National committe promotes volunteerism in Lao PDR

30 Sep 2011

The UN House hosted the first meeting of the Lao National Committee of Volunteers chaired by Mr. Alounxai Sounnalath, Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union (LPRYU) and organized by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.

This meeting reaffirmed the basic principles of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) held 10-years ago, to recognize, celebrate and promote the invaluable work of volunteers to make our world a better place. In Lao PDR a National Committee has been established to provide a space for volunteer involving organizations to highlight the role of national and international volunteers and plan for future collective activities in the spirit of volunteerism to contribute to the socio-economic development of Lao PDR.

Present at the meeting were representatives from the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union (LPRYU), UN agencies and volunteer organizations including the French Red Cross, the Lao Red Cross, CUSO-VSO, JICA, KOICA and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.

The chair of the committee, Mr. Alounxai Sounnalath, said that Lao PDR was one of the 123 countries worldwide to have a national committee in 2001and that volunteerism is a very well-known concept in Lao PDR where local people have a rich tradition of social mobilization and self-help.

Ms. Sara Rijavec, UNV Programme Officer, sincerely thanked the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union for its key role in organizing volunteer activities in Lao communities and invited all the guests to use this momentum to think beyond 2011. The UN Volunteers programme will carry out the secretariat tasks of the committee.

At the meeting, participants from the different agencies discussed the activities that best suit the idea of volunteerism in Lao society. Participants also discussed how to share and engage in these activities in the future. Finally, Mr. Alounxai expressed his sincere thanks to all those who took part in the meeting and shared their willingness to cooperate in activities in the spirit of volunteerism.

Volunteering and community engagement empower people to change the world from the grassroots up, especially when enabled by strong partnerships at every level. It has been 10 years since the International Year of Volunteers was launched in 2001 through General Assembly Resolution 63/153 (2008). The United Nations calls for this anniversary to be celebrated internationally. During this anniversary year, a wide range of partners and stakeholders aim to promote the values of volunteering to recognize the positive impacts of volunteering, to build and reinforce volunteering networks and to facilitate contributions to peace and the Millennium Development Goals through volunteering. (www.iyvplus10.org)

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming and through mobilizing volunteers.