UNV Kenya Marks 2016 International Volunteer Day
The 2016 International Volunteer Day (IVD) theme #GlobalApplause – give volunteers a hand, recognized volunteers worldwide and all they do in making peace and sustainable development a reality.
The IVD Celebrations in Kenya were organized in partnership with the Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection and coordinated by Office of the Deputy President. In February 2016, Kenya’s Cabinet approved the implementation of the national Volunteerism Policy, recognizing all forms of volunteerism in the country. The policy was drafted with significant support from UNV Kenya in a bid to ensure that the country has a more technical and organized way of conducting volunteerism.
As a result, the Ministry developed a Cabinet Memo that was approved in October 2016, requesting Kenyans from all walks of life to willingly devote time and resources to volunteer to the communities around them, with a call for nation-wide volunteer engagement during the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5th December 2016.
In this context, and in line with the 2016 IVD theme, UNV Kenya participated in three major integrated activities in addition to supporting other government activities.
Between 28th November and 5th December, UNV ran the #GlobalApplause campaign in Kenya that saw UN Volunteers, wearing the #GlobalApplause T-shirts, “meet and greet” their colleagues, agency heads, supervisors among other people to demonstrate their support for volunteerism by wearing an IVD Sticker and performing a #GlobalApplause sign. The campaign was quite successful with the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Kenya doing a tweet that went viral: “With volunteers @UNVKenya. They work tirelessly everyday to make a difference & advance humanity. An honor to serve with them”
As a run up to the IVD on 3rd December 2016, UNV Kenya also organized a field monitoring mission to Kwale County and participated in the national event for marking the International Day for Persons with Disability (IDPD 2016). UNV Kenya worked with stakeholders to increase the recognition of the role of volunteer in tackling issues of persons with disability. UNV Kenya also used the opportunity to engage UNDP Kenya on increasing programme support on social inclusion issues through volunteerism.
On 5th December, UNV Kenya participated in a community tree planting activity at an Earth Dam in Makueni County on the invitation of the County Government of Makueni. UNV Kenya to launched a series of media appearances on National Television and Newspapers. On 5th December morning, UNV Kenya Programme Officer, Mr. Dimitri Lermytte, appeared with two UN Volunteers on the Kenya National Television Network (KTN), a premier national Television Station in Kenya for an interview on volunteerism and UNV programme. The two volunteers, Mr. Andrew Onyango, a national UN Volunteer managing social media communication for Kenya’s Electoral Commission in the lead up to the 2017 General Elections and Mr. Abraham Maker, working for UNICEF as a communications and development officer.
“The culture of volunteerism is increasingly getting appreciated in Makueni County’ noted Prof Kivutha Kibwana, the Governor of Makueni County, while speaking during the ceremony even as he urged stakeholders to work closer together to build the structures needed to encourage and support volunteers in their efforts in supporting development activities. He thanked the UNV Kenya programme and UNDP Kenya for their support through deployment of Ms. Catherine Ngave, a national UN Volunteer for statistics, in his County Government, and reiterated the County’s commitment to continued partnerships in promoting volunteerism. As an honor to volunteers across the country, the Governor asked the event participants to stand and give a round of applause in line with this year’s theme. Mr. Kevin Ochieng, UNV Kenya Programme Support Officer, read the message from the UNV Executive Coordinator on behalf of the UNV Programme Officer. He emphasized the call by the UN Executive Coordinator that “This year, we give volunteers a round of #GlobalApplause in recognition of their commitment, dedication and passion”.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Kenya, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, also penned an OP-ED in Thomson Reuters, ending with a passionate message on how “Volunteerism can be a powerful wind in our sails as we seek to achieve the SDGs and advance human development in Kenya”. UNV Kenya also submitted success stories from seven young UN Volunteers to the Daily Nation, Kenya’s main national Newspaper, for publication in a feature called “My Network” on 9th December 2016 targeting young Kenyans.
Other Government activities that UNV Kenya supported were the launch of the national Volunteerism Policy by Kenya’s Deputy President on 5th December in Garissa and a public Forum hosted by the County Government of Makueni.