+10.
The establishment of the mentioned committee was a very important step towards ensuring the efficient coordination of actions for volunteerism in Cambodia. It serves as a forum for dialogue, makes recommendations on high level strategic and policy matters regarding volunteerism and will continue its meetings on a regular basis. Following the examples from other countries and learning the best practices from Asia after having participated in the regional IYV+10 meeting in Manila (May 2011), Cambodia set up the Committee to coordinate and guide the work on promoting the spirit of volunteerism and celebrating IYV+10.
In commemorating International Volunteer Day (IVD) 2011, UNV joined forces with other VolCam members in organizing a series of events throughout Cambodia. While the day was marked in Phnom Penh with a casual gathering of volunteers, accompanied by inspiring speeches and a film on “volontourism”; more hands- on activities were organized in several provinces. The events organized in five provinces aimed to showcase the broad range of skills and experience that volunteers bring to all aspects of Cambodia’s development: from advocating against child labour; to hands-on flood assistance; to clean-up projects and workshops for teachers. We are especially proud of our volunteers in Siem Reap, who used this occasion for the development and launch of a large-scale campaign against child labour called “Think Twice”.
Furthermore, on December 8, UNV launched the first State of the World’s Volunteerism report in Cambodia with support from its headquarters. The event was attended by members of the National Committee and of VolCam as well as by some of our volunteers and partners from UN agencies, which led to a fruitful discussion about the report’s relevance to and impact on the volunteering landscape in Cambodia.
Besides organizing all the above mentioned activities, naturally, the field unit placed and supported UN Volunteers throughout the year.
A highlight was the annual retreat in Mondulkiri Province in May, where the volunteers had a possibility to discuss their assignments including benefits and challenges. They, moreover, witnessed and participated in the daily lives of indigenous people and reflected on the improvement of their inclusion into development programmes.
In 2011, 36 international and national UN Volunteers contributed to Cambodia’s development in 9 UN agencies as well as with and in ministries, applying their expertise and many years of experience. We have also greatly benefitted from the help of online volunteers, without whom we would not have this website and who designed inspiring and professional promotional materials.
The UN Volunteers worked (and continue to do so) in communications and advocacy, on improving governance and human rights, on gender issues, poverty reduction, labour rights, refugee protection, food security, social protection and social policy, climate change, aid effectiveness and volunteerism. All of them contribute to Cambodia's capacity building and to peace and development in the kingdom of wonders.
By virtue of all the above described, we have built partnerships that promise to last; within VolCam as well as with UN agencies, government counterparts and the private sector. Our sincere thanks go to all of our partners.
Most importantly however, we would like to thank our amazing volunteers for the invaluable work they do every day.
You make the best team and truly demonstrate what “inspiration in action” means!
We are confident that 2012 will be just as filled with exciting events and projects!
The UNV field unit team