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“Make change happen, volunteer!”
Ha Noi, 6 December 2014 – Thousands of volunteers around the world shared how they are making change happen on the International Volunteer Day 2014 (IVD 2014, December 5th). United Nations Volunteers Vietnam (UNV Vietnam) celebrated the jubilee in a public event co-organized with the Vietnam Youth Union.

Almost 10,000 volunteers from nearly 100 Vietnamese and foreign organizations including United Nations Volunteers (UNV) participated in the Viet Nam Volunteer Festival 2014, which was held in Ha Noi’s Hoa Binh Park on December 6th as part of activities to mark 15 years of the Viet Nam Youth volunteer campaign and in celebration of IVD 2014.

With the theme “I love Viet Nam”, the outdoor event featured a wide range of activities, from music performances, knowledge challenges, photo exhibitions, to flash mobs and blood donation as well as a volunteer fair for various organizations to showcase their work. Mr. Dennis Curry, UNDP representative at the event, underlined the value of volunteering is in an opening speech, where he also conveyed part of the message by the Secretary General on IVD 2014.

Together with other international Volunteer Involving Organizations (VIOs) and national volunteer groups, UNV Vietnam joined with its own booth under the slogan “Make change happen, volunteer!”, which was visited by as many as three hundred Vietnamese youths. Core of the booth activities was My World 2015 online voting – the UN-led global survey aiming to capture people's voices and views to inform the new development agenda for the world (http://vote.myworld2015.org/UNV). UNV supports My World as part of its efforts to integrate volunteerism in the sustainable development agenda and UNV Vietnam took this opportunity to encourage citizens’ participation in the survey, increasing the local outreach of this global exercise. The UNV booth visitors also tried their luck in the knowledge challenge about volunteerism, which is now being shared on UNV Vietnam Facebook page.

International Volunteer Day 2014 (IVD) recognizes and celebrates volunteerism, with a special focus on honoring people’s participation in making a difference at all levels: locally, nationally, and globally. “The enthusiasm and eagerness to participate of so many young people shows the potential of Vietnam in tackling its development challenges through volunteering. It makes me even more hopeful in the future of the country. This is a day when volunteers really shine and so does their country” said Fiammetta Mancini, UNV Programme Officer in Vietnam.

“The IVD 2014 Event is important to take stock of UNV’s achievements in Viet Nam, but also to look at the future. Viet Nam has a well developed network of volunteer organizations and at the UN we must continue to strengthen partnerships with such organizations because they play a vital role in implementing the UN’s work in Viet Nam” said Emmanuel Eraly, United Nations Volunteer at WHO, who shared his volunteering experience together with four national volunteers.

This year’s IVD theme underlines the ability of volunteerism to help create open spaces for dialogue and inclusion, ultimately fostering the participation of people from all age groups, genders, and backgrounds in decision-making processes. This grassroots engagement is currently helping to build a more inclusive process of crafting the post-2015 development agenda – the world’s next plan for eradicating extreme poverty and achieving sustainable development.
 
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