HUYE- The International Volunteer Day in Rwanda was celebrated, on Sunday, with youth from Huye district and volunteers from various local and international organisations committing to playing a role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Dr Amata Diabate, delivering a message from the United Nations Volunteers executive coordinator, stressed the role of volunteers in addressing issues like peace and development, ending hunger, improving healthcare, gender inequality and dealing with the impact of climate change.
“Volunteers do not wait for others to solve problems, they engage and play an essential role as active citizens in shaping their societies,” Diabate told the enthusiastic youth many of whom undergoing civic education training (Itorero).
This year’s International Volunteers Day was celebrated under the theme: ‘Share the Story.’
This year, the UN Volunteers used social media to engage in global online discussions focussed on how their activities can contribute to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
The day was also marked by celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Volunteer programme.
Edward Kalisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, observed that the spirit of volunteerism is not new in Rwanda, adding that much of what the country has achieved regarding attaining MDGs is attributed to the volunteerism spirit that Rwandans are characterised for.
“We have made progress in reducing child mortality and improving maternal health because of the volunteerism from community health mobilisers, this is the spirit that we ought to carry on as youth if we are to achieve the MDG’s targets,” he said.
Jean Rene Shema, the National Volunteering Programme Manager at Voluntary Services Overseas Rwanda, said that voluntary works will continue in the country until next year.
More than 3,000 trees were planted during the event.
The Volunteer Day was set by the United Nations in 1985 to recognise the contribution of volunteers in their respective communities.