The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for stronger ties between volunteers and state governments to drive development across the world.
The governor said this on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development marked every December 5, by the United Nations, across the world.
Obaseki said that the fact that volunteers dedicate their time and resources to take care of people who are not directly related to them – and sometimes, for little or no pay – makes the work they do very crucial and worth acknowledging.
He added that to encourage even more people to engage in such charitable venture, there is need for robust structures that provide opportunities for volunteers to do more in advancing humanity.
He commended Nigerians who have dedicated their time and resources to charitable causes as volunteers, urging for sustainable structures to engage more youths on volunteering to drive socio-economic progress.
According to him, “On a day like this, it is not out of place to commend institutions such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the various arms of the United Nations involved in stabilising nations and communities in transition and the generality of other charitable organisations working to bring succour to vulnerable groups across the world. There efforts have, in no small measure, contributed in maintaining global peace.
Stressing that this year’s theme, #VolunteersActFirst. Here. Everywhere, captures the need for everyone to commit to the ideas of helping others, he said, “much as we commend humanitarian organisations for their gallantry in upholding the true virtues of good neighbourliness and care, it is pertinent to call on more professionals to join the fold.”
Urging professionals to devote time to volunteerism as the hallmark in sharing their expertise with underserved communities, he said, “Together with assisting countries in conflict, it will also do humanity much good if there are more structured programmes to encourage volunteerism by professionals to enable them to deploy their expertise in helping communities with severe economic and developmental challenges to have a better chance at survival.
“Hence, it is imperative to integrate volunteerism in developmental programming as well as in acting as first responders in times of conflict.
According to the UN, the General Assembly invites governments to observe the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5, noting, “As a result of the resolution from December 17, 1985, governments, the UN, and civil society organisations work together with volunteers around the world to celebrate the Day on December 5 each year. The International Year of Volunteers aimed to stimulate national and international policy debate.