Discussion Group 2
Closed

Integrating volunteering into policy and planning

November 17-December 22 Moderated by Katrina Borromeo, Tom Bannister

About the discussion group

In this discussion, we want to hear your examples and experiences of volunteering being effectively integrated into policies and planning.

(Add your responses by clicking on the tab 'Discussions")

Background 

People everywhere are contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and targets through volunteering. But research by UNV and partners suggests that national and local policies, strategies, and schemes that support volunteers often stand separate from wider development efforts.

Sub-questions 

  1. How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs? 
  2. What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
  3. What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?

In your responses, you could include examples of:

  • Sector policies or national strategies that include volunteering components, for example, a climate change strategy that works with volunteers to collect environmental data or to raise awareness in their communities.
  • National or local volunteering strategies that are aligned to SDG gaps and challenges, for example, a national or local government volunteer strategy, programme or scheme that is focused on a major development priority such as disaster preparedness.
  • National volunteering schemes that embed volunteers into projects and partnerships and measure the efforts of volunteers against national SDG targets;
  • Evaluations or research that show how the inclusion of volunteering in a policy or plan has added value, for example by demonstrating that ordinary people’s needs and priorities were listened to and acted upon;
  • Partnerships or processes that have resulted in greater integration of volunteering, for example, public consultations on a new policy or strategy that have given volunteering groups the opportunity to successfully advocate for the inclusion of volunteers;
  • Types of data or evidence that have demonstrated the value of volunteering for the SDGs to policymakers, such as qualitative research that highlights how volunteering can help accelerate progress against a particular SDG target. 

Why take part?

The insights generated from these discussions may be used in the 2021 Report of the Secretary-General on Volunteering, and as a resource for approaches to realize the Call to Action – to make volunteering a transformative force for the 2030 Agenda.

Further reading

Join related discussions

Click here to join the parallel discussion on Catalyzing the Call-to-Action through innovative models and big ideas

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Simone Galimberti
22.12.2020
One last question for Tom and the team: would we be able to access and consult all these contributions from tomorrow onwards? It would be nice if this can be accessed passively....
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
22.12.2020
Hi Tom,
I'm another good practice from Zimbabwe.
Importance of volunteerism in the achievement of the SDGs: A case study from Zimbabwe

Guided by several policies such as the Community Homebased Care (CHBC), Zimbabwe National Youth Policy, Zimbabwe Sport Volunteerism Policy, Social Protection Policy etc., the volunteers have been able to contribute towards all the 17 SDGs in various extents and impacts. The document will cite several activities which volunteers have conducted in the country. The findings to be used here were gathered during a study which was conducted by VSO, UNV and VIONET in year 2020. Eight Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs) were interviewed, these organisations have worked with a total of 6 782 volunteers and impacted the lives of 77 842 beneficiaries. These were reached in key provinces of Zimbabwe that included Harare metropolitan, Bulawayo metropolitan, Mashonaland west, Midlands, and Manicaland.
At the National level, volunteers are fast responders in times of crisis as demonstrated in the quick and massive response they provided towards disaster/ emergency relief, management and recovery process during the cyclone Idai, cholera & typhoid crisis thus contributing to SDG, 3; 6 & 13. Right now volunteers are contributing towards the current global COVID 19 pandemic, in different ways which include awareness raising through different medial platforms, manufacturing of preventive products like sanitizers and masks among other things.
Guided by the CHBC volunteers are empowering communities to champion transformational change to ensure that no one is left behind. Volunteers through the Ministry of Health have been trained to work as community Health workers in their communities. Over 1,500 community volunteers are working with local Community Based Organizations to build their capacity in programing and response to health issues such as HIV / AIDS, youth sexual and reproductive health thus contributing to SDG 1 & 3.
Volunteerism has equipped over 3,585 youth with employability skills through self-help groups, micro – entrepreneurship trainings and other skills development programs which has greatly complemented the labor market in Zimbabwe and directly contributed to the country’s GDP, peace and development hence contributing to SDG 8. The Zimbabwe National Youth policy has a component of volunteerism and it requires the young people to contribute towards the social development of the country.
Volunteers have also made some efforts in Ending hunger and achieving food security for all: strengthening livelihoods of the poor, ensuring sustainable and healthy food production systems and improving the lives of all thus contributing to SDG 2, 3, and 17. According to the Social Protection Policy, Zimbabweans need to be socially protected. In Zimbabwe, Chikurubi Maximum Security prison is the largest prison averaging 2,600 inmates, many classified as high risk with long sentences. 17% of the prison population is HIV+ and in dire need for HIV health services and peer support. VSO has trained 178 volunteer peer educators to train inmates about the importance of ART adherence and set up support groups to provide pyscho-social support for prisoners and scaling up their positive-living level. The result has been a huge uptake in ART treatment (increased from 50% to over 95%) and a sharp reduction in prisoner deaths.

In line with SDGS 8, 9, 10 and 12, passionate volunteers and VIOs in Zimbabwe freely offer their services as well as expertism in Macro to small projects/ businesses incubation and acceleration services, financial inclusion services, project proposal empowerment workshops, radio as well as social media campaigns, Decent work awareness raising, promotion of economic development processes that services the people, empowerment workshops on people living with disabilities and youth, training of the individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds on economic emancipation undertaking using local and available resources. Over 15 373 beneficiaries from marginalized communities in Zimbabwe received the service of volunteers in improving their quality of lives. Social inclusion and accountability workshops were carried out by volunteers including clean-up campaigns in various cities in Zimbabwe to contribute towards achieving SDG 11.
Training has been provided on sustainable forestry conservation and management. Over 3000 trees have been planted with 90% of these being fruit trees. Fruit trees have added a nutritional and livelihood component as volunteers and beneficiaries have been able to make products such as marmalade from lemons, oranges and nartjie trees grown in the tree nurseries. Some have been able to sell these fruits that include avocados thus significantly improving household income. Awareness campaigns and engagement with individuals involved in illegal fishing activities have also been done in line with SDG 14 and 15.
In efforts to achieve SDG 16, VIOs and volunteers in Zimbabwe assisted OVCs to acquire legal documents, assisted sexual abuse victims with referral systems, conducted social accountability workshops with political and traditional leadership, Conducted peace and justice activism lobbying and advocacy activities through national summit, community campaigns, radio and social media campaigns.
As active players in financial inclusion services and fund generation undertakings, the volunteer sector in Zimbabwe assisted vulnerable members of poor and marginalized communities with products and services to enhance the standard of living among the beneficiaries. Thus, making a contribution towards the achievement of SDG 17.
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In reply to by gandhar@1

Tom Bannister
22.12.2020
Thank you Raj for sharing more really interesting examples! I did a quick google for CHBC and there is quite a lot of interesting literature out there that covers the volunteering aspect, incl this WB report http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/166101468005408757/pdf/342490PAPER0Op1l0Challenges0AFRwp88.pdf

Do you have a link to the VIOnet/UNV/VSO study? (or if not will it be published?)
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Simone Galimberti
22.12.2020
Africa is taking the lead. Where is Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe??? Gosh, Go Zimbawe, Go Africa....
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Lewis Muia Machowe
22.12.2020
Hello everyone. I am Lewis Muia and I work as a volunteer with Resurge Children East Africa, Kenya, a local nonprofit organization determined in achieving SDG 4.
In Kenya, there are no policies on volunteerism though there are guidelines developed specifically to provide best practices recognized internationally and nationally in moderating and regulating volunteers, Volunteer Involving Organization and other stakeholders in the volunteer field. The Ministry of labour recognizes the contribution of volunteerism to peace and National development goals as significant. Therefore as the country focuses more on the role of volunteerism in human development, there have been a need to provide a roadmap and strategies for all stakeholders in the volunteerism movement.
These guidelines therefore are focusing on the principles of Volunteerism, the obligations of the Government, The protection and obligations of the
Volunteers, and the role of volunteer involving organization and relevant
Ministries departments and agencies in the development of Kenyan and
global volunteerism
Here are some of the foundational National Principles and Guidelines of volunteerism in Kenya.
1. Principles of volunteerism:
i. Volunteers shall participate on the basis of freely-expressed consent, and where children volunteers are involved, consent must be sought from the parents/guardians.
ii. Volunteering shall not be carried out in expectation of any rewards, financial or material gain.
iii. Volunteerism shall not be a substitute for labour. It shall compliment and shall not result in the downsizing and/or substituting.
iv. Volunteerism shall be practiced with a certain degree of autonomy from authorities to safeguard its independence.
v. Volunteering shall be recognized as a legitimate way in which citizens participate actively in the development of communities for improved livelihoods.
vi. Volunteering shall fundamentally promote human rights and equity;
vii. Volunteerism shall be practiced based on respect for the rights, dignity and culture of the communities involved.
viii. Volunteer recruitment shall be based on equal opportunity and non-discrimination.
ix. Volunteerism shall be inspired by need to positively change communities, and guided by democratic, participative and caring social tenets.
2. Protection of Volunteers:
i. Volunteers have a right to receive the necessary information, training, supervision, personal and technical support for the discharge of their duties.
ii. Volunteers shall be insured against the risk of accidents and illness related to the volunteer activity.
iii. Volunteers have a right to work in a safe and secure environment, under healthy conditions.
iv. Volunteers have a right to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses related to the volunteer activity, as well as to be provided with basic subsistence support for food, travel expenses and accommodation whenever the volunteer assignment so requires, and previously
agreed with the host organization.
v. Volunteers shall be provided with appropriate description of assignment (describing the nature and length of time of the volunteer activity), and the necessary accreditation.
vi. Volunteers will be recognized and /or certified to acknowledge their contribution at the end of the service.
3. Obligations of volunteers:
i. Volunteers shall respect, adhere to and observe the objectives and regulations of the host organization.
ii. Volunteers shall respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of the beneficiaries.
iii. volunteers shall carry out all duties as per the terms of service.
iv. Volunteers shall participate in any necessary training courses provided by the host organization.
v. Volunteers shall comply with the National Laws
With all these guidlines, I believe that Kenya has already set a stage to integrate volunteering into policy and planning

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In reply to by lewismachowe@g…

Simone Galimberti
22.12.2020
Hi thanks Lewis, I just came to know from VSO Kenya that there is a National Volunteerism Bill 2019 that basically build on the National Volunteering Policy that was approved in 2015 and right now stakeholders including the Ministry of Labour are working on the National Volunteerism Implementation Action Plan 2019-2022 that should finally bring conducive to the new legislation. VSO Kenya is doing a great work to localize also volunteering at local county level, a very commendable job.
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Moyosoluwa Oladayo
22.12.2020
I am Moyo, Global Volunteering for Development Officer at VSO. I am sharing VSO’s experience from Nigeria on Volunteering and Youth Policies in Nigeria.

How have youth policies or strategies integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?

In 2019, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), conducted a review of the National Youth Policy and draft the implementation plan. VSO was involved in the review process through the participation of members of the VSO Nigeria National Youth Engagement Network.

However, lots of gaps were identified about the National Youth Policy 2019 of the FRN. The major issue is that the policy is seen as a participation project rather than a project or framework identifying the problems and needs of the young people.

Hence the reason for salient matters or topics such as promoting volunteerism and volunteer actions as vital instrument to drive national development as it contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals were not properly captured in the Policy.

In the policy, the seemingly close to mention of promoting youth engagement and volunteerism can be found in Strategic Thrust 3: Promote Participation, Inclusiveness and Equitable Opportunities for all Youth under Thematic Focus VI: Civic Engagement. As defined in the policy “Situation Analysis Civic engagement of young people in Nigeria encompasses a wide range of programmes including those initiated by government agencies, the private sector, and the civil society.”

On the other hand, the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Office of the Secretary General of the Federal set up a Department called The Nigerian National Volunteer Service (NNVS) with the mandate to coordinated volunteering process and promote volunteerism as a tool to nation development.

In February 2020, NNVS under the sponsorship of VSO was able to review and draft the National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism and its plan to action. Other members of the National Thematic Group of Volunteerism such as UNV, IAVE, AU, ECOWAS were part of the process. The process was done in two stages. The first stage was an online engagement where questionnaires were shared virtually, over 2,000 people were reached and engaged and about 165 respondents completed the online survey. The second stage was a one-day policy review and validation workshops with over 150 primary actors representing diverse backgrounds, sectors, and groups participated in the process.

Though the National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism amongst its objectives seeks to integrate and ensure that volunteer service is a key component of all sector strategic development plans and institutional action. There is need for the National Youth Policy of the FRN to take into cognisance especially while designing its action plans and strategies, existing policies/ strategies that promote volunteering actions towards the achievement of the SDGs.

In conclusion, though volunteering was a bit silent in the National Youth Policy of the FRN, the mention in the reviewed youth policy can be seen as a significant progress in identifying the existence and significant growth of youth focused civil society organisation and the contribution of international development organisations including the UNDP and VSO to promoting volunteerism in Nigeria. Also, in few weeks ago, the National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism in Nigeria was approved, and I am hoping to see more actions being taken to promote volunteering for development in Nigeria.


What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
The continuous involvement of various volunteering involving organisations in policy reviews, strategies and external stakeholders’ engagement have drawn more attention to the need to start recognizing volunteerism as an instrument to attaining national development.
For instance, VSO participation in the review of the National Youth Policy of the FRN has contributed to a broader definition of civic engagement. Also, the policy recognises the significant growth in the number of youth-focused civil society organisations in Nigeria; as well as the immense contribution of iinternational development organisations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and VSO in their formal volunteering programmes for youth in Nigeria.

Also, the review and draft process of the National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism in Nigeria remains a standard to promote inclusiveness which is a practice that should be learned from and improved on. The participants include Government representatives, members of International organisations and bodies, Local CSOs, Youth organisations and networks, representatives of the elderly and retirees, PLWD , private sectors including media agencies amongst others.

This process did not only include a diverse background of participants but increased the interest and passion of primary actors in policy process and policy matters. For instance, some of the people who were part of the policy review were following up and asking for the progress of the policy from VSO.

The integration of volunteering into National Youth Policy of the FRN and the approval of the National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism in Nigeria will add value to the outcome of volunteering actions and activities in Nigeria following the implementation plan (2020-2024).

What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?
• VSO continues to work with and support Government (in various levels ranging from the National to State) via its Ministries (Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture etc.), Departments such as NNVS, Programs such as NYSC etc. through it global engagement and programmes to promote volunteering for development.
• In addition to financial support, VSO provides technical assistance through placement of National Volunteer supporting the review and draft of the National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism in Nigeria.
• VSO supported by building capacity of the Volunteer Department on Global Standards and global opportunity to learn and share experiences on volunteering for development was given to NNVS when VSO sponsor a member its member to IVCO conference 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda
• VSO in collaboration with UNV organised capacity building workshops for the National Technical Group on Volunteerism.
As a result of the approved National Policy for Inclusive Volunteerism in Nigeria, VSO will continue to support the implementation of the plan for action of the policy (2020-2024) to attain its set objectives which are:
• To promote the culture of inclusive volunteerism among Nigerians
• To strengthen NNVS to effectively deliver her mandate of coordinating and managing volunteer programming across Nigeria
• To integrate and ensure that volunteer service is a key component of all sector strategic development plans and institutional actions
• To establish an inclusive research, communication, advocacy, technological and peer review mechanism that documents and disseminate current and emerging trends, challenges, key lessons, best practices, and innovative approaches to inclusive volunteerism
• To celebrate volunteers’ contributions and promote better conditions for volunteering

• To promote mutual learning platforms among key stakeholders in volunteerism
• To establish a national coordination framework to effectively mobilize and harness domestic and foreign resources towards achieving the goals and objectives of volunteerism in Nigeria
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In reply to by Moyosoluwa Oladayo

Simone Galimberti
22.12.2020
Hi it seems that Nigeria is really a trailblazer in mainstreaming volunteering in national policies and mechanisms and this is also based on others' comments and contributions.

What would be the role of the state governments? I guess they should or are already playing an important role. Do they also have on the ground some sort of "infrastructure" to promote volunteering?

Do you know anything about other West African Countries' experiences? thanks again Moyo
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Fazirah Naser
21.12.2020
Hi all, I am Fazirah from YSS Malaysia. YSS is an organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia. We have been established since 2012 and currently going strong in positioning volunteering as an important mechanism to build the capacity and leadership of students of higher learning in Malaysia through experiential learning. 

