The spirit of volunteerism has been a cornerstone of any society in almost all around the world. Moreover, this has been becoming a growing agenda of the development of the country, particularly of that the post conflict countries. Globally, the United Nations has been embedding the notion of volunteerism in its peace building and humanitarian activities through its volunteering entity namely United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
The spirit of volunteering came into the existence over the development process and need of time. Volunteering is not a new domain in Nepal as it is deeply rooted with our culture and values. Interestingly, many countries, including Nepal, are localizing the concept of volunteerism in their national, regional and local level planning and programming.
In Nepal, the government has been mobilizing volunteers through several channels to attain the development goals. For instance, Ministry of Health and Population has been mobilizing thousands of Female Community Health Volunteers in almost all the villages of Nepal - enhancing the community health. Similarly, a unique type of volunteering organization i.e. National Development Volunteers Service (NDVS) is established by the government of Nepal under the premises of National Planning Commission. The major objective of the NDVS program is to supply human resources in remote parts of Nepal aiming to facilitating the public service delivery and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.
On the other hand, many civil society organizations and international nongovernmental organizations are also involved in community empowerment through volunteers. At this stage, I admire their endeavor in alleviating poverty in Nepal.
The change made possible by all these efforts is now being visible in many societies of Nepal. For example, FCHVs have significantly contributed to enhancing the maternal and child health - leading to achieve the MDGs. Likewise, more than 9000 volunteers mobilized so far by the NDVS program have improved the public service delivery at the local level as well as promoted the spirit of volunteerism in Nepal. NDVS program also has helped in expanding the network amongst likeminded organizations including the UNV.
The lesson we have learnt through these experiences is that we must be able to connect all the efforts of governmental and nongovernmental voluntary actions into the agenda of national development. Such an agenda must be aligned to the national priority areas enshrined into the National Planning.
However, the revolutions in new technologies in this new era have bought opportunities as well as challenges to the conventional way of volunteering. The global context of volunteering is changing in a robust way. There are innumerable new and innovative examples of volunteerism around the world. These are the ways that people can be engaged, that people's action can be made a driving force in helping us achieve our development goals. In this situation, a new supportive volunteering modality as well as facility is much needed for us to facilitate more and better volunteering opportunities for all while at the same time helping maximize the contribution of volunteerism for national development.
Today we are marking the International Volunteers Day, 2014 with the theme "People's Participation". On the auspicious occasion, I, on behalf of National Development Volunteer Service (NDVS), invite all the volunteers and voluntary organizations to come forward with the spirit of volunteerism so as to contribute to the nation building.
Mr. Shiv Raj Chaulagain