Volunteering as a social change engine: who, where and why works for free
On Sunday, December 5, the world celebrates International Volunteer Day. This international holiday was introduced by the UN General Assembly in 1985 to promote and recognize volunteering, to enable volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to volunteer, and to encourage governments to support volunteer efforts.
International Volunteer Day is celebrated by many non-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, and others. It is also supported by the UN Volunteer Program.
Every year, International Volunteer Day is celebrated in more than 80 countries, and each year the UN chooses a different theme for the day. For example, in 2020, emphasis was placed on thanking volunteers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of 2019 is "For an inclusive future." The goal of 2014 was to emphasize the contribution of volunteers to involving ordinary people in decision-making processes, ultimately creating a space that leads to stronger governance, social cohesion, peace, and sustainable development.
Thanks to this year's "Volunteer Now for Our Common Future" campaign, the United Nations seeks to inspire people (or important decision-makers or ordinary citizens) to act NOW for the sake of people and the planet.
After all, when ordinary people are encouraged to take part in solving problems, these problems are likely to be solved, and the changes will be lasting. That is why volunteers involve local communities and create a movement that will help build a better and safer future for all of us.