"Feria Sprimenta Voluntariado" - UNV and FAO joining hands with Civil Society to promote volunteerism in fight against Poverty and Hunger
United Nations, Praia, April 30, 2011 - The youth and civil society of the Island of Santiago came together and demonstrated their will to fight Poverty and Hunger (MDG1) through active civic engagement and volunteerism. Marking on the Global Youth Service Day, activities were organized in more than 100 countries during the month of April, making it the largest annual celebration of young volunteers. The event in Cape Verde was organized and coordinated by the UN Volunteers working with the National Volunteer Program (PNV). This was also the launching event of the UNV activities for 2011 in Cape Verde, commemorating the tenth anniversary of International Year of Volunteerism.
PNV was established in 2009 as partnership between One UN/UNV, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the NGO's Platform. As a result of on-going efforts by all stakeholders, PNV now plays a vital role in mobilizing civil society and supporting young people to exercise their right to actively participate in the country's development through the promotion of volunteer services.
More than 100 volunteers were mobilized for this event and hundreds more people gathered to take part in this global initiative. The stands were made from recycled materials as part of an environmental volunteer project and were used by participating organizations to present information to the public. The topics presented ranged from community service and service learning to youth empowerment activities that could benefit our communities, societies and the World as a whole.
The participating organizations were: Association for Disadvantage Children (ACRIDES), Cape Verdean Women's Organization (OMCV), Cape Verdean Institution for Adolescence (ICA), Caritas, Civil Protection Group, Development and Environment Protection Association (ADAD), Foundation of Cape Verdean Solidarity, National Program Against Poverty (PNLP), NGO Platforms, Praia Youth Center (CEJ), Peace Corps, Rádio Educativa, and Red Cross. The Ministry of Youth and the United Nations also played a vital role in the event, addressing the issues related to Volunteerism and MDGs, in line with the Government development priorities. Artists, dancers and theatre performers from Cirque Afrique, Grupo de Palhaços da Mocidade para Cristo and Grupo de Teatro Dja Sta also coloured the day with music and rhythms, sharing the principles of solidarity and volunteerism.
A whistle was blown by Frans Van de Van, FAO Representative in Cape Verde and UN Resident Coordinator a.i to kick off the event, reinforcing the message from 2010 Petition to End Global Hunger campaign (http://www.1billionhungry.org/) and highlighting that our fight to end poverty and hunger continues.
For the event, UNV and FAO joined hands to bring people together to address the issues related to Food Security and Nutrition. The importance of having a balanced and sustainable diet was underlined and educational activities stressed the need to make better decisions regarding what we eat as a preventive health measure. UN Volunteers shared the vision that by mobilizing people and working together towards a more equal, peaceful and sustainable world, we can help achieve the MDGs: involving different generations, volunteerism can be instrumental for positive social change. UN Volunteers also took part in food donation sprints which helped raise 200kg of food, later donated to the Home for the Elderly and Children's Emergency Shelter (ICCA) in Praia.
The event was a great example of engaging with the public under the framework of One UN in Cape Verde. FAO provided the expertise regarding the issues of Food Security and Nutrition at global and local level. UNV mobilized civil society and raised public awareness concerning the value of volunteerism in achieving the MDGs. The diversity of UN agencies working within the One UN in Cape Verde has considerably widened the range of interventions in the country. In this regard, the joint initiative of UNV and FAO demonstrates that combining the expertise of each agency, the UN System can better support the country's national priorities and achieve its main development objectives. By working together, we can make a difference.
*Article written and photographs taken by Masakazu Shibata - Communication Officer, UN in Cape Verde