How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?
There are no policies related to volunteering in Malaysia. However so, Malaysia has many scattering initiatives in achieving SDGs nevertheless by integrating volunteering into practices. From social enterprises, education institutions to non-profits. What is lacking is an institution leading data collection, impact measuring in centralising the movements and initiatives. Without it, nobody knows how far have we progressed and how much more we have to work towards achieving the SDGs. Only official data is collected through agencies for SDG progress measurement. 

What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?The work of volunteering is definitely at a rise in Malaysia especially in this time of the pandemic. Through national integration in the work of volunteering, data can best be collected, more inclusive reach and engagements. 
With such lacking in integration among CSOs, and everyone working their own way in achieving the SDGs, centralisation is very much needed where data can be shared by all and updated and be visible to all.  

What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?MOHE Malaysia particularly works on developing students in Malaysia to become balanced and holistic individuals. One of its ways is through volunteerism which is being manifested by YSS through our services. There is a whole of volunteerism landscape in Malaysia championed by YSS itself, by the volunteering programmes of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, down to institution level. The work to integrate volunteering in policies are still in the efforts as the country is focusing more on making volunteerism a culture and with a whole pipeline of programmes and training to develop future generations. The initial aim is for the government to recognise that volunteering can play its role in achieving the SDGs and assisting in nation-building. 
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In reply to by fazirahnaser

Tom Bannister
21.12.2020
Thank you Fazirah for sharing your experiences and perspectives!

do you have have any examples you can share of where volunteering is well integrated into policies or plans in Malaysia? E.g. does it feature in education or youth policy at all?

Im also interested in what you say about data and evidence gaps. In the Malaysian context, how do you feel evidence on volunteering could be produced, packaged and presented in a way that successfully conveys its added value to policy-makers, resulting in deeper integration and better support for volunteers?
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Fazirah Naser
22.12.2020
Dear Tom,

Yeap! If you may refer to the Blueprint of Higher Education https://www.mohe.gov.my/muat-turun/awam/penerbitan/pppm-2015-2025-pt/5-malaysia-education-blueprint-2015-2025-higher-education, paging is quite awkward here but it is stated in page 1-9, on experiential learning and service learning for students of higher learning (uni students) with YSS.

It is also featured in the National Youth Policy, if you want to access it here http://www.kbs.gov.my/akta-dasar/dasar.html, File Name: Executive Summary Malaysian Youth Policy, where it listed Volunteerism as the 5th youth priority area.

However so, as I mentioned it is more on making volunteerism a culture among youth in Malaysia. While YSS of MOHE targets youth in higher learning (uni students), programmes of the Ministry of Youth and Sports targets youths coming from age 15-30 years old.

With scattering initiatives all over the country, led by formal and informal organisations/movements, I think it will helped if there is an organisation or some sort of data collection centre championing on data collection and packaging it to bridge between the local actors and policymakers.
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In reply to by fazirahnaser

Simone Galimberti
22.12.2020
Hello Fazirah, thanks for this description. Would you agree that, based on your points, it would be of outmost importance for Malaysia to come up with a National Policy on Volunteering? Second that Malaysia needs a sort of "play-maker" , enabler, a facilitator? I mean here a National Agency on Volunteering that can help coordinate all the activities.
Here you have a unique bond with the Ministry of Higher Education and I think it is also essential to help universities to come up with their own blueprints/approaches (well maybe we should call them for what they are, strategies) on how promoting volunteering in their own campuses. What's your take on this? I feel that, stuff is happening, also quite a lot thanks to local clubs/societies but there is no a proper strategy within each universities. I think very few universities are actually running a proper formal volunteering desk or volunteering center. What's your opinion?

Then again, a big question: what would it take to lobby the government to really create a national volunteering agency? I mean Ministry of Higher Education is already on board with you but the tricky thing would be to reach out a "whole of government" or better a "whole of society" approach to volunteering with a truly national/federal agency and then have also infrastructures at state levels. what do you think?

Another point, I know YSS and the important role you play in the volunteering landscape in Malaysia. I know you are very strong on "experience" volunteering missions in the ASEAN. I would love to know about plans to scale up more localized versions, more community based closer to the students back home in Malaysia. I believe there is a huge potential and perhaps you have been already very active on this dimension and I do apologize because I am not aware of it but I would love to know more about it.

thanks millions
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Jhon David Esteban
21.12.2020
How have volunteering integrated your country's public policies or strategies into broader efforts to achieve the SDGs?
In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, there are no public policies on Volunteering, there is no exclusive law, but if there are some government initiatives such as the volunteering of the Somos Venezuela Movement, which will be on the streets of the country with the aim of assessing the problems of the Venezuelan people detected through the Register of the Carnet de la Patria, to provide you with the required solutions. There are more than 66 thousand volunteers that will be deployed in all corners of the Fatherland. This from the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela.
http://presidencia.gob.ve/Site/Web/Principal/paginas/classMostrarEvento_entrevista.php?id_evento=5751

On the other hand, the initiative of the representation of the Interim Government of Juan Guaido was born and is Volunteers for Venezuela,
We are all Venezuelans who are part of the existing network support movement, such as multilateral agencies, Church and civil society; to organize and mobilize citizens through Operation Freedom, serve the most vulnerable populations affected by the Complex Humanitarian Emergency and generate public policy proposals under the Country Plan, supporting the 2016-2020 National Assembly

https://voluntariosxvenezuela.com/

In addition, there are very successful experiences of Venezuelan civil society such as:
The Friends of the Child Foundation, FUNDANA is a non-profit organization that since August 12, 1991, has given a home to thousands of Venezuelan children who have been victims of neglect, abuse, neglect and/or sexual abuse. Has a permanent Volunteering program
TECHO in Venezuela is a civil society organization, not for profit, that operates thanks to the economic contribution of companies, international cooperation and donations from people like you, who believe in our work.
https://www.techo.org/venezuela/voluntariado-y-convocatorias/
These contributions allow us to continue working to overcome poverty in Venezuelan settlements through its Volunteering Program
In addition to recognized Volunteers such as Rotary, Red Cross and Civil Protection and Nestle corporate volunteering and Polar Companies
https://www.nestle.com.ve/cvc/programas-de-creacion-de-vc/voluntarios-nestle

What evidence does it show if this integration has added value?
These initiatives are done separately by organizations, as there is no point of integration for ideological reasons, so many organizations and communities in the Complex Humanitarian emergency have benefited
3) What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policy makers to integrate volunteering?
On the part of the Venezuelan Youth Organization for the United Nations UNJ UN, more than 300 volunteers have been trained in reproductive sexual health, democratic values and human rights issues, where public officials from Local Governments have participated in the Schools of High Youth Studies, with Campaigns of Sustainable Development Goals to the Municipal Council of San Cristobal and the Institute of Youth of the State of Merida and training in Open Government
https://twitter.com/OVJNU/status/1028858420026384384
https://twitter.com/OVJNU/status/995264847939080192

Moreover, UNFPA has participated since 2019 in the High-Level Political Forums in New York at United Nations Headquarters
https://twitter.com/OVJNU/status/1148914142146899968
In 2021 we will introduce a bill for the promotion of public policies for Volunteering and the strengthening of the Humanitarian Response through a Humanitarian Technical School that will be on the OCHA Venezuela project platform

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In reply to by Jhon Esteban

Tom Bannister
21.12.2020
Thanks Jhon for these great examples.

Im really interested in your last point on the promotion of public policies bill. Do you have any links that you can share?
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Ajay Singh
19.12.2020
Dear Tom,

Here we are to learn from examples and experiences of volunteering being effectively integrated into policies and planning and we are well aware about research by UNV and partners suggests that national and local policies, strategies and schemes that support volunteers often stand separate from wider development efforts. In other way as I have explained that all the 17 Goals and its 169 associated targets are interlinked, but our responses to achieve the goals are fragmented, till now and we are nowhere near the path to success of 2030 Agenda by time.
In fact, till now not any organization, academia, any group engaged to achieve the SDGs, UN member state or the UN body had tried to explore for the public policies or strategies in any country to appreciate integrated volunteering to achieve the SDGS by time. So instead of looking forward for evidence to represent any aspect of integration that added value to successfully influence policy makers to integrate volunteering in actual fact; it’s the time to explore from the depth of the causes and the obstacles on our path to align SDG gaps and challenges.


Here I am representing three focal points of an integrated innovative model (ideology) that can catalyze support for volunteers in the context of accelerating progress to achieve the SDGs by time.

What we propose is a basic ideology specially designed to encourage all development practitioner, policy makers and all volunteer for an integrated action to….

(1) To promote a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural unity and of culture’s contribution to success of UN-SDGs


(In fact, there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable developments. Now at the one hand the global community is baffled by the means to prevent global warming and to overcome the perils of the epidemic as COVID 19. On other hand the global leadership is developing weapons for mass destruction that would destroy this planet more than our imagination and the sources of racism and radicalization are rapidly increasing day by day creating the basis for worldwide war. Within these circumstances, it is impossible for any form of volunteering, organization or any of the UN member state to show leadership through volunteering across all the SDGs by encouraging all people to have equitable access to inclusive and safe volunteering for the success of any SD goals. So to balance the positives and negatives of volunteering in communities across different groups, genders and types volunteers, first of all we will have to increase psychosocial support to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural solidarity for culture’s contribution to make UN-SDGs a household word. It is simply possible, by representing a basic ideology that would encourage all volunteers for integrated action to achieve the SDGs by time.

HOW? Let us look forward to the next point…….



(2) To separate the basis of spiritualism and materialism in the short and “go-between” form of literature that defines the spectrum of religious definitions in a single notion, building trust between all cultures, norms and mores without disgracing the belief of any humankind and within UN charter.

Here we are advocating for a new form of cooperation with informal or community volunteering, for example by including traditional or local knowledge and volunteer efforts in local policy development processes in support of achieving the SDGs. Furthermore to make volunteering a transformative force for Sustainable Developments, first of all we will have to pay devout attention to overcome the obstacles on our path to encourage all volunteers for an integrated action as we do need for the success of SDGs.


In fact, it had been always lethal to write or address straightaway in favor or against the institutionalized faith of human being divided by several communal, religious and political strictures. Recently UN Secretary General H.E Antonio Guterres had appealed before all the world’s leading religious instructors, to encourage all people to strengthen the basis for peace and unity and we all are well aware of its impact. Here what we propose is a simple policy to bridge up the gaps between all cultures, norms and mores without disgracing the faith or belief of any humankind by representing the true fact of the history of humankind on Earth in form of literature that specially designed to unite all people beyond their inherited system of thoughts to appreciate all type of volunteering for integrated action in favor of SDGs as essential contemporary need. (We have already designed the project that would not need any extra effort or cost for its implementation)


Furthermore it would help the UN bodies……


(3) To serve a common subject to empower the United Nations as a body to aid in formulating a straightforward and direct relationship with the public at the grass roots level through academia hubs, to ensure the safety and morality of our future generation.

For further information in this regard, please overview this post…

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/un-sdgs-nowhere-near-path-success-ajay-singh/


Thanks for the time and review, looking forward for your response for further clarification.

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In reply to by ajay_deepg

Simone Galimberti
20.12.2020
Hi Ajay how would you concretize your ideas and vision? You talk about a new policy, how would it be shaped up in very tangible ways? thanks
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In reply to by simone

Ajay Singh
20.12.2020
Thanks Simone,
We do not need extra effort or cost concretize this idea dedicated to strengthen the basis for peace and solidarity by bridging up the gaps between all culture, norms and mores, without disgracing the faith of any humankind, as we do need to accelerate integrated volunteering for the success of SDGs by time.

Simply this project could be shaped up in a very tangible way through academic sources.

Here we are exploring for a new idea that would encourage integrated volunteering and action to achieve the SDGs in actual fact. Thus we will have to pay devout attention to the focal points that were missed by the global community when the made the UN for the betterment of all humanity and thereafter when the SDGs was crystallized and adopted by the member states to make this planet a safe place for all.

My friend, without reaching the root cause of the problems, it is not possible to reach the solution in actual fact. I mean, it is a policy to redefine the premeditated policy according to the need of this contemporary world.

Please let me explain in detail about the problems that emerging on our path to make volunteering a transformative force for Sustainable Developments………

I mean, now at 2020 when the world is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we believe, the global community would pay devout attention to deeply consider about the complicated issues that crystallized the UN to secure the planet by implementing SDGs for present and future generation. But during this last 75 years, we are nowhere near to realize the root cause of the problem in actual fact. Yet the global picture is unsettling and we are facing increasing levels of intimidation, disruption and violence. We can see how refugees and migrants are suffering intolerable of insecurity, discriminations and ill treatment.

Presently we are all aware of the true fact, basically it is the rot of corruption at all level that raises economic anxiety, erodes public trust and undermines social cohesion, human rights, peace and prosperity, but yet we haven’t been able to tackle the root cause of corruption that creating the basis for all crime on this planet.

Within these circumstances, how can we think about integrated volunteering for the success of SDGs by time. In fact the global community unanimously adopted the UN-SDGS to overcome the perils that creating worldwide humanitarian crisis, But the complicated issues as the clashes between “One World Order” and “New World Order”, climate change, radicalization and terrorism are still invincible or mostly ignored by the leadership enthralled in the mazes of their own political and professional beneficence.

Why?

Before leaping to the answer, as a selfless, let us look forward to the systemic obstacles on our path to make this planet a safe place for all. Here are some well-known forbidden communal questions to guide us towards the solution for the transformative change that is fair and sustainable.
In fact, such complicated questions confront the world’s leadership, civil societies and all leading religious instructors who thirst for a unanimous conclusion for global security in the current predicament of nuclear proliferation, terrorism and war, within the context of the moral crisis in political ethics and religious conflicts.

(1) Is our world leadership united and coherent enough to overcome the perils of climate change and combat the sources of terrorism and war given the rise of scientific insights that continue to design and manufacture lethal weapons for mass killing (that is, nuclear weapons)?
(At the forefront, the world community is baffled by the means to prevent global warming. On the other hand, we have developed weapons of mass destruction that could destroy the world beyond our imaginations. Thus, without peace and solidarity, any attempts to solve all issues relating to poverty and global warming constitute a political business in actual fact)

(2) Is it possible for the entire world led by God for human beings to uproot the sources of religious conflicts that erupt in the blood of massacre?
(In fact, they are enthralled in the strictures of their own political, professional and religious tradition. It is impossible for them to surrender their own profession to transcend their own faiths to fill in the religious gaps that divide human perception, so for global unity, It had been always lethal to write or address in favor or against the institutionalized faith of human being divided by several religious and political strictures)

(3) Do United Nations bureaucracies and administrations have enough potential to lead the global community on the path toward peace and propel those in positions of leadership to overcome complicated political issues, humanitarian crises, and religious conflicts?
(The UN bureaucracies and administrations are embroiled in the mazes of the premeditated policies that was designed at the time when UN was crystallized for the betterment of all humanity. Now it’s the time to strengthen the United Nations as a body to aid in formulating a straightforward and direct relationship with the public at the ground level making the SDGs a house hold word.)

(4) Are we safe neglecting these larger issues that force us to an unnatural end?
(For the safety of all people and this planet, immediately the world intellectual communities will have to pay devout attention to delineate a new method for the world leadership and approach the world community to transcend inherited and organized faith, to advance the culture of peace for the success of UN-SDGs by time. In fact, there can be no sustainable without peace and no peace without sustainable development.)

(5) Do we have ample, sufficient, and appropriate ideas and resources to combat those masterminds that have converted humankind into "lethal bombs"?
(To prevent the rise of radicalization that converting humankind into “lethal bombs, for political and professional beneficence, we can easily prove without disgracing the belief of any humankind; that the definitions of all the leading world religions are based on their contemporary needs to help human being to evolve under natural process on basis for peace and social diversity, not for political and professional beneficence or to obtain the narcissus and terrestrial bliss among the rot of massacre.)

Time is precious than all, but not above the truth.
While celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the contemporary world’s greatest leadership are rapidly developing much expensive lethal weapons that would destroy this planet more than our imaginations. It means, due to lack of trust between the global leadership we are nowhere near the ethics to secure the present and future generation and UN is existing just as a platform for beautiful speeches or empty promises.

