A successful introductory workshop by UNDP, UNV and Kuwait’s Ministry of State for the YouthMay 9, 2018
UNDERSTANDING OF VOLUNTEERISM FOR DEVELOPMENT
The UNDP Kuwait, in collaboration with the regional office of UN Volunteerism in Amman, Jordan, held a successful 3-day training in Kuwait during 7-9 May, 2018 on the Contribution of Volunteerism to Development, as part of the capacity building component of the UNDP “Youth Empowerment in Kuwait” project. Participants represented various local government and non-government organizations who have experience in volunteer work inside and outside Kuwait.
Trainees were introduced to UNV programme which was established in 1971 by the UN General Assembly as a development partner for the UN system, being the focal point for volunteerism within the UN and is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNV operates in around 130 countries with field presence in over 60 countries, and that is based in Bonn, Germany with regional offices in Amman, Bangkok, Dakar, Nairobi and Panama City.
The participants shared their experiences overseeing volunteering activities at several government ministries, mainly for the Youth, education, health, as well as at non-profit organizations. The participatory approach to training allowed trainees to share their personal experiences in volunteer work, locally and internationally, presenting case studies while highlighting lessons learned and challenges facing volunteer work.
The workshop emphasized the importance of volunteerism in contributing to peace and development and referred to the commemoration of H.H. the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who was named in 2014 by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a “Humanitarian Leader” and that Kuwait has played an "exemplary humanitarian leadership role" in the support of humanitarian operations in nations in crisis around the world.
Kuwait, since its independence and on becoming a UN member, has been steadily extending humanitarian assistance to all needy countries in pursuing a long time commitment to international partnership and continues to do so following the country’s long term plan, “New Kuwait 2035”, and its commitment to the localization of its national development plan with UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Elaborating on the pivotal role of volunteers, Robert Swinkel, Programme Analyst, Volunteer Advisory Services, UNV RO Amman, said “working as a volunteer you are a catalyst of change,” adding that “in the post-2015 Agenda for SDG, volunteers have become a vehicle to deliver development work.”
Group discussions among trainees, which was facilitated by Narendra Mishra, Programme Specialist, UNV HQ Bonn, have proved most productive. Trainees, working in groups, discussed the main activities that volunteers have been involved in, common themes and stories about changes and the role of volunteers, the role the volunteers play, the main beneficiaries they often serve, the types of changes that occur as a direct result of the volunteer work, and how significant the change was and the difference or overall contribution that it has made. Volunteers recognized how their work has connected and helped achieve development results. The group discussions also addressed factors that help or hinder volunteering contributions and highlighted how volunteerism added value of national growth and development efforts, and how volunteerism needs to be supported by policies and legislations was a spot on as it emphasized the significance of volunteer work for sustainable development efforts.
The training was successfully concluded by outlining the steps for future volunteering engagement, partnering with other volunteer groups locally, regionally and internationally, aligning volunteerism with Kuwait’s development agenda and to the global SDGs, and highlighting the need to become productive volunteers not only on the ground but also by providing volunteer services online.
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