International Volunteer Day (IVD) is a chance for individual volunteers, communities and organizations to promote their contributions at the local, national and international levels. By combining UN support with a grassroots mandate, International Volunteer Day is a unique opportunity for people and volunteer-involving organizations to work with government agencies, non-profit institutions, community groups, academia, and the private sector.
The International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution A/RES/40/212 on December 17, 1985. Since then, governments, the UN system, and civil society organizations have successfully joined volunteers around the world to celebrate the day on December 5. It urges them to take measures to heighten awareness of the important contribution of volunteers, thereby stimulating more people in all walks of life to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad.
Through the years, International Volunteer Day has been used strategically. It focuses on volunteers’ contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, a set of time-bound targets to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women.
Over the last months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, volunteers have been at the forefront of medical, community and societal responses. Headlines in the world’s media have paid credit to volunteers for all kinds of work, from helping to provide medical care, to doing shopping for vulnerable neighbors, or checking up on elderly people living alone.
The COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan by the WHO, identifies volunteers as key stakeholders for risk communication and community engagement. This indicates the value that the WHO believes volunteers contribute during COVID-19.
This year's IVD campaign thanks volunteers worldwide and also sheds light on the difficulties and needs of volunteers during the pandemic. Bu showing the impact of volunteers during this crisis, we will reach to all corners of the globe with the message "Together We Can Through Volunteering."