Who are victims of the worldwide humanitarian crisis in actual fact? No doubt ! They are the common man struggling to fulfill their daily needs. So while exploring to a new policy or any big idea, we’ll have to pay devout attention to approach the civil societies and the global communities (under the UN ensign) beyond their political, communal and religious issues that being used as political tools for the beneficence of leadership. It is the only one way to build trust between the current leadership for the betterment of all people and this planet.

Here our biggest challenge is to unite the people divided by several political and religious strictures and to build trust among all cultures, norms and mores without disgracing the belief of any humankind.

In fact, it’s impossible for any scientific, religious or political insight to redefine the human conscience for unity accord to the need of this contemporary world. Sometimes we do have a simple solution of any most complicated issue, but we mostly ignore the solution for its simplicity. We mean, now it’s only the graces of literature that can bring changes in human perception as ever. There is no doubt that the greatest aspect of literature is that it enthralls our mind and spirit from childhood to the end of our lives. It is a major part of our intellectual heritage, as important as our scientific and professional heritage; it influences our system of thought and throws into relief our genetic nature. It is the treasure house of human wisdom that guides our life toward whatever final home our political or religious belief directs us.

Here what we propose to unite all for integrated volunteering for the success of SDGs, is a blueprint of literature that serves a philanthropic catalyst relating to the wider issue of human purpose and ultimate reality, approaching all the basis of humanity to define the belief enthralled in jigsaw puzzles of their own inherited system of thoughts and genetic nature, Furthermore it would help us to fill the intangible gaps between Economic Development and Social Development through academic resources. We believe, this literary form would help the world community not only to raise new hopes, but also develop a aspirations in working towards a common citizenship of all peoples and faith based on social responsibility and solidarity making the SDGs a household word.

More than that, we do not need any high cost or extra effort for the implementation of this proposed theme among grassroots, what we do need is an integrated action from United Nations Academic Impact, UNESCO and the team engaged with “UN Perception Change Project” of UNOG and we easily engage the Major Groups, Member States and other relevant stakeholders who thirst for a unanimous conclusion for global security in the current predicament of nuclear proliferation, terrorism and war, for the success of SDGs in actual fact.

Presently the novel’s and literature of great authors from all around the world that recommended for “unabridged school edition” mostly navigates the mind of readership to an elusive world (for entertainment) that is beyond the true fact. It represents the past and present, for the betterment of future generation, but without a solution as we do the need for the betterment of all humanity at this contemporary world. There is no doubt; it serves both the aspects of entertainment and enlightenment to overcome the humanitarian crisis as well. But what we propose is an extension to that idea as the part of SDG 4.7 to achieve the SDG 16.a for the success of SDGs and advance the UN disarmament agenda in a simple way.

After all, while considering for any policy for integrated volunteering and for the transformative change that is fair and sustainable. Let us look forward to implement a policy by adopting the said aspect of literature that specially designed to make this planet a safe place for all, following the core value of SDGs in actual fact.

“In the 21st century, I believe the mission of the united Nations will be defined by a new, more profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion” Kofi Annan.

“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.” Kofi Annan.

Thanks for the time and review. Looking forward for your response to share all about this proposal in detail
Sincerely
Ajay Singh


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Simone Galimberti
22.12.2020
Thank you millions for the explanation..
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SERGE CLAUDE EBOA EDOUBE
18.12.2020
Hi to everybody, i am SERGE EBOA, a Cameroonian, a Development Finance Consultant and Financial Engineering Researcher. Integrating Volunteering into Policy and Planning is a good initiative that should make an effective use of Volunteers mutidisciplinary backgrounds. Progrmmes involving volunteers participation and contribution should be set up. A workshop session should be run between specific and talented Volunteers and recipent NGOs which are awaiting social imapct for the sake of their organizations. In this light, a certain large-scale imapct must be pursued at the end of the day.
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Simone Galimberti
20.12.2020
Hi Serge, is something of what you are proposing already happening? Do you have large scales volunteering program in Cameroon? Do you have a volunteering body coordinating and planning activities, working as enabler? thanks
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Simone Galimberti
16.12.2020
A little contribution for the day:

How to maximize the role of volunteering, including the discussions on practicing “supportive solidarity” that means, how to involve and engage the so many altruistic inspired actions happening in different forms locally, into localizing the SDGs and in local development?

I guess national blue prints are good and meaningful but then they need to localize them. The Cities of Service movement could also offer very interesting tools.
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Winnie Omeri
17.12.2020
I support that ,for instance devolution would play an important role
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Tom Bannister
17.12.2020
thank you for sharing the CoS example Simone, very interesting
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Simone Galimberti
17.12.2020
Hi Tom, thanks. I believe that, without neglecting the importance of promoting different forms of solidarity and self help and more organized forms of volunteering in rural area, the REBUILD BACK BETTER, that somehow focuses a lot on urban setting, offers us a big opportunity to mainstream the BIG V in new urban re-creation planning. For example Cities of Service should partner with C40, the global coalition of mayors from the biggest cities. It used to be dominated by north, but very recently the Governor of Jakarta got elected as a co-chair and here, well who better than UNV can be positioned to foster and enable such partnerships? Involving UN Habitat MORE could be a game changer, now i know it won't happen in a day but still 2021 can be super exciting year...
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Tom Bannister
21.12.2020
completely agree Simone, if we look at how big IVD was a few weeks ago, 2021 should/will hopefully see a lot of momentum behind sustaining all the volunteering seen during COVID as part of transformative recovery efforts. Lets see...

do you happen to have any interesting examples to share of integrating informal volunteering into plans and policies in Nepal or elsewhere? Its quite difficult to find good case studies and its such an important area to consider
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Nkiruka Stella Okonkwo
14.12.2020
Volunteerism is a necessary development tool and strategy that must be integrated into policy, planning and developmental processes to ensure inclusivity, mutual coexistence and community development. I am very excited that Nigerian Government last week approved the recently reviewed National Policy on Inclusive Volunteersm and its Plan of Action led by the NNVS with support from VSO, my organization (Fresh & Young Brains Development Initiative - FBIN), UNV, ECOWAS Commission, NYSC among others.

Such actions should be emulated by other countries.

Also, volunteer related activities should be a key component of national budgets and an entry point for youth entrepreneurship & employability, women empowerment and community development
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Simone Galimberti
15.12.2020
Comments
Hello Nrikuka, kudos to FBIN, VSO and the Government of Nigeria for this milestone. I found this article that quotes you: https://www.blueprint.ng/stakeholders-validate-policy-on-volunteerism/
It seems that one of the features it is that the policy is really “all encompassing” very holistic, able to truly include and mainstream all the sectors/areas.
Could provide more info/details about the revised National Policy on Inclusive Volunteerism and its Plan of Action?
I checked the web site of NIGERIAN NATIONAL VOLUNTEER SERVICE, https://www.nnvsnigeria.gov.ng/pages/about.html and it seems it’s more a facilitator rather than a directly implemented program. How does it work?
Plus one of the participant to this forum, Vincent (you will find his comments quite at the beginning, scroll down), mention the Nigeria Volunteers Network
In Nepal we are trying to develop a policy, more insights on the process taken, will be really helpful.
Thanks….
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Simone Galimberti
15.12.2020
One more thing, what about the National Youth Service Corps? It seems it is a totally standing alone program and the NYSC National Directorate Headquarters is totally a different entity. Is there perhaps some overlapping? thanks again
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Vincent Odigie
16.12.2020
Good morning Nkiruka, glad to see the vision for Volunteers inclusion making progress in Nigeria, very much love to connect with you on other platforms to share ideas and implementation strategy.
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Hussain Hamzah
14.12.2020
I'm Hussain Hamzah from Nigeria. We need to engage more youth in volunteering because more of them did not know what volunteering is all about. United Nations Sustainable development goals need more advocacy awareness campaign because here in Nigeria we lack more youth advocacy for United Nations Sustainable development goals. The National and local NGOs need more volunteers to engage them in Sustainable development goals by educating them what SDGs is all about.
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Tom Bannister
21.12.2020
Thank you for coming on and sharing your perspective Hussain! Do you have any examples from your local area of how volunteering is being supported as part of wider efforts to raise awareness and achieve the SDGs?
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Hello everybody this is Simo with ENGAGE, we are a tiny NGO working in Nepal in the field of social inclusion, with a special focus on bringing together children and youth with disabilities.
I know here I am the last one on the finish line and I am catching up…..
I am not going to really speak too narrowly about Nepal’s experience, we got already Raj from VSO who has a huge experience in the sector and he is better equipped to talk about.
Therefore mine will be some general comments.
First of all, branding and much more: I think we are in trouble here because we are not doing a good enough job in branding and marketing our work. In short, I am afraid to say that volunteerism is not so cool because we are not doing a good enough job to create a narrative about the transformative impact of volunteerism. Policy makers just see it as “short cut”, a feeling good one but they hardly grasp the deeper meanings of volunteering or as I call it ‘THE BIG V”.
So we need to do a much better at telling our stories and the stories of change that happen on the ground (VSO did an amazing research on the volunteering impact against poverty)
An example from Nepal: for the recent IVD, an incredible coalition was formed thanks to UNV and there were some organizations who did an amazing job at marketing, at creating a big buzz about the celebrations… I wish only this visibility exercise will continue on longer term
Why Am I focusing so much on visibility and branding? Am I a branding guy? Not at all but I understand that without making a big deal of our work, people won’t really get the BIG V, they will still perceive it as a nice add on.
Second, coordination: I saw some great examples here in the contributions of coordination in Jordan and Sierra Leone, Thailand and Cyprus. These are really great examples where in most of the cases there is leadership from the top. The trouble starts when such leadership from the top lacks and we know that it is most of the cases, at least for many developing countries. Setting up an informal coordination group of all stakeholders like what VSO and UNV did in Sierra Leone with the Volunteers Involving Organization Network (VIONet)is an amazing blueprint, I would not go that far in Nepal or being so ambitious… I would say, let’s start with an informal group like we did for the IVD 2020 and we can build on it….
So a solid informal group that could be upgraded to a forum or network will help maintain momentum in terms of visibility but also will be indispensible to create interactions and engagements with the policy makers. This is really paramount, having a continuous coordination with them, keep them in the loop, let them understand that volunteers are not just expandable force but are on the ground for the long haul.
Nepal has a big test for me now: finally we are working towards a national policy but again the challenges are the following; is the ecosystem strong enough to sustain such policy? How will this policy be a live document that will be truly implemented in the spirit or instead will be one of the many policies that are there but not implemented?

I guess big organizations like VSO, UNV and others should play a big neutral role in ensuring that such policy is going to be the right document that is going to serve its purpose.
Again I am afraid that the strong local BIG V ecosystem on the ground won’t be able to be part of the conversation on the long run and won’t be really supported.
Ultimately it is about having resources to promote and support volunteering, including finding the right balance on what Marcel from Brazil was saying: would it be better to support NGOs and ensure that “legal” infrastructure is not going to be too overwhelming and dominating or should we have national programs directly implemented by the governments?
It is hard to find the right balance here, ideally I believe that these two options could go together, see the example of Americorps in the USA where a federal designed volunteering program can be implemented locally by not for profits that use it to run their own volunteering schemes…
Certainly in a country like Nepal won’t be easy to find the Government directly supporting groups, individuals dedicated to the BIG V but you never know….even if they enable the sector without direct funding, I feel it would be great. Said that, I still see there is a scope for some big national schemes, again possibly in partnerships with civil society and why not, the private sector.
Here in Nepal there was the National Volunteering Developing Service, NDVS that was an odd thing because it was run by the National Planning Commission that is certainly not an implementing body but strangely enough it was working well. Few years ago it got disbanded and the National Youth Council has a clear mandate to promote volunteerism and this is good but also alarming because the upcoming national policy risk to alienate all citizens keen to volunteer but from different age groups.
Lastly localizing the SDGs could be the next big deal for all of us and this requires working very closely with local governments, helping them understand the power of the BIG V and try to make sure that they truly incorporate it in their planning.

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Li Zeng (Leo) 曾理
13.12.2020
Hello,everyone. I'm a Chinese graduate student (finished this year,2020).

During my student period in university, I joined in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) China, as a youth ambassador, to spread the awareness of sustainable development goals (SDGs), and assigned by China to attend the UN (3rd) China - Africa Conference on Population and Development. Subsequently, I established an international public welfare organization (Dawn of Future) to organize students in university to achieve the SDGs via voluntary service. 2 years ago, I went to Sri Lanka to join in the voluntary work about saving the endangered sea turtles.Nowadays, the artificial incubation base of turtles in Sri Lanka is interrupted due to COVID-19. Therefore, I want to call to action to the youths in university to voluntarily do something to help the turtles base. So, what I wonder is that if my public welfare organization recruits volunteers to Sri Lanka, whether we are responsible for their security. Because we only call them to action, but they are not kids under 18 years old. In China, adult is defined over 18 years old (include 18). I am the initiator of the public welfare organization, so if risk appears on volunteer who we recruit, am I accountable for their responsibility?

Thanks you all guide me and to be friends each other. I hope there are friends who have familiar experience or professional instruction way. I'm so appreaciate ! Really !

My Email : Lizeng824@163.com (my Chinese name is Li Zeng, English name is Leo )

Sincerely yours

Li Zeng (Leo), China
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Hi Li, I cannot help specifically on your case, unfortunately but I believe you are raising the very important issue of volunteering in the universities, is really BIG. Maybe you can share more stuff about what the Chinese Government is doing to promote volunteerism in the higher education institutions as for example, you had a big platform and it worked out in your work in Sri Lanka. thanks
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Li Zeng (Leo) 曾理
22.12.2020
Dear Simone, thank you for your advice, I will try to do what you tell me. Hope you are fine every day!
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Tom Bannister
17.12.2020
Thank you Li Zeng for sharing the examples and the important comment on safety and risk. Do you feel that the wider policy and regulatory environment in China promotes safe volunteering and organizational duty of care? My understanding is that the Chinese regulations on volunteering cover safety issues but that this does not apply to international volunteering, but maybe that information is out of date?
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Li Zeng (Leo) 曾理
22.12.2020
Dear Tom, thank you for your reply and the information that the regulations in China are not apply to global circumstances. I don't know whether it is out of date, but I'm searching. Hope you are nice all the way in your life!
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Tom Bannister
11.12.2020
Hello everyone and thank you to all for contributing to a really interesting discussion so far. As we enter the final week or so, we've already heard many examples and ideas about integrating volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030 (less than 10 years to go!)

We've had examples shared of volunteers being integrated into policies and plans, including in particular youth but also those related to disaster risk reduction, labour and education.

We've heard about the work of the networks and coordinating bodies that stand up for volunteers and promote joint efforts to support them across sectors, SDGs and stakeholders.

And we've also had questions raised about challenges and opportunities, such as:
- how can we integrate the many new volunteering initiatives that are being established to respond to COVID-19 to not only strengthen future responses to crises, but also deepen integration across the SDGs?
- are there ways to integrate support to informal volunteering (70% of the global total) into policies and plans that tackle inequality to empower marginalized groups?
-should governments consider investing in integrating and supporting the volunteering that already exists as part of civil society, rather than establishing new schemes themselves?

So as we enter the last days of the discussion, what do you think are the missing parts of the integration jigsaw? Something that I would like to raise again is the issue of evidence. Do you feel that a lack of good data that shows the added value of integrating volunteering is holding integration back? If so, what kinds of evidence do we have, or should produce, and how can we use it to make a stronger case for integration?

Please do continue to share your examples of integrating volunteering into policies and planning in your country, and also to raise questions and share ideas yourself.

Thank you again for participating in our discussion and I look forward to your next comments

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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Hello this is Simo, finally I am able to participate to this forum as I had technical issues to get into. Lack of evidence/impact is surely holding us back but it is also very true what Mohsen was saying at the beginning, that the data overall ecosystem is pretty weak everywhere, therefore we need to really get to the extra mile, being more creative and better at collecting data and then literally "flood" the data to concerned officials but to do this, it requires for me, better PR, better branding of our work otherwise we will always be taken for granted, ops there is a problem, let's involve volunteers... so i guess something that I have been trying to advocate, quite unsuccessfully, is the creation of "light" national forums or committee made by all organizations and stakeholders genuinely interested to promote volunteerism...this is just a short comment to Tom
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Tom Bannister
15.12.2020
Thank you for your comment Simone and sorry for the technical issues.

