Thursday, September 2, 2010

Volunteerism Can Fuel Greater Progress In Achieving the MDGs

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- It has been empirically established that there is great potential in volunteerism alleviating social ills and advancing national development. The impact of volunteerism and its activities result in huge benefits for civil participation and social inclusion. Volunteerism, provides the much needed local solutions to local problems as it ensures the enhancement of the pool of expertise and skills within the country. 
It engages the most valuable assets of our society, .i.e. youths and prepares them to take up their rightful leadership roles. Obviously, one stand- by saying that it can contribute for the advancement of any nation, if the youths are ready to take the challenges and lead. Governments on the other hand, also need to create incentives so as to maintain the scheme.  
United Agencies, Non- Governmental Organisations and Civil Socitey Organisation also have a great role to play in meeting the demands of volunteerism in any nation or to make volunteerism projects succeed. Around the globe, volunteerism has been contributing a huge quota to development, although most often, volunteeers efforts are not given the recognition it deserves. This, should not be the case all the necessity should be put in place for those doing the volunteer works be always happy in the endeavours.  
Volunteerism: You would no doubt agree to the fact that volunteerism in is in two fold to my understanding that is formal and informal and the two are not new to many African countries. Formal volunteerism is when one has gone through the educational process and have the ambition to serve his/her country in the interest of the nation through creating projects for the socio- economic development. And Informal volunteerism one can say that is serving the nation through self works initiatives.  
Creating institutions based on volunteerism can be a better way, and the fastest way for countries to meet the Millennuium Development Goals (MDGs). In meeting the MGDs through volunteerism, youths needs to take part, and in take the leading role as they are the backbone of any nation. Youth volunteerism is an important intervention and would serve as a tool to promote national development, thereby mobilising additional support for realization of many African's countries.  
By doing so, its important for the government to develop what we called National Volunteerism Policy, the policy to looks at legislations for volunteerism, which is essential as it will provide guidance for volunteerism and fair representation of volunteer interests.  
United Nations Agencies also need to support and continue to be associated with initiatives that would continue to support the government and it's relevant institutions for achievement of its development goals. Again the agencies need to be proud of been partners with governments, and even Non Govenmental Organisations that are doing volunteerism. The establishment of a Country Programme Action is also needed, and signing agreement between the government and UN Agencies could be a great move.  
The establishment of National Volunteer Service Centre in many African countries would fuel greater progress towards the implementation of the country's development in meeting the MGDs. Indeed, progress towards the attainment of the MDGs has been mixed, with successes in the provision of potable drinking water (MDGs 7) and reducing maternal mortality rates (MGDs 5).  
However significant challenges remain, most notably in the areas of poverty reduction (MDGs 1), infact mortality (MDGs 4), and gender (MGDs. 3). To address these gaps and ensure that we attain the goals of the MDGs by 2015, it is essential to mobilize human and capital resources thereby establishing a coordinated mechanism that promotes the participation of the citizenry in its own development.  
Relevance of national volunteerism, here I would recalled the words of the former US President, John F Kennedy who rightly stated " Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country". Giving back to communities one's experiences for the purpose of improving lives and upholding people centered development is very essential in this progress.

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