What do you think the role of trust plays in what you propose? It strikes me that there is a lot of potential for mass 'big data' on volunteering and collected by volunteers, using new tech etc, but that this would struggle to influence policymakers due to a lack of trust in the methods/quality/general distrust in volunteers or civil society .

Interested to hear your take on this, and any ideas or examples you can share as solutions
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Hattaya W
11.12.2020
Dear friends,
This is Und Hattaya, Technical Lead from VSO. I’m currently based in Bangkok Thailand, I’d like to share our experience here and progress on advocacy work to strengthen volunteer environment here.
1.How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?
Since 2015, VSO work on advocacy includes becoming sub-national committee on Volunteer support under Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security advocating for National Volunteer Coordination Center. Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has endorsed National Volunteer Center and currently working on the budget proposal to formally implementing its action plan.
In 2020, Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reaffirmed its commitment with the international community in accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in promoting the importance of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) as a locally-driven development approach to achieve the SDGs and the mobilization of all stakeholders in the development process to build back better after COVID-19.
Thai delegates also played an active and constructive role at the Global Technical Meeting (GTM2020) on "Reimagining Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda,” a special event during HLPF 2020. The Director-General and Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Organizations, as speakers at GTM2020, shared Thailand’s policies, case studies and lessons learned in working with stakeholders, and reflected on how innovative pathways can help mobilize volunteers to join forces towards SDGs realization.
Examples raised include the Village Health Volunteers, the SEP, the Friends from Thailand (FFT) Volunteering Program, and the Open-ended Working Group for the SDGs initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with civil society, and Thailand’s annual Voluntary National Review (VNR) for 2020 under the theme of "Volunteerism for the SDGs.”
Mobilizing all stakeholders, including volunteers, women, and youth, to strive towards sustainable development, is one of Thailand’s priorities during its membership of ECOSOC for the term 2020-2022.
https://thailand.prd.go.th/ewt_news.php?nid=9890&filename=index
2.What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
The outstanding involvement of key stakeholders both from government agencies and CSOs have increased numbers of organisations from different sector significantly in the past years. More organisations from private sector, academic institute and self-organized groups have engaged in conversation around how volunteering contributes to sustainable development of country.
Academic sector, especially university level is now a key influencer to promote volunteerism. Service Learning is a popular approach to engage university student in volunteering. There are more work needs to be done in supporting mechanism or platform to engage students in volunteering and assist faculty with developing service-learning curriculum.
VSO has partnered with Thammasat University under a MOU to co-create a revised and updated curriculum. The partnership covers curriculum review, co-lecturing, lecturers’ capacity building, student volunteer programmes in communities that VSO works in to experience and learn from the VfD model.

3.What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?
VSO Thailand and its Volunteering for Development programme started in 2013 with main objective to initiate the enabling environment for volunteering in Thailand so that CSOs and citizens can more effectively participate in sustainable social development. VSO partners with Network of volunteering involving organization called Volunteer Spirit Network (VSN).
VSO work on advocacy includes becoming sub-national committee on Volunteer support under ministry of Social Development advocating for National Volunteer Coordination Center. Ministry of Social Development has endorsed VSN as National Volunteer Coordination Center and currently working on the budget proposal to formally establish themselves so and with more than 20 CSOs, coordinating annual National Conference on Volunteerism since 2015 with more than 600 participants in each conference. VSO is the organisations that lead on volunteering and sustainable development.

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Tom Bannister
11.12.2020
Thank you very much for your comment Hattaya! Do you have any links that you could share to the evidence part of your answers?
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
This is outstanding, Philippines also have a strong "infrastructure" but then at the end we need to make sure it that this incredibly important effort from the top is also matched with genuine partecipation from the bottom and I am very sure that organizations like VSO can help bridge the gap but then how to move forward with creating this volunteering infrastructure in countries where there is weak "volunteering" leadership" ?
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Hi again, would it be possible to have more information about the National Volunteer Coordination Center? Is it going to be involved also at policy and implementation levels as well? Is it going to manage funding for not for profit organizations? I do understand that it will be formally embedded within the Ministry of Social Development? How independent or powerful will it be? Will it also be able to coordinate volunteering schemes in the health and education sector? Will also act as knowledge bank as facilitator to support all volunteering initiatives promoted by the government through different ministries/agencies? Does it have a central committee with period meeting or does it also work at local level? thanks

Then on Volunteer Spirit Network (VSN), does it have a secretariat hosted by VSO? Do you have a budget? Could you provide more information on how formal and structured this network is? thanks....
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Simone Galimberti
17.12.2020
Is the National Volunteer Coordination Center going to launch also national volunteering schemes? thanks millions Hattaya
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Osiman
10.12.2020
Greetings! I am Osiman. I work for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) as a Programme Development Specialist based in South Africa. My organisation supports development and humanitarian programmes in Africa and Asia. Over the past few years, we have made integration of volunteering into national policies, plans, strategies and programmes a key component of our policy and advocacy work. This work is generating useful insights, with very interesting country-specific evidence being generated, documented and shared across our country teams. Below are snippets of our progress, observations, emerging lessons and impacts of our work in Sierra Leone.


1) How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?

In Sierra Leone, VSO has been working with government agencies and civil society organisations to catalyse the integration of volunteering into national policies and programmes. A key step towards achieving this integration has been the establishment of a national coordinating structure in the form of the Volunteers Involving Organization Network (VIONet). Co-founded by VSO and UNV, VIONet is a network of organisations that link volunteers seeking to work with the government, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to promote the development and humanitarian assistance agenda. VIONet now provides a platform for coordinated solutions rooted in volunteering, with policy influencing initiatives and regional networking being key priorities. It operates at community, district and national levels, with linkages to international volunteering networks. It representation at lower level administrative structures has enabled inclusive policy development and promotion of volunteering at grassroots level.
At national level, the government has, over the past five years, taken steps to integrate volunteering in its national strategies and plans. The Ministry of Labour has integrated volunteering into the Labour Law in an effort to address challenges that young people graduating from training institutions face when seeking employment. A lack of technical skills and experience are cited as one of the main challenges and the ministry promotes volunteering as a solution to the challenge. The ministry has defined standards and requirements that guide to ensure safe, effective and trackable volunteering by young people as they gain skills through placements. The Ministry of Youth Affairs also established the National Youth Service (NYS) as a strategy to prepare graduates for internship programmes. VSO is currently working with the Youth Ministry, through VIONet, to develop a volunteering policy that will facilitate structured and coordinated youth volunteering. These government-initiated processes to integrate volunteering into policies and national programmes are creating national platforms and capabilities for youths to play an active role in actions to enable to country to work towards the SDGs.


2) What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?

• The involvement and active participation of volunteers in the youth policy review process facilitated ownership and enhanced knowledge on youth policy development processes. Through the volunteer networks, youth participation and inclusion of vulnerable groups was enhanced. Young people’s interests, views, concerns and aspirations were captured and integrated into the revised policy.

• Government efforts to integrate volunteering into the labour laws and national youth policy is contributing to skills development and practical work experience for young graduates thereby helping to meet the requirements for gainful employment, in fulfilment of SDG8 on decent work and economic growth.

• The VIONet platforms and government-backed volunteering policies are also creating opportunities for promoting social inclusion and gender equality, involving volunteers from different backgrounds and geographical locations, in pursuit of SDG10 on reduced inequalities. VSO and VIONet’s inclusive approaches will be useful to ensure that the policies benefit all citizens regardless of background, economic status and abilities.

• As part of promoting the inclusion of volunteering in the youth policy, VIONet has improved its grassroots representation and linkages with grassroots community structures, including local leaders, schools, universities, the private sector and civil society organisations. The networks are critical for ongoing multi-sectoral work in the areas of Health, Education and Livelihoods. These linkages and networks will be critical in the implementation of volunteering policies.



3) What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?

• VSO has been working with government, mainly through the Ministry of Youth Affairs, in promoting the integration of volunteering in national programmes focused on young people, providing a foundation for integrating volunteering into the youth policy.

• VSO engaged and supported the Ministry of Youth Affairs in the review of the national youth policy and advocate for the integration of volunteering into the policy.

• VSO, through its volunteers network, worked with the Ministry of Youth Affairs to develop the capacity of youth volunteers to collect data from citizens to inform the review of the youth policy.

• Building on global evidence of the benefits of using the Volunteering for Development (VfD) approach, VSO has been leading advocacy work to ensure that VfD approach is adopted by stakeholders that are implementing community development work led by VIONet members.

• VSO and VIONet use the International Volunteers Day to raise awareness on the benefits of volunteering and advocating for the government recognise integrate volunteering in the implementation of its policies and programmes nationally.
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Tom Bannister
11.12.2020
Thank you very much for sharing these examples from Sierra Leone Osiman!

Would you happen to have any links that you could share that provide evidence for integration adding value? e.g. any evaluations demonstrating that including youth volunteers in the policy review process facilitated ownership or data that shows the link between including volunteering in the labour law and increased employability?
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Marcelo Nonohay
07.12.2020
Dear Friends,

I am Marcelo, from Brazil. We have a law regarding volunteer service since 1998. I have participated in the National Volunteering Council in 2018.That Council had some axis of intervention, among which I highlight: (1) to implement a pilot program in key cities to develop mobilization and actions related to SDGs, (2) to launch a national volunteering digital platform, (3) to stablish a National Volunteering Prize, (4) the review of the volunteering law.
I think that part of that strategy is right, as offering technologies, such as volunteering platforms, and promoting mobilization strategies, such as Prizes. In both the offering of mobilization strategies and tools, it is possible to inspire and orient volunteer managers into focusing their efforts on the SDGs.
In the legal and institutional fronts, I know that we haven’t completed everything that we were discussing at that time, but there were some efforts in trying to make volunteering more present in the public sector, as it is one large employer in Brazil. One of the things that was done was to facilitate the engagement of public servants in volunteering as part of their career - in payed leaves which used to be exclusively focused on training. There was a growing interest in setting a legal framework to make volunteering more pervasive in higher education. And we were discussing important measures to acknowledge some specificities in the volunteer service law, for example to have a better framework for international volunteers in regard to their legal situation in the Country.
The part which I do not particularly agree is in operating a pilot program in the field. When you have any kind of structure (as a Council) trying to operate a program, you need funding, expertise and partnerships. In this sense, the program needs the NGOs to be successful, but it competes with them when it comes to funding, expertise and people impacted. My claim is that much in the spirit of SDG 17, national structures should know their roles and their limits. They will never be as effective and have such coverage in territories as the NGOs. Why not use the scarce financial resources and very powerful voice that the government can have to point the direction? Why not set the agenda?
Instead of being a competitor, national structures should be true partners. Actually, they should work tirelessly to be seeing as valuable partners of volunteer managers in the field. And used their resources to develop capacity and facilitate the work of those who are in the frontline of social development.
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Tom Bannister
07.12.2020
Thank you Marcelo for your examples - please do provide some links if you have them.

And you make a great point on the costs and benefits of setting up a national program vs. using the resources to fund existing volunteering groups/volunteers. I wonder what kind of evidence was considered when discussing establishing the scheme and what would be useful to have in hand in order to make informed decisions about investing in volunteering 'options'.

Do you have any examples to share of your preferred hybrid + collaborative national-local govt-NGO option either in delivering services/project, or in agenda-setting and decision-making?
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Marcelo Nonohay
07.12.2020
Dear Tom,

I can think of examples that are not really related to volunteering, but they are very close because of all the players involved.
In many cities in Brazil there are Child or Elderly funds. These funds are composed of tax deduction from companies and individuals. They are managed by Councils where NGOs, private sector and government have representatives.
I have participated in a process in one of those Elderly Funds where we have analyzed some indicators related to the well-being of Elderly people (from WHO) and defined priorities for the interventions which would be funded by the Council.
When you have a process like that, in one hand, naturally the NGOs that submit proposals to access the funds focus on those priorities, and on the other hand, individuals and companies feel that their tax deduction will be well destined.
I am not advocating that volunteering should be funded by tax deduction (it could), but in my view, there is an example where you have an interesting governance structure (government, NGOs, private sector…) setting the agenda based in data (WHO KPIs), funding mechanisms in place which are not competing with other fundraisers (tax deduction) and incentives for many decentralized initiatives (NGOs working with elderly people) going after similar objectives.
Imagine if we have a similar council setting the agenda por volunteer managers, facilitating access to funding and having SDG indicators as decision-making data?
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Osiman
11.12.2020
Hi Marcelo. Good to read about the volunteering integration priorities and processes in Brazil. The idea of having a digital platform and incentivising volunteering through prizes is being explored in several countries (e.g., Mozambique). There is scope for learning from countries that are pioneering these initiatives. I would like to know if Brazil is succeeding in these two aspects.
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Marcelo Nonohay
15.12.2020
Dear Osiman, I think that in order to harvest all the potential of prizes, it is important to build value and expectations. The Prize must attract a lot of projects to make a difference. It takes time to reach that level.
In terms of digital platform, the problem is not technology or features. I think that we still need to teach volunteering managers how to strategically plan and manage how to use such tools. Actually, we need to teach a lot of organizations how to manage volunteers, whether or not using technology.
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
04.12.2020
Dear All,
I'm Raj, Policy and Advocacy Adviser at VSO. I'm sharing another experience of VSO from Pakistan.

National Volunteering Mechanisms are Pathways to Volunteering Policy in Pakistan

How have policies or strategies integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?

The government of Pakistan has established national volunteering mechanisms including the National Volunteer Platform and National Volunteer Database. The government has established Rescue 1122 for the government led response and community emergency response teams. These mechanisms are promoting volunteering including youth to address harmful social norms and practices, promote social cohesion and peace, and address natural hazards including climate change. VSO supported these mechanisms through its programs and partners. These mechanisms are very instrumental to create environmental, social, and human prerequisites to strengthen agency and responsive policies to contribute to SDGs through evidence from disaster risk, resilience and climate change activities, youth platforms and innovation, community actions for informed decision making by policy makers.

What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
The mechanisms established in Pakistan has already supported to mobilize more than 1 million volunteers to work in various areas through Rescue 1122. It has established 5037 Community Emergency Response Teams with 114138 community volunteers in all district of Punjab. These teams conduct emergency response actions, awareness campaign, community resilience, risks assessments and safety survey, identify hazards, vulnerabilities, and capacities early warning and disaster risk management, emergency preparedness plans, DRR plans at Peshawar, Queteta, and Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Community Based Disasters Risk Management, Pakistan School Safety Framework, and so on. These initiatives contributed to improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning, reduced harmful social norms and practices and promoted social cohesion and peace.

What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?
The government of Pakistan with the support from VSO and partners reached to more than one million community and youth volunteers raising awareness and policy influence on resilience and climate change through Rescue 1122, a government led response mechanism. VSO supported the government to develop youth centric program models and volunteer mobilization strategy and processes so the volunteering mechanisms can be taken to practice. The volunteers are working to improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. This is very unique approach of promoting youth centric volunteering approach to address the local needs youth led community actions and innovations, and partnerships with government, CSOs, UN and local leaders to influence change at community, systems and policy which is owned by community and has impacts. VSO leads these actions to influence bigger policies working with government, UN and CSOs. Considering the learning from promoting National Volunteer Platform, National Volunteer Database, and Rescue 1122, VSO and CSO will work with the government to develop national volunteering policy in Pakistan.
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Tom Bannister
07.12.2020
Thank you again Raj!

I would be interested to hear more about how the Rescue 1122 volunteers also promote social cohesion and tackle social norms - do you have any links that you could share on this? Id also be interested to hear how the program is youth-centric and youth led

Beyond specific volunteering policy, have you seen any integration of volunteering into other sector policies (e.g. youth) or development strategies as a result of the success of the 1122 program and others?
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
10.12.2020
Though the Recuse 1122 has been established for effective system for emergency preparedness, response, protection & prevention. However, its scope has been expanded to promote social cohesion and tackle harmful social norms. The Rescue 1122 with the establishment of community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) Challenge, strengthens the existing skills of community volunteers for emergency response and social cohesion and social norms, which is important for sustainability towards resilience at community. Punjab emergency services academy in CERT challenge is responsible to build resilience in Pakistan. Massive campaign with mobilization of volunteers has been launched on Radio and Social media around Education, Resilience, Social Cohesion, Social Inclusion & Gender Equality, Covid-19 SOPs for School reopening, and sustainable food Consumption for promoting and creating demand for healthy and sustainable diets. This is important for raising awareness among general public and giving them a pathway for resilience building and promoting peace and social cohesion for disaster resilient communities.

One of the examples of capitalizing the opportunities is celebration of International Volunteers Day with Government Counterparts. This event is celebrated by Punjab Emergency Services academy and partners including VSO annually, the aim of this celebration is to promote volunteer work and volunteer platforms in Pakistan and encourage youth volunteers to become part of volunteer platforms for promoting peace and resilience at all levels. Capacity building of youth volunteers on promoting peace and social cohesion amongst different ethnic groups, this initiative enables youth volunteers to develop understanding of Peace, Social cohesion and resilience building, this is important because different minority groups are ignored in development work, so by engaging these trained volunteers in digital media campaign for awareness raising among general public and specifically ethnic groups.

The work on how they promote social cohesion and tackle harmful social norms can be accessed on the following links (official facebook page and youtube video), but they are in Urdu. The website of Rescue 1122 has not been fully updated.
https://www.facebook.com/rescue1122official
https://youtu.be/FA9TwwZhwmI

VSO’s approach on youth engagement is modelled with youth at the centre-informed by their needs, aspirations, capacity and assets. It recognizes youth as equal partners, primary actors or agents of change and advocates and applies a holistic approach to youth development; addressing social, political and economic pillars to unlock youth potential. Being a volunteering organisation, VSO has been engaged with youth through its programmes worldwide, where young people are mainly engaged in our programme as primary actor and change agents. VSO has supported Pakistan government promoting youth centric/led model. VSO conducted research on the effectiveness of this model and has following evidences:
• Research participants shared various examples where youth have been involved in implementation stage of any project by VSO such as: There were few examples shared by youth which reflects that if provided the opportunity, youth would like to work as volunteers. Like, some youth have been engaged with Rescue 1122 as a volunteer and youth focused organization in Peace building projects (Pakistan Youth Initiative-PYI).
• Similarly, VSO involved youth in social activities through component of social action projects such as activities on garbage picking in the streets of communities, enrolling out of school children, creating awareness around gender equality, tree plantation etc.
• Some youth are engaged in community programs such as working on social cohesion, cultural exchange and community resilience. Young people are eager to increase their participation in community, so youth is engaged in different social action projects and youth has awareness about how to solve their problems.
• Respondent said, we trained youth and teachers in education to ensure capacity building in education at school and college levels. Similarly, public and Govt. organization are working to engage youth in their community for YEN. They provide proper guideline, job opportunities and seed funds for small business. There are some civil and Govt. societies that work in our community to guide the youth in entrepreneurship skills and social networking.
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Tom Bannister
11.12.2020
thanks Raj! Do you happen to have any of the more recent progress reports from the 1122 program? (I can find the 5year one online but not the 10 year one or any more recent ones)
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
14.12.2020
Thanks Tom. Will check with our team in Pakistan.
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
04.12.2020
I'm Raj, Policy and Advocacy Adviser at VSO. I'm sharing VSO's experience from Nepal on volunteering and youth policies.
Volunteering and Youth Policies in Nepal

How have youth policies or strategies integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?
The government of Nepal has developed National Youth Policy 2015 and Nepal Youth Vision 2025. Both the policy instruments have provided spaces for volunteering and promote volunteerisms. The youth policy instruments focus on mobilization, participation, and leadership development of young people through mobilizing volunteers. It is expected that by 2025, two hundred thousand youth volunteers will be mobilized through programmes such as Youth Volunteer Service Program, One Day of the Youth for Society, Mobilizing Youths for Forest Protection, and programme mobilizing youth volunteers, and so on. For the effective implementation of youth policy and youth vision, the government has embedded volunteering schemes in the provincial and local government plans and programs, examples, Youth Clubs established and managed under local government that mobilizes thousands of local youth, various youth networks (networks such as return migrants network, youth entrepreneurs networks, etc) are established under National Youth Council to mobilize youth in the same sector, a national platform such as Mock Youth Parliament and mock parliament in the local and provincial government that promotes volunteering initiatives. Additionally, the Government also declared 2019/20, the year of volunteerism and mobilized one million youth volunteers to contribute on SDGs implementation, especially on agriculture, tourism promotion, strengthening of public schools, environmental protection, social superstition, gender-based violence, caste-based discrimination and untouchability, entrepreneurship promotion, good governance, and health and sports.

What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
The integration of volunteering into mainstreaming policy has added value of contributing to development outcomes and volunteering has been considered as an important approach to implementing the policy priorities. The provincial and local level policies and plans of governments have considered volunteering as one of the means of delivering their plans and programs. National Situation Analysis on Volunteerism for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2018 has also highlighted roles of volunteering and youth volunteer contribution to achieve SDG targets.

What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?
VSO worked with government (Ministry of Youth and Sports and Youth Council, Ministry of Education, National Women Commission, provincial and local governments) and other stakeholders to bring evidences and voices to develop policies and their implementation. We also provided technical support for developing procedures and tools to implement the policies. We are continuously engaging on the advocacy and influence for the effective delivery of youth policy targets, SDG implementation and review including Voluntary Reviews (VNRs) at all levels.

Considering the learning from volunteering and youth policies, the government has started discussions for the development of volunteer policy in Nepal, and VSO is one of the leading organizations coordinating with other organizations to contribute on this upcoming volunteer policy, and will continue engaging and influencing the processes and outcomes. The government of Nepal has committed on the following:
• Embedding volunteering as an important aspect of life and continue promoting volunteer’s contribution to achieve SDGs.
• Volunteer’s contribution to be quantified and measured to reflect their contribution to GDP
• Continue mobilizing volunteers to promote human and social capital to achieve targets of SDG goals.
• Without the efforts of volunteers, the ambition of the “decade of delivery” cannot be met. Nepal government has recognized the efforts of volunteers and will harness and support these efforts. Across the country, there are numerous examples of where volunteers are already supporting efforts to delivering the SDGs.
• Volunteering is one of the best means for achieving SDGs, which is people centred and very effective approach. The government of Nepal has committed promoting volunteerisms for the achievement of SDGs.
• The government has also committed to ensure volunteering is embedded in all the thematic policies, strategies and plans at local, provincial, and federal levels.
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Tom Bannister
07.12.2020
Thank you Raj for sharing these examples from Nepal!

I would be interested to hear your perspective on what you find challenging when you advocate for integrating volunteering to government, and any recommendations or support that you can think of to help overcome this?

And connected to the above, what kind of evidence (data, reports, research etc) do you share or would find it useful to share (if you dont have it), in order to make a strong case for integrating volunteering?
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
09.12.2020
Dear Tom,

Thank you so much for queries. The government of Nepal has already integrated volunteering into their policies in different forms, but they have not done it more systematically. Even though, there are few evidences, following challenges integrating volunteering into policies need to be addressed:
• The government of Nepal commits to integrate volunteering into all the thematic policies, but, actual integration has not been done fully, and implementation of commitments and policies is also weak in Nepal.
• The government has also committed integrating volunteering into local level plans as one of the initiatives to implement the plans of the government. However, their plans are not clear and have not sufficiently resourced.
• There are different volunteering schemes promoted by different ministries, for example, female community health volunteers by Ministry of Health which has mobilized more than 50 thousand FCHVs, youth volunteers by Ministry of Youth and Sports, volunteer in education by Ministry of Education. However, there is no proper coordination and collaboration among different ministries and have not established mechanisms and practice for coordination.
• Needed more coordination and collaboration among CSOs and volunteering organizations to give pressure to the government.

The recommendations going forward to overcome the challenges could be:
• The government of Nepal is developing volunteering policies. This will be right opportunity to raise the above issues including resource allocation and address them through the new policies.
• CSO acting together and developing collective demands to influence the government to influence volunteering policy and other sector policies.
• Influencing government to implement policies through developing mechanisms and systems.
• Promoting coordination and collaboration among ministries and CSOs.
• Recognizing the efforts of volunteering and being intentional to harness the power of volunteering by following the inclusive principles. CSO need to make strong voices on this as well.

Evidences of integrating volunteering into policies and initiatives:
• Health: https://www.mohp.gov.np/eng/program/reproductive-maternal-health/female-community-health-programme
• One of the pillar of youth vision 2025 is more about mobilization and leadership of youth volunteers to contribute to development: http://moys.gov.np/sites/default/files/nitiheru/Youth%20Vision-2025_2.pdf
• CSO voices: https://voicescount.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2020/11/Nepal-VNR-Final-Report.pdf
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Tom Bannister
11.12.2020
Thank you again Raj for taking the time to respond. Please do feel free to respond to comments from other discussion members
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Thanks again Raj about this clarification. Also to say that the FCHVs, the female community health volunteers, are not at all happy to be called and defined "volunteers" and as far as I do understand, it is hurting for them to be called "volunteers"
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
14.12.2020
Thanks Simone for this point. Are there any research or survey conducted to understand the perspective of FCHV would be really helpful. Please do share if you have them.
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Hi Raj, good to read your comments. VSO is definitely a force for good that has the willpower and resources to work with the government and with UNV but then the reality is how can we really make sure that youth clubs you mentioned, are really going to be part of the conversation and are they fully involved? I mean you know very well, there is a huge gap between policies or better saying "intended" policies and then reality on the ground. I am also concerned about role of local and provincial governments, again, you know better than me that federalism and good governance in Nepal is still very much a work in construction, so nominally we might have local and provincial governments talking about including volunteerism in their plans but does it really happen and how much widespread is this? I mean I am very confident that wherever VSO is working locally, you make a great effort to engage local governments but then otherwise, I feel like the situation is not that great for really understanding the real meaning of volunteerism and what it takes to help promote its "eco-system".
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Raj Kumar Gandharba
14.12.2020
Thanks Simone for taking time to read and respond, much appreciated. Firstly, all the volunteering organizations and need to come together to make collective voice to influnce the upcoming volunteering policy of the government.
Secondly, the challanges you have highlighted and the challanges which I have highlited needed to considered in the upcoming volunteering policy of the government. The government has already started the processes and we need to be up front in bringing all the evidences.
Thridly, we need to collect the best practices of different organization and share with the government to consider them. It could be from any organizations. VSO has youth centric models and belended volunteering model which has been tried and tested in Nepal.
Fourth, the roles of local and provincial governments is really crucial and we need to give efforts in bringing them into conversations so that they own the processes and develop clarity on real sense of volunteering.
Fifth, collecting the evidences from primary actors, e.g. youth. If you see one of the examples and link above, the initiative to collect voices from youth and marginalized communities during VNR process in Nepal 2020. We need to conduct series of such initiatives to ensure the voices of people especially marginalized. VSO has used its primary actors led monitoring tools as a part of our social accountability and policy advocacy actions and we have been using it with CSOs and would happy to discuss on the tools and processes.
Going forward, I would like to highlight that it needs collective action and everyone needs to be involved promptly rather than waiting for the government's action.
Lets work together capitalizing what we have already done rather than reinventing the wheel.
Thanks!
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Simone Galimberti
14.12.2020
Hi Raji thanks for your exhaustive answer...The primary actors led monitoring tools are really interesting and I guess they are a real best practice. I have been trying to push to set up an informal coordination group related to volunteering that could be built on the work of the Sending Volunteering Organizations Network that you know quite well and I believe that now is no more operating. Discussions on the policy is going on, there will be the day after tomorrow a meeting and we need to make sure that formulating the policy is going to be an inclusive but holistic exercise and I think it is going this way. Yes I do agree that we do not need to reinvent the wheel, absolutely.... Plus I am wondering to know if there is an evaluation of the 2019/2020 year of volunteers...plus I am wondering if the work in the disaster management Rescue 1122 could be a great model for Nepal as well and I am sure you are working on it....
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WENIBWE MUSA Ibrahim
04.12.2020
Bonjour chers tous, je suis WENIBWE MUSA Ibrahim de la République Démocratique du Congo.
je suis vraiment ravi de participer a cette discussion.
Dans notre pays nous avons beaucoup de personnes et ONG qui s'impliquent dans la promotion des objectif du développement durable mais notre gouvernement ne s'implique pas directement, il y a des circuit que les membres du gouvernement créent pour leurs propre biens mais pas directement pour les ODD et les personnes qui s'impliquent trop risque trop leurs vie.
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Tom Bannister
07.12.2020
Thank you Ibrahim for your comment and I look forward to your participation in the discussion.
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upendranadh choragudi
03.12.2020
Dear All,
I am happy to join in this discussion forum. thanks for accepting my request. I work with VSO as Evaluation and Learning Expert and have been working in the INGO sector for over two decades in the area of policy and practice across Asia and Africa. It has been an interesting discussion that I have been able to read so far. I would try to respond more in due course on some of the issues raised.
I am curious to know whether there is any broader global mapping of national volunteering policies and architecture... any links to such information would be helpful. Thanks
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Tom Bannister
03.12.2020
Thank you Upendranadh for your comment and look forward to hearing your views on some of the issues raised so far.

Could you share any examples of successful integration of volunteering into national policies and plans based on your experience with VSO? E.g. have you come across any sector policies that promote volunteering or any national strategies or frameworks that mainstream volunteering across implementation?

Indeed, there is a broader global mapping of national policies and architecture! If you check out the 'volunteering database' tab of this Knowledge Portal you can see UNV's own ongoing, crowdsourced mapping. As a registered contributor on the Portal you can also contribute yourself if you see any gaps that you can fill. I will let my colleague Katrina share more information on this.
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Ajay Singh
03.12.2020
Thanks Dear Katrina, Tom and Boram,

Lots of thank for approaching the world community for an integrated action to achieve the SDGs by time. In fact, all the 17 Goals and its 169 associated targets are interlinked, but our responses to achieve the goals are fragmented till now and we are nowhere near the path to success of 2030 Agenda by time. Thus the plan of action to integrate volunteering into the 2020 Agenda for sustainable developments is the first most essential step towards the success of SDGs in actual fact. Thanks again for this great endeavor for the betterment of all humanity worldwide.

Now our biggest challenge is to encourage all for an integrated action for the success of SDGs by time. How to unite all beyond the inherited system of thought divided by several political and religious strictures?

From last many years, just after the UN-SDGs was crystallized, I have tried to contribute the basic ideology to approach the global community for the proposed integrated action to make volunteering a transformative force for the 2030 Agenda through many platforms, but till now I haven’t got any positive response.
Now I believe, I am on the right platform from where I can get some affirmative responses and appreciation for my plan of action to integrate volunteering in to the 2030 Agenda, in a simple practical way and that would not need extra cost or efforts for its implementation.

Here I am representing my idea step by step, seeking your attention in this regard.

…………………………………………………………………………

UN-SDGs – Addressing the biggest global Challenges – With simple solution (SDG 4.7 & SDG 16.a) to save people and this planet


“There can be no sustainable development without peace (SDG 4.7 & SDG 16.a) and no peace without sustainable developments.”
Presently, United Nations Sustainable goals is an essential need of this contemporary world that we do need for the betterment of our future generation on this planet, but presence of racism, radicalization, political collisions and war are creating basis for worldwide humanitarian crisis that adversely impacts every aspects of our social and economical developmental efforts. It means we are only dedicated for “Peace through prosperity” ignoring the ideologies for “prosperity through peace”, so the achievements of scientific insight are resurrecting beyond the process of Nature, and the graces of humanity are descending to a dangerous abyss, making the implementation of SDGs patchy so far.

What is the solution in actual fact?

In fact, it is impossible for any individual organization or political, professional and scientific insights to overcome the perils that would destroy this planet more than our imagination. Thus we will have to look beyond the perception of this current human race divided by several political and religious strictures, to unite the global community making the SDGs a household word. Although it appears impossible, in actual fact it is possible through the “go-between” the basic potential of literature, following the core value of SDG 4.7, to crystallize the progress of SDGs through academic sources.
“Educating the mind, without educating the heart is no education at all.” -Aristotle
Now it is only the graces of literature that could educate the mind and heart together. There is no doubt that the greatest aspect of literature is that it enthralls our mind and spirit from childhood to the end of our lives. It is a major part of our intellectual heritage, as important as our scientific and professional insights; it influences our inherited system of thoughts and throws into relief our genetic nature. Always literature had been the treasure house of wisdom that guides human conscience towards final home whatever our faith directs us.

Presently conscience of our young generation between 10 to 24 ages is lethally vulnerable, being used in all form of violence and it is the biggest global challenge that needs a “unanimous conclusion” to accelerate the academic sources to educate our children to overcome the compartmentalized of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic and social challenges confronting the world. In fact, all the 17 goals and its 169 associated targets are interlinked, but the efforts to achieve the goals are fragmented, making the SDGs a tool for unjust political or unfair professional beneficence. Now immediately we will have to look straightforward to encourage the young generation for global unison and integrated actions by offering clear guidance to approach the SDGs in a practical and proper way.

More than that, the gap and difference between languages, culture and norms of the religious teachings are providing the safe ground for the business of racism and radicalization that exacerbate the basis of war and terrorism according to their own political stances and positions hindering the progress of SDGs. There is no doubt, till now we are only destroying the embodiment of terrorism, ignoring it brutal ideology invincible befor the world’s leadership and all the leading religious teachers struggling with the ensign of peace and cultural diversity. Presently in these circumstances the world’s money and gun power are not potential enough to combat the sources of racism and radicalization that conceal their sins behind religious narcissism. It means now it’s the time to represent the history of humankind on Earth within scientific insight to prove that the definitions of all the leading world religions are based on their contemporary needs, to help human being to evolve under Natural process on basis of peace and solidarity, not to rule over the people from other community or sect and the religious sanctity is not a subject to obtain the narcissus and terrestrial bliss among the rot of massacre.

These are authentic facts that cannot be ignored at any cost, thereafter, it had been always lethal to write or address in favor or against the institutionalized faith of human being divided by several religious and political strictures. So the world community needs an innovation of intellectual power (literature) to redefine the conscience of our young generation that enthralled in mazes of inherited religious and political thoughts, terrestrial glamour and the lethal aspects of frustration, while developing their scientific and professional skills. This is what we mean is the definition of “UN-SDG 4.7”, the only one way to help the world community to achieve the “UN-SDG16.a” as an essential need to speed up the progress of 2030 Agenda.

Presently the novels and literature of great authors from all around the world that recommended for “unabridged school edition” mostly navigates the conscience of the new generation to an elusive world that is out of their imagination to advance the cultural diversity that we do need to build a “fairer world”. No doubt, it represents the great ideologies that related to past and present situation, but without a proper solution that we do need to advance the cultural diversity in actual fact. It serves as an entertainment for moral advancement within a limit and also helps the students to develop their communication skills. Here what we need is an extension of that idea by developing the graces of literature for both entertainment and enlightenment, to build trust among all cultures and norms, as we do need to advance the cultural diversity to contribute for the success of all sustainable development goals.

……………………………………………………………………………..

Thanks for the time and review, looking forward for your response

With Greatest Regards
Ajay Singh
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajay-singh-a8206b42/
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In reply to by ajay_deepg

Tom Bannister
03.12.2020
Thank you for your interesting perspective Ajay around volunteering and SDG target 4.7!

For those less familiar with the SDGs, target 4.7 is around knowledge and skills for promoting sustainable development: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal4

So my question to you Ajay, is: can you share any examples of volunteering promoting SDG 4.7 in your country? As this discussion is about integration (and you also mentioned 16a around strengthening institutions), I would be particularly interested in any examples you can share of successful mainstreaming of volunteering into education policies or curriculum or as part of wider strategies to promote sustainable lifestyles or equality.

As you mentioned literature and evidence, Id also be interested to hear if you have come across any research that demonstrates the value of volunteering for promoting 4.7
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Ajay Singh
18.12.2020
Thanks Dear Tom Bannister,

Sorry for this late response.

Lots of thank for your appreciative response and appreciation, it’s my pleasure.

What I have proposed is a individual research to encourage and unite all people for an integrated action to achieve the SDGs by time; advancing the SDGs 4.7 targeting the SDG 16.a. It is all about what we mean by successful mainstreaming of volunteering into education policies or curriculum or as part of wider strategies to promote sustainable lifestyles or equality, making the SDGs a household word.


Please consider about this most essential and complicated issue from its depth. Here I am clarifying about this project in detail.



In fact, it had been always lethal to write or address straightaway in favor or against the institutionalized faith of human being divided by several political and religious strictures. So to encourage all volunteers for an integrated action to achieve the SDGs, is a most complicated challenge for all of those who seek to make this planet safe for all by adopting the graces of SDGs in actual fact.

I mean soon or later, human being will overcome the peril of the Epidemic COVID 19. Much faster than, we have faced such other lethal epidemics. But in history of humankind on Earth, the most lethal epidemic has been the "human conscience" that embroiled in mazes of their own inherited system of thought, creating the basis for war and terrorism, racism, radicalization and other worldwide humanitarian crisis for their political and professional beneficence.

Presently at the forefront the global community is baffled by the means to prevent the global warming (climate change) and the effects of COVID 19. On other hand the global leadership is rapidly developing the weapons for mass destruction that would destroy this planet more than our imagination. Rather than paying attention for the betterment of all humanity, they are dedicated for making policies to advance their own sovereignty beyond the basis for humanity and peace and as a thrall of egoism.

Within these worst circumstances; what do we mean by peace and solidarity that we do basically need for the success of SDGs by time ?

Such complicated question confront the world’s leadership and all leading religious instructors who thirst for a unanimous conclusion for global security in the current predicament of nuclear proliferation, terrorism and war, within the context of the moral crisis in political ethics that dedicated to obtain prosperity, leaving behind the issues of humanitarian crisis worldwide.

Unfortunately today we can see how the global leadership is navigating the entire human race to an unnatural end, only to grab a part of land or to strengthen their mortal sovereignty. It means, they are not a real leader of people and they do not have any idea to strengthen the basis for solidarity and peace or the values of their political and professional needs are much higher than what we do need to make this planet a safe place for all.

How can we ignore the true facts that forcing the entire human race to a grave risk? We can see how the effects of climate change in the current predicament of Nuclear proliferation, terrorism and war is leading the entire world towards an unnatural end. Thus without strengthening the basis for peace and solidarity, any attempts to solve all issues relating to poverty, global warming and other humanitarian crisis constitutes a political business in actual fact.
..
Now many organizations and the United Nations as well are unanimously advocating to strengthen the basis for peace and solidarity and even all the member state of UN had unanimously adopted the SDGs for the betterment of all humanity worldwide, but due to lack of a strategy for an integrated action, their efforts are still beyond the path to the success of SDGs.

Here what we propose is the blueprint of a simple action to redefine the human conscience (following the core value of SDG 4.7 and SDG 16.a); to bridge up the gaps between all cultures, norms and mores, without disgracing the belief of any humankind and as we do need to unite the global community beyond their inherited system of thoughts. But who cares?

From last many years we are humbly begging to the Hon. UN entities and Global leadership to look forward following the needs of the present (learning from the past) to ensure the safety of this our future generation. In fact, decision making is not important, without a perfect strategy to implement the decision in a proper way.

There is no doubt, all the 17 Goals and its 169 associated targets are interlinked and designed for the betterment of all humanity, but our responses to achieve the goals are fragmented and till now we are nowhere near a unanimous conclusion for an integrated action to achieve the goals by time.

We mean, to achieve the SDGs by time, let us implement the goals step by step and according to the need of this contemporary world. In fact, there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable developments.

Furthermore by strengthening the basis for global peace, the global leadership can easily reduce the cost for developing the weapons for mass destruction to maintain the costs to achieve the SDGs. So first of all we will have to pay devout attention to achieve the SDG 4.7 targeting the SDG 16.a.

(SDG 4.7 is determined to ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among other through education for SD and sustainable life, human right, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and of culture’s contribution to SDGs.)

Presently our academia, institutions and governing bodies are dedicated only to tackle the embodiment of the problems; ignoring its negative aspects that increasing day by day as a complicated challenge before the entire world. We mean within the impacts of globalization and rapid technical change, today we can see how inequality raises economic anxiety and undermines social cohesion, human rights and peace.

Within these circumstances, education based on the core values of SDG 4.7 is the best instrument to redefine the contemporary political and professional tools that we do need for an integrated action to achieve the 2030 Agenda. SDG 4.7 deeply holds the basic ideology to guide the global community to adopt the SDG 16.a in one notion, for the promotion of peace and non-violence and appreciation of cultures contribution to sustainable developments. In fact, without peace and global unity, it is impossible for the world’s leadership to pay devout attention for the success of SDGs by time.


I mean, we can easily implement the SDG 4.7 without any cost or extra effort targeting the SDG 16.a as the basic strategy to achieve the 2030 Agenda..

(The full text of Target 16.a: "Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime. “It has one indicator "Existence of independent national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles”.)

Here what we propose to expand the SDG 4.7 targeting the SDG 16.a; is a basic ideology to Strengthen all relevant national institutions, including international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime and to develop friendly relations among nations based on the respect for the principal of equal rights and self determination of people as we do need to take appropriate measures to strengthen the basis for global peace.

Straightaway it is impossible for any academia, institutions and governing bodies to establish a just and lasting peaceful order in the world. So first of all we will have to represent the ideology of SDG 4.7 as the first step towards the success of SDGs.

Till now, the global powers are only destroying the embodiment of terrorism, ignoring its brutal ideology that is still invincible before the entire world. That means, the world leadership is not interested to eliminate the root cause of terrorism and racism that is being used as a political tool for professional beneficence.

We all are well aware of the true fact; “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable developments.” So we are advocating to advance the SDG 4.7 at our academia, institutions and governing bodies, for the promotion of peace and non-violence and appreciation of cultures contribution to sustainable developments, as we do need to bridge up the gaps between all cultures, norms and mores without disgracing the belief of any humankind, targeting the core value of SDG 16.a that determined to prevent violence and combat terrorism and racism at grass root level.

Here we mean, it’s the time for action, not for beautiful speeches and empty promises for political use. Humanity must be saved from both the horror of terrorism and the panic of counter terrorism warfare. Although the words expressing our religious belief may be different, but the meaning is the same for everyone and that is; without peace and solidarity, it is impossible to obtain the graces of SDGs as we do need to make this planet safe for our future generation.

Dear Tom, please overview this post representing the proposal of the mentioned form of literature….

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/book-proposal-designed-unite-world-beyond-inherited-system-ajay-singh/

Thanks for the time and review, looking forward for your response that would help me to move ahead for further clarification.

Best Regards
Ajay Singh
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajay-singh-a8206b42/



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In reply to by ajay_deepg

Ajay Singh
19.12.2020
Dear Tom,

Here we are to learn from examples and experiences of volunteering being effectively integrated into policies and planning and we are well aware about research by UNV and partners suggests that national and local policies, strategies and schemes that support volunteers often stand separate from wider development efforts. In other way as I have explained that all the 17 Goals and its 169 associated targets are interlinked, but our responses to achieve the goals are fragmented, till now and we are nowhere near the path to success of 2030 Agenda by time.
In fact, till now not any organization, academia, any group engaged to achieve the SDGs, UN member state or the UN body had tried to explore for the public policies or strategies in any country to appreciate integrated volunteering to achieve the SDGS by time. So instead of looking forward for evidence to represent any aspect of integration that added value to successfully influence policy makers to integrate volunteering in actual fact; it’s the time to explore from the depth of the causes and the obstacles on our path to align SDG gaps and challenges.


Here I am representing three focal points of an integrated innovative model (ideology) that can catalyze support for volunteers in the context of accelerating progress to achieve the SDGs by time.

What we propose is a basic ideology specially designed to encourage all development practitioner, policy makers and all volunteer for an integrated action to….

(1) To promote a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural unity and of culture’s contribution to success of UN-SDGs


(In fact, there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable developments. Now at the one hand the global community is baffled by the means to prevent global warming and to overcome the perils of the epidemic as COVID 19. On other hand the global leadership is developing weapons for mass destruction that would destroy this planet more than our imagination and the sources of racism and radicalization are rapidly increasing day by day creating the basis for worldwide war. Within these circumstances, it is impossible for any form of volunteering, organization or any of the UN member state to show leadership through volunteering across all the SDGs by encouraging all people to have equitable access to inclusive and safe volunteering for the success of any SD goals. So to balance the positives and negatives of volunteering in communities across different groups, genders and types volunteers, first of all we will have to increase psychosocial support to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural solidarity for culture’s contribution to make UN-SDGs a household word. It is simply possible, by representing a basic ideology that would encourage all volunteers for integrated action to achieve the SDGs by time.

HOW? Let us look forward to the next point…….



(2) To separate the basis of spiritualism and materialism in the short and “go-between” form of literature that defines the spectrum of religious definitions in a single notion, building trust between all cultures, norms and mores without disgracing the belief of any humankind and within UN charter.

Here we are advocating for a new form of cooperation with informal or community volunteering, for example by including traditional or local knowledge and volunteer efforts in local policy development processes in support of achieving the SDGs. Furthermore to make volunteering a transformative force for Sustainable Developments, first of all we will have to pay devout attention to overcome the obstacles on our path to encourage all volunteers for an integrated action as we do need for the success of SDGs.


In fact, it had been always lethal to write or address straightaway in favor or against the institutionalized faith of human being divided by several communal, religious and political strictures. Recently UN Secretary General H.E Antonio Guterres had appealed before all the world’s leading religious instructors, to encourage all people to strengthen the basis for peace and unity and we all are well aware of its impact. Here what we propose is a simple policy to bridge up the gaps between all cultures, norms and mores without disgracing the faith or belief of any humankind by representing the true fact of the history of humankind on Earth in form of literature that specially designed to unite all people beyond their inherited system of thoughts to appreciate all type of volunteering for integrated action in favor of SDGs as essential contemporary need. (We have already designed the project that would not need any extra effort or cost for its implementation)


Furthermore it would help the UN bodies……


(3) To serve a common subject to empower the United Nations as a body to aid in formulating a straightforward and direct relationship with the public at the grass roots level through academia hubs, to ensure the safety and morality of our future generation.

For further information in this regard, please overview this post…

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/un-sdgs-nowhere-near-path-success-ajay-singh/


Thanks for the time and review, looking forward for your response for further clarification.

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Aisha Aboshala
02.12.2020
Hi Tom, and thank you again
In my country, there are many volunteers and human rights workers who work hard to preserve these rights, but these workers and volunteers face risks of kidnapping and being killed, especially since there is only rare cooperation between the state and these volunteers regarding transparency and accountability, especially because of The inappropriate political and security situation
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In reply to by aisha1996

Tom Bannister
03.12.2020
Thank you Aisha for raising this very important point around the safety and security of volunteers.

Id like to invite other discussion members to comment and share examples of how volunteers have been integrated into crisis responses or into policies or strategies in fragile contexts, in ways that ensure they are protected from harm.
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Vincent Odigie
03.12.2020
Hello Tom, The National Youth Service Corps,NYSC program in Nigeria ,one would say provide the best safety platform for Corps members willing to volunteer for agencies responding to crisis, this is because the program has a government policy structure which outline the safety procedure of every member for the period of service. I did my service year in Kogi state and at a time the security level in the state was at a record high, most of the agencies we volunteerd for responding to crisis had the needed backing of security operatives mainly because of our presence and work with them.

The program ends and thousands of willing volunteers are not interested in taking action because there's no other platform with a policy statement that guarantee their safety. volunteers in Nigeria rely heavily on the Federal or local security operatives in areas they work for safety, these security personnels are overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing security for their respective post , and Volunteers safety needs are really secondary.
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In reply to by Vincent

Tom Bannister
04.12.2020
Thanks Vincent, that is a really interesting reflection to make about volunteering where there are safety and security concerns
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Sarah Igobwa
02.12.2020
Thank you Tom. There could be many success stories that I may not know but there are NGOs that include volunteering services in their annual budget such that when the need arises, they are able to source out these volunteers to assist them in different areas. Community volunteers in health are involved in urban slams to educate the community and the NGO supports them with airtime, transport and some money to buy lunch. These volunteers also assist to reduce work loads in the offices. They bring in alot of knowledge and they also gain alot of experience. They are flexible in terms of working hours. Different NGOs may need different services and depending on the budget they have.
We have women in the rural areas who are ready and wiiling to volunteer in their community. But due to luck of funds, they cannot volunteer though they see there is a need. The NGOs should identify the where there is a need through the community alternatively also identify the informal volunteers that are working towards a particular goal. For example, those who distribute food to the needy children on the street can be identified during festive seasons. These volunteers can be identified by NGOs and be trained, supported and even be called upon during disasters like landslide and during floods etc. Women in the rural areas need to volunteer in their own region. NGOs can use the retired women to support in ideas that can lead to achieving the SDGs since they understand the needs of their region better. But they need to know what SDGs are and volunteer towards it. So far, there are no efforts i can see that NGOs involve women to volunteer in the rural ares.
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In reply to by Sarah Igobwa

Tom Bannister
04.12.2020
Thanks Sarah again for making some great points and sharing some ideas. I hope that we can get other discussion members to also reflect on how to engage and support informal and community volunteers in ways that are fair and mutually beneficial

Im interested if any other discussion group members can share examples of policies or programmes that focus on gender equality which include support for women community volunteers?
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Vincent Odigie
30.11.2020
Good afternoon everyone from Nigeria.

Looking at submission form Africa participants, you're notice the trend of a willingness to act but with little or no support for volunteers especially volunteers championing the SDGs in rural areas.

What plans have UNV drafted to address this? I'll share a story, November 20th was Universal children's day and Nigeria Volunteers Network partnered with a member organization to drive Goal 4 , as usual we'll always share details of our programs on our general online space with more than 120 volunteers and organizations from every state in Nigeria, the news was welcomed but other volunteers and organizations wanted to be a part but with no access to funding and structures we couldn't do much, luckily we had already designed an Art leaning resource for the purpose and invited our members to download print and donate to children in their community.

An attempt to act without the required resources will slowly fade the thought of taking action,yes we're pushing for volunteers to engage in areas funds are not a serious requirements for implementation , but our Nigeria system where there are no structural design and approach to voluntreerisn is a set back for many.

Also it's difficult to get response or feedback from the UN or UNV as relates to support or endorsement of SDGs projects, not necessarily funding support, but a recognition and thumbs up support, truth be told, individuals and organizations (local) would be more willing to lend support to volunteers championing the SDGs when the UNV support note is attached,it's a Nigeria thing and growing by the day

Support is needed by volunteers , words of encouragement , letter of appreciation, a platform to be heard, like we're having now and many more.

Sorry for the errors, looking at submission from Africa participants you'll notice the trend....

Nigeria Volunteers Network is utilizing "Giving Tuesday" to reach out to communities online and offline to support volunteers

Find our Postcard link below

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/s/?view=att&th=1761889dae9692ad&attid=0.1&disp=attd&safe=1&zw

The SDGs learning resource:

Goal 1. No PovertyThe rat is poor because it does not know how to save anything as a result it's always stealing. The 🐜 is Rich and never begs because it does not waste any resources.

Goal 2. Zero Hunger
It is hunger that made the giraffe🦒 have a long neck. Say no to hunger.

Goal 3. Good Health and Well-being. The lady bug🐞 is beautiful and healthy because she takes responsibility for her health and well-being. She is neat and she eats balance diet🍏🍎🥬🥦🌽🌶️🥒🥚🍗🍚

Goal 4. Quality Education. The Lion🦁 is the King of the Jungle because he has a balanced and quality knowledge of all the animals in the jungle.

Goal 5. Gender Equality. 🛩️🛩️🛩️ No plane flies on one wing, no car 🚗🚗 runs on two wheel for an effective and productive society boys and girls should be given equal opportunities.

Nigeria Volunteers Network is designing the above fun illustrative stories into a learning resource for primary schools , the goal is for children to have a creative and imaginative knowledge of the seventeen SDGs

We'll welcome suggestions and necessary addition from participants and the UNV

There is also another resource been designed for senior classes..
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Sarah Igobwa
26.11.2020
Hallo everyone, my name is Sarah from Kenya. I could say, I am an informal volunteer since I have a passion to work alongside women in the rural area of western Kenya particularly to achieve goal 1,2 and 3 through agriculture. Through my observation, most volunteers are informal. What limits them in what they would like to achieve is limited finances. Our governments work on budgets where sometimes supporting volunteerism may not be a priority. However, if the government could collaborate with NGOs and come up with mechanisms that can support volunteers, there will be many volunteers coming up from both rural and urban areas.
In some areas, healthcare volunteers can be seen moving around and educating the community if there are any outbreaks of diseases. Eg malaria. They then distribute mosquitoes nets and very few cases of malaria patients are realised. In urban areas, we have those who visit Cancer kids in hospitals to give them hope. But they can only do if for a period of time because of limited funds.
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In reply to by Sarah Igobwa

Tom Bannister
30.11.2020
Thank you Sarah for your really interesting perspectives. Its great that you have brought up the topic of informal volunteerism, which makes up the majority of volunteering done but is often a bit forgotten about.

I wonder if you have any success stories that you could share about how government or NGOs have supported informal volunteers and incorporated them into their more 'formal' and recognized efforts to achieve the SDGs?

And when you suggest that informal volunteers themselves should be included in designing support for informal volunteers, how do you think this could be done and can you share any examples? Given that most informal volunteers are women, it would be particularly interesting to hear if you have come across any efforts to involve female informal volunteers, including as a way to promote gender equality more broadly
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Juhee Woo
26.11.2020
Dear Tom,

Below are the answers I can provide from the Arab States.

1.How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?

: Many stakeholders in the AS region have launched youth volunteering programmes to build young peoples’ professional, technical, and soft skills. Bahrain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia have national policies that explicitly emphasize the contribution of youth to youth development and employability.

In Jordan, the Ministry of Youth runs Al-Hussein’s Work and Building Camps, in which around 20,000 people aged 12-24 took part last year. In order to institutionalize volunteerism, the Ministry of Youth has set up the Directorate of Volunteerism to empower young volunteers to respond and deal with crises and disasters - and provide assistance to those in need in the fields of health, environment, agriculture, to name a few. The volunteers shall be trained under Memorandums of Understanding signed with relevant government agencies and in accordance with labor regulations.

Furthermore, Jordan Volunteering Bank was also established, where “Nahno” platform,
operated by NAUA, one of the Crown Prince Foundation’s initiatives, in collaboration with the
UNICEF and partnership with the Ministry of Youth, became the basic foundation for this Bank. The platform offers volunteering opportunities across Jordan, and all volunteers can register in it. About 150 private sector companies and CSOs in Jordan have registered on the platform. Nahno platform makes it possible for volunteers to develop themselves and their capabilities by tracking down each and every volunteering opportunity accomplished by each volunteer.

Moreover, Jordan Volunteering Bank organizes the work of all entities and agencies involved
in volunteerism through an electronic platform and an application, with the purpose of enhancing their efforts and guiding all endeavors towards achieving sustainable development.

In Qatar, Reach Out to Asia has sent student volunteers to ten countries in Asia for community service and their skills development. Mandatory community volunteering in universities is taking place in some of the Arab states such as Jordan. Also, volunteering through schools at a young age is embedded in school curricula and the education system at large.


2.What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?

The minister of youth’s advisor of Jordan stresses the fact that one of the key aspects of supporting the need for volunteerism for the 2030 Agenda was to create incentives for volunteers. In this context, the volunteerism bylaws have been drafted in preparation for the issuance of an act, which will serve as a legislative framework for the rights and duties of volunteers, and create incentives for them, such as admission to universities, appointment to institutions, and redemption of the points obtained by volunteers in exchange for services provided to them from the public
or private sectors.

Also, programs run by the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity include a drug abuse prevention program, with ~29,000 young volunteers raising awareness of the campaign; the Pena initiative, by which volunteers assist children in orphanages with social & educational needs; and ‘Our future is in our hands’, where ~35,000 people were trained to participate in public work through their communities and raise awareness of local political participation.
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In reply to by Juhee.Woo

Tom Bannister
26.11.2020
Thanks for your comment Juhee! I'm interested in hearing more about the Jordan Ministry of Youth's Directorate of Volunteerism. In particular, how they are working to integrate volunteering into the work, plans and policies of other arms of the government. Do you think you could invite someone from the Directorate to share further on this?

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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Juhee Woo
29.11.2020
I will try to invite someone from the Directorate to share further on this.
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Yiannis Yiannaki
25.11.2020
In the Republic of Cyprus we have established a presidential Commissioner for Volunteerism and Non Governmental Organizations, in charge for implementing policies for Volunteerism, Non Governmental Organizations, Active Citizenship and Civil Society.

OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR VOLUNTEERISM AND
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
http://www.volunteercommissioner.gov.cy/

ACTION PLAN

Third Sector Policy: The Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and Non-Governmental Organisations implements the policy for the third sector in Cyprus. The four pillars are:
1. Civil Society
2. Active Citizenship
3. NGOs
4. Volunteerism

Legislation for the Registration of NGOs: We undertook important initiative in changing the Law that establishes NGOs as legal entities in Cyprus. With the support of the Council of Europe experts, NGOs and Governmental Agencies, the Cyprus Parliament recently voted for important changes. Transparency in their finances and good and democratic administration are the main changes in the Law.

Law for the Certification of Non-Governmental Organisations as Charity Organisations with the benefits of tax discounts: After our initiative and the support of UNDP and the Council of Europe, we have submitted to the Parliament the new Law that will determine “what a charity NGO is”, based on a transparent process and criteria.

Public Consultation Day: The aim of the Public Consultation Day is to give citizens the opportunity to express their opinions and exchange views about specific matters, in order to influence governmental policies. The Council of Ministers has approved the establishment of the 4th of December as the Public Consultation Day. The President of the Republic and the Ministers organise open days with the Civil Society, which provide citizens with the opportunity to have a fruitful dialogue with governmental officials.

Day for the Citizens: The Council of Ministers has approved our suggestion for the establishment of the 15th of September as the Day for the Citizens. In the framework of that day, we have organised an informal Council of Ministers meeting, with the participation of 700 citizens, targeting students from high schools, colleges and universities, as well as youth from NGOs. After the completion of the meeting, the participants had an open discussion with the President of the Republic of Cyprus and Ministers about issues that concern them.

Volunteerism and Active Citizenship in Schools: Our Office, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth, has introduced the policy of volunteerism and active citizenship in schools. A guide with good practices and guidelines of how teachers can engage in activities and initiatives in their school was distributed to all school units. Meeting with teachers and principals were organised in all districts of Cyprus to promote and exchange ideas on the best possible implementation of our guide. In every school unit, a teacher and a student were appointed as contacts for volunteerism and active citizenship.

In 2020 we will establish the “Adopt a School” programme that will create synergies between the School Unit, Local Society and different stakeholders.

By January 2021, with the cooperation and guidance of the Pedagogical Institute, we will implement a programme creating innovate booklet for each goal for children and youth activities for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The programme its for all level of schools.

Declaration of the “Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers”: The approval by the Council of Ministers of the Declaration for the “Rights and Responsibilities of Volunteers’’ ratifies, at a political level, an important document that reinforces and improves the Volunteerism Sector (including Non-Governmental Organisations). The Declaration establishes a common base for the support and improvement of the volunteerism sector. It also serves as a “Code of Conduct”.

Policy Paper on the Empowerment of Civil Society in Cyprus (approved by the Council of Ministers-July 2017): The Paper seeks to promote a discussion on how Civil Society in Cyprus can be active, especially through measures that can be undertaken by both the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and Civil Society. In addition to this, it presents the current situation of the organised Civil Society in Cyprus, the international standards and the vision for its empowerment. We have created a structured cooperation between the Government and the Civil Society.

Charter for Active Citizenship (approved by the Council of Ministers-July 2017) - Active Citizenship: It provides the means of how people can get involved at all levels of the society, from towns to cities to nationwide activity. It supports democratic cooperation that is based on the acceptance of universal human rights and the rule of law, values diversity and includes the whole community.


European Solidarity Corps: We have supported the launching of the Programme in Cyprus and we support the dissemination of the information. We strongly encourage NGOs and youth to participate in the Programme. The office was accredited by the European Commission with Quality Label for Volunteering.

Infrastructure: Every District in Cyprus should have a “House of Volunteers”. This way it will be possible to provide NGOs with small offices, basic office equipment, a conference hall and a multi-purpose hall. The first “Houses of Volunteers” have already been established in Larnaca and in Nicosia. We are in the process of creating a “House of Volunteers” in the Kofinou Political Asylum Seekers Camp and in the mountain area of Troodos.

Infrastructure for Humanitarian Aid: We have establish the first National Coordination Centre for Humanitarian Support in times of crises.

International Conference “ACT FOR HERITAGE’’ in Cyprus: On the 24th-26th October 2019 Cyprus organised the first International Conference for the Offences relating to Cultural Property (the Nicosia Convention), with the participation of Governments and Civil Society.

Electronic Platform “prosfero.com”: It is a friendly active tool between the citizens and the NGOs. The online platform “prosfero.com” offers the opportunity to NGOs and the Civil Society to have an active relationship, to get informed on activities, seminars, announcements, photographic material, useful information on the NGOs, volunteer work, any kind of contributions etc.

Volunteers in Times of Crises: We have created a legal framework for the utilization of volunteers at any crisis that will have a supporting role to the Agencies, utilize volunteers’ expertise and human resources in times of crises. We also provide insurance for volunteers.

Animal Welfare: My office, according to a decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic, was appointed responsible to coordinate the creation of an Agency that will be in charge of the Animal Welfare.

Recognition of Informal and Non-formal Learning: With the cooperation of the Ministry of Education and Culture, we are in the process of creating a road map for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning. In 2021 a pilot project will be implemented, with the cooperation of NGOs, as a first phase of the recognition.

Survey for Volunteerism in Cyprus 2017: For the second time in Cyprus we have a survey that shows the percentage of the participation of the Civil Society in volunteerism. The results of the survey show that the participation of the Cyprus population in volunteerism activities is 12,4%. Particularly encouraging is the fact that the highest number of survey participants who answered that they participated in voluntary work, either collectively or individually, are among the ages of 16-29 and 30-39. This may indicate that the trend towards volunteerism is changing for the better.

Annual Active Citizen Awards: The aim of the awards is to highlight important actions of active citizenship and volunteering in Cyprus, creating by promoting worthy actions, a favorable environment to encourage even more citizens to join the volunteering movement. Highlighting initiatives that contribute to tackling social, environmental and humanitarian problems are of particular value not only at staff but also at social level.

Individuals or groups of candidates for the following categories may be nominated:
Volunteer Workers - Private Sector
Volunteer Workers - Public Sector
Active Citizen (over 18 years)
Active Student - High School
Special Category - National Guard and Volunteerism

The President of the Republic of Cyprus awards them at an annual event at the Presidential Palace.

Programme for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals 2030 of the UN
We are in the final face of creating a programme for mapping and encourage activities for the 17 goals of the UN. We will create a platform with 5 pillars. Schools and Universities, NGO and Civil Society, Public Sector, Private Sector and Local Authorities. The Stakeholders throw the platform, they could input activities, create synergies, and they can adopt one or several goals

Cooperation with Universities: Empowering our policy for the recognition of the non-formal and informal learning, we cooperate with the Universities in Cyprus for the promotion of Active Citizenship and relevant actions.

1st Special Olympics Festival: The Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs, with the cooperation of the Committee of Special Olympics in Cyprus, organised for the first time the Special Olympics Festival.

We also participate in a lot of Committees:
 Participation in the Crime Council Committee.
 Cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and NGOs on the Prevention and Fight against Terrorism and Extremism.
 Participation in the Advisory Committee for People with Special Needs.
 Participation in the National Committee on Drugs and Alcohol Abuse, establishing volunteerism and active participation as an important tool to fight illegal substances and delinquency.
 Participation in the Inter-agency Working Group for the establishment of the National Strategy for Youth.
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In reply to by Yiannis Yiannaki

Tom Bannister
26.11.2020
Thank you very much for sharing this really interesting and long list of initiatives! Its great to see so much being done to support volunteers in Cyprus.

I'm interested in hearing more about your work to integrate volunteering into the plans and policies of Ministries and agencies beyond education and youth. For example, you mention the humanitarian coordination center - are there other ongoing efforts to have volunteering supported as part of disaster risk reduction planning? or do you see any entry points to integrate volunteering into environmental protection efforts or healthcare?

I'm also particularly interested to hear your views on the role of evidence in promoting the integration of volunteering. Can you give any examples of evidence that has successfully proved the value of volunteering to policymakers? Do you see any strengths or gaps in the evidence that you have to hand, when you want to advocate for stronger integration of volunteerism? and do you have any recommendations to widen or deepen the evidence base, so that it better supports integration?
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In reply to by Yiannis Yiannaki

Simone Galimberti
17.12.2020
It seems Cyprus is really a best practice in the EU. I am curious to know more. What was the driver of such terrific ecosystem? Plus it seems that the Office of Commissioner is pretty much an independent body, under the Presidency. How is it working? I can see some valid points because with such arrangement, you can really promote mainstreaming of volunteering across the ministries and sector areas.
Plus could you tell us more about the new school initiative you talked about and the upcomomng work of the Pedagogical Institute seems so promising. Focusing on schools has been a big issue emerging in this forum, I would love to hear more, thanks Yannis and GO Cyprus!!!
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Aisha Aboshala
24.11.2020
cannot answer the questions because the situation in my country is unstable, and there is political confusion that prevented the lack of adequate answers to these questions.
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In reply to by aisha1996

Tom Bannister
25.11.2020
Thank you Aisha for your comment. I would be interested to hear about how you view the role of volunteering in tackling your country's instability, and how you feel that some first steps could be taken to integrate it better into wider solutions to the problems? For example, do you think there is a role for volunteers in enhancing transparency or accountability? Or if one of the instability challenges is related to disaster risks - how are volunteers being supported to build resilience and what could be improved to make them fully supported as part of wider responses?
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Vincent Odigie
24.11.2020
Good afternoon from Nigeria ,I represent the Nigeria Volunteers Network

Nigeria response to the SDGs have been lacking in focus because a lot of people do not know what the SDGs are . There's no serious advocacy project to firstly introduce the SDGs as an information that we all need to be aware of, government efforts are tied to getting a special assistant on SDGs who probably will not be able to outline the 17 goals

Our focus will be equipping volunteers with information about the goals and creating projects for a step down from our primary school all the way to our universities

Volunteers are ready to implement but lack basic skills in carrying out their functions,a lot have been said about training but it's limited and organizations championing such tend to be selective,we can do more when and if we have more , the volunteers in Nigeria championing the SDGs only recently connected via the Nigeria Volunteers Network, and we're strained providing the much needed support for an effective voluntary service, the ten years we have to make the needful difference may be spent planning and implementation sidelined because of lack of government support and unskilled uninformed volunteers

In Nigeria policy makers need to know the role volunteers would play in implementing the SDGs before any action positive to the course can be taken,proper and accurate information carefully presented to create the space for much needed dialogue and feedback must be introduced, organizations must show willing to train and equip volunteers in rural areas.

The Nigeria Volunteers Network, have begun a systematic approach in addressing lack of popular information about the SDGs, we're designing an SDG learning resource for schools, detailing the 17 goals in easy to read stories for primary School and a broader approach to the goals for senior classes

The Nigeria Volunteers Network will present a proposal outlining the role of volunteers in the process of getting the learning resource across to every child in Nigeria.
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In reply to by Vincent

Tom Bannister
25.11.2020
Thank you Vincent for your interesting reflections! I have grouped your comments together into one post, hope that's ok.

Im interested in hearing more from you about how evidence on the impact of volunteering can lead to greater integration. When you say "In Nigeria policy makers need to know the role volunteers would play in implementing the SDGs before any action positive to the course can be taken" - what would that look like in the Nigerian context ? What types of evidence and on what aspect of volunteering? what kind of spaces to present the evidence would be needed and how could the evidence reach and influence decision-makers? Please do share any examples if you have them.

Also, do you have any links that you can share about the work of the Nigeria Volunteers Network including your work on SDG learning in schools?
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Vincent Odigie
26.11.2020
For the role of volunteers be taken seriously in Nigeria, policymakers must give it the necessary legislative backing. In Nigeria there's no out right legislation that defines what volunteering is, the role of volunteers and the organization to which they are volunteering, the right and responsibilities of the volunteers. As a result of this youths are not interested in volunteering their skills and that is why achieving the SDG by 2030 would not be feasible. The 17 goals are represented in every decipline, of which every year we have graduates in every field.

After service year majority of Corp members are not employed if perhaps we had a volunteer commission like which every applicant can dedicate four hours of their time every day we will not have shortage of man power in every sector
To get our policy makers involved let the UN office Nigeria propose a work plan to the Nigerian Governments with a time frame from January 2021- November 2021

WORK PLAN ON ACHIEVING SDG THROUGH VOLUNTEERING .

ISSUES : Most youths don't believe or are not interested in volunteering because the concept is alien to our system and there's no legislation giving it any backing by policy makers.

Activities : Stake holders meeting on grass root advocacy and sensitisation on achieving SDG via volunteering.

Advocacy visit to legislators ( Committee in Charge of SDG) at both federal and state levels.

Awareness campaigns with media houses, companies and vendors selling or producing children products.

Indicators: Drafting and Passage of the Nigerian Volunteers Act

Number of youths and graduates that can volunteer to achieve the 17 goals.

Target Stakeholders :
UN Country Representative Nigeria
UN SDG coordinator
UN Volunteers Representative
Minister For Youth and Sport
Senate Committee on SDG (upper and lower house)
State houses of assembly committee chair on SDG
Commissioners for youth and sport of the 36 states.
Head of ministries, parastatasal and agencies.
Media organizations
CSOs
Head of Youth groups.
Religious Leaders

The Nigeria Volunteers Network is working to design the SDGs learning resource, and would share with you before the end of this project.

Our website is almost ready, and you can spy out our objections,www.nigeriavolunteersnetwork.org.ng

See some of our projects with our partners Bellow

https://www.facebook.com/124011529284881/posts/168436424842391/

https://www.facebook.com/124011529284881/posts/149689096717124/

https://www.facebook.com/124011529284881/posts/138894601129907/

https://www.facebook.com/124011529284881/posts/126894108996623/

The Nigeria Volunteers Network will share more of her projects and success as we proceed
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In reply to by Vincent

Vincent Odigie
26.11.2020
Waiting for policy makers to do the needful wouldn't stop our advocacy to get information about the SDGs and vital role volunteers will play in achieving them accross our universities.

Plans to collaborate with student organizations and implement a survey project with key questions of

Would you volunteer for sustainable development

What role would you fit in

The survey will outline the SDGs and the call to action

Findings will be shared with the UNV and relevant departments with focus on best approach to activating SDG volunteers platforms in our universities.
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In reply to by Vincent

Osiman
09.12.2020
The issue around volunteering being an alien concept to young people is common concern across Africa. Absence of supportive policies is also a major gap that should be addressed. Hopefully, the emerging interest and commitment by the AU and regional bodies will lead to the desired change. There is need for champions to spearhead the changes at community and national levels.
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In reply to by OsimanM

Tom Bannister
11.12.2020
Thank you Osiman, can you share details about the activities of the AU and other regional bodies in creating a supportive policy environment?
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Raj Kumar Gandharba
11.12.2020
Hi Tom,

Nigeria government has just (3/4 days back) approved the National Volunteer policy. VSO has been actively engaged with partners to support the government for developing this policy.
VSO colleague from Nigerai will share experiences and reflection on this.
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In reply to by Vincent

Peter Tresor Miyalou
04.12.2020
About skills and knowledge,there are for instance some international organizations like YALI(Young African Leaders Initiative) that I'm a recipient.I've learn a lot from their leadership program.Whatever I've learned there ,I was able to apply it in my community even in my daily life.For instance ,encouraging the youth with academics,teaching them English as my country speak French ,providing academics advices and mentoring all free from charge. I encourage them to learn English because some knowledge I have in the language has open doors for me in the international organizations and in enhancing my knowledge in many area of life.All the best with what you're doing,cheer up
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In reply to by laverdad710

Tom Bannister
04.12.2020
Thanks Peter for sharing about YALI, that is interesting. Do you know of any specific focus that YALI has placed on volunteering in its strategies or programmes? e.g. as a means to enable peer-to-peer learning or expand the reach of its leadership programme beyond direct recipients

If you could invite other YALI members to come on and share more, with a focus on the volunteering aspect that would be great
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Mohsen Gul
23.11.2020
Firstly, congratulations for convening this vey timely conversation. As the world gears up to recover from COVID-19 pandemic and create a 'new normal', there is an opportunity to rethink better integration of volunteerism in sustainable development at all levels.
Here are my two cents on the questions:

1.How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?
A: Few countries have explicitly and many have implicitly integrated volunteering into wider policies, strategies and actions around SDGs. In Pakistan, a national consultation with UNV field office and key volunteering stakeholders was undertaken in 207 which concluded in the need of having volunteering indicators built in VNR reporting mechanism at provincial and federal levels. In lieu of COVID-19 recovery, country is in process of forming the first youth volunteering policy in which such indicators and integration with other governmental and non-governmental structures to help further the SDG agenda. Civic engagement/ volunteering has been a surge in many communities. The reactive policymaking going on right now in response to the pandemic should apply a broader integration lens and contextualise importance of volunteering across the policy and practice spectrum.

2.What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
A: The answer is far more complicated than a mere yes and no. It comes down to how this integration is measured and reported. Unfortunately, national data ecosystem is weak and marred with resource and coordination challenges. The current governance structure in Pakistan has a social welfare ministry at provincial and federal levels, but most volunteering agenda has been taken forward by disaster management authorities (in response to emergencies) or more recently through national youth engagement program at federal level. The continuously changing priorities and no clear house for the agenda remain a key deterrent in the way to integrate true value of volunteering in the SDG agenda. The SDG Support Units in the federal and provincial governments need to take this up as a key agenda priority to mainstream volunteering across all policy and practice domains.

3.What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?
A: I have directly contributed through widening the evidence base around volunteering and policy structures in the country. There is a need to bring volunteering on top priority agenda and that can be done through evidence gathering and advocacy at all levels. UNDP Pakistan is helping the government utilise country's biggest Corona youth force- Tiger force- to recover better and stronger from the pandemic through youth volunteering policymaking. However, there is a need to bring all key stakeholders together to effective leverage this potential of young volunteers. At a global level, I am leading a global scoping exercise on youth volunteering and how the pandemic is changing the sector landscape.
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In reply to by Mohsengul

Tom Bannister
24.11.2020
Thank you Mohsen for kicking off the conversation and sharing your great comments!

I'm interested in hearing more about efforts to integrate Tiger Force and other volunteering into future policy-making in Pakistan. I remember reading that the volunteers are also being used for non-COVID tasks. I wonder how and where they will be integrated in the future and how this builds on lessons learned from the COVID-response. With a focus on integration, could you share more details of what you are working on here? Feel free to invite a UNDP Pakistan/govt colleague to join us of course :)

I'm also intrigued about your scoping exercise and the general question of how COVID is changing the volunteering landscape. Do you have any examples or links that you could share from the exercise that speak to the topic of integration?
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Mohsen Gul
26.11.2020
Thanks Tom, there is definitely appetite at the government level to see how Tiger force becomes an integral volunteer response bank beyond COVID-19 response and support the recovery component also. However, there is evidence from 2005 earthquake on how a national volunteer movement was put together but the agenda soon died as there was limited ownership and sustained engagement. There is a need to think of the bigger society agenda here and align this growing force into an effective volunteer platform.

On the scoping exercise, it should be published soon so will share that. Broadly, many high income countries are responding to increasing youth employment due to COVID-19 through paid social engagement programs which might blur boundaries of paid work and volunteering so a lot of thought is needed to fully understand the risks and opportunities.
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In reply to by Mohsengul

Peter Tresor Miyalou
04.12.2020
Your commitment is an inspiration,keep it up
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Tom Bannister
17.11.2020
Hello everyone and a very warm welcome to this online consultation on integrating volunteering, which will be facilitated by Katrina Borromeo, Programme Specialist at the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV), and myself, Tom Bannister, Policy Specialist, also at UNV.

If you check out the ‘about’ section above, you can see that we are looking at the following three questions:
1.How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?
2.What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
3.What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?

We have around 4 weeks to address these questions which should give us plenty of time to also look at new questions and themes as they emerge.

So now over to you! what are your examples and experiences of volunteering being effectively integrated into policies and planning where you are?

Few things to note:
- If you are reading this but you haven’t signed up for a user account yet, please do so – you need one to be able to leave a comment (see ‘how to join’).
- If you do make a comment, please do say a few words about yourself (position, affiliation etc)
- Feel free to respond to other people's comments and ask questions yourself. We will try to make this as much of a two-way conversation as possible.
- In case anyone wants to share information relevant to the discussion, but is not comfortable posting in this forum, you can reach me by email at thomas.bannister[at]unv.org.

I look forward to the discussion!

Tom

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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Katrina Borromeo
23.11.2020
Thank you so much Tom for the introduction!

I am very excited to co-moderate this discussion and hear your thoughts on integrating volunteering into policies and practices.

If you look at the data we have on this portal - http://knowledge.unv.org/laws-policies-scheme, more than 80 countries now have laws on volunteering while approximately 60 have policies on volunteering.

While this number is encouraging, these are mostly standalone laws and policies. There are still very few examples of countries integrating volunteering into wider development policies and efforts.

What do we mean by policy integration? There are quite a few approaches to this ranging from aligning volunteering efforts to national priorities to coordinating across government agencies to integrating volunteering in sectoral public policy design and implementation, for example, in Malta, the national strategy on ageing for 2014–2020 aims to foster volunteering among older people through national programmes and an online platform (http://knowledge.unv.org/country/malta)

Do you have other examples on how countries have integrated volunteering into policies and practices? What do you think are the lessons learned and some opportunities and challenges ahead?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
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In reply to by Tom Bannister

Peter Tresor Miyalou
04.12.2020
I'm Peter Tresor Miyalou,PhD candidate in Public Management at Central South University,China.I'm originally from the Republic of Congo.
1.How have public policies or strategies in your country integrated volunteering into wider efforts to achieve the SDGs?
A: Out of the 17 SDGs, the Republic of Congo only agree to implement in the national level to 14 SDGs excluded the SDGs 6, 14 and 17.
About the public policies or strategies, the Republic of Congo since 2000 has integrated volunteering in public policies to achieve the SDGs.We can refer to the Law n ° 9-2000 of 31 July 2000 which outline the national system of volunteering and the orientation of youth in its article 14, chapter 2 and the decree n ° 2009 - 404 of 13 October 2009 relative to attributions of the Minister of Civic Education and Youth.
2.What evidence shows whether this integration has added value?
This law n ° 9-2000 of 31 July 2000 tackle illiteracy in remote rural areas of the country. I don’t have data to support my claim. I volunteer for that myself unfortunately I was not selected that year. However, I have some friends who has been involved in this program who gave me some feedback about it.

3.What have you or your partners done to successfully influence policymakers to integrate volunteering?
Nothing from my hand. There are too many administrative protocols and process delay in reaching the key players who can be involve in making some changes. Therefore, in any way individual from the civil society can make their contribution to resolve an issue, they do it because they want to be the change they want to see. The other challenge is mostly the non-applicability of the existing policies in whatever issues it might be. However, I’m trusting that one day we will all walk the talk, be the change we want to see in the land.
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In reply to by laverdad710

Tom Bannister
04.12.2020
Thank you Peter for coming on and sharing those examples from the Republic of Congo.

From your PhD experience, do you have any perspectives you would like to share about how volunteering is addressed (or not) in education for future workers in the public sector?

If we are saying that policy and planning should better integrate volunteering, then integrating knowledge and learning on volunteering into the education and training that public sector workers receive could be an interesting area to explore
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In reply to by laverdad710

Simone Galimberti
17.12.2020
Hi Peter, thanks, how is the implementation of that law going? What are the main challenges? Achievements? thanks...
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