International Volunteer Day celebrated in Opuwo

06 Dec 2013 19:10pm
OPUWO, 06 DEC (NAMPA) - International Volunteer Day was celebrated at Opuwo in the Kunene Region on Thursday.
Speaking at the event, Kunene Regional Governor Josua //Hoebeb called on the youth of Namibia to apply their energy and talents to volunteering to further enhance national development.
“I am proud of the tremendous contribution of volunteers to the work of Government, and inspired by their dedication and commitment. The government recognises the important role of volunteerism in sustainable human development,” he said.
He added that volunteering is also a powerful tool for maximising the potential of the youth.
“International Volunteer Day is a day to reflect on the contribution of volunteers world-wide to development. On this day, the Namibian Government is celebrating the contributions of volunteers towards creating a better Namibia for all of us,” he noted.
The governor commended the National Youth Service (NYS) and the National Youth Council (NYC) for their roles in mobilising the youth towards volunteerism.
“We are here in a free Namibia because of many volunteers who fought during the armed struggle to obtain independence. After Independence, we had huge projects such as the Tsumeb-Oshikango railway line that were realised because of volunteers. Marked improvements in the health service delivery, especially at community level, are attributed to the work of volunteers,” //Hoebeb added.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Chairperson of the National Volunteer for Development Coordinating Committee, Jonathan Kambirongo said the concept of volunteerism is not new in Namibia as many Namibians have been practicing volunteerism “since time immemorial”.
He said Namibians have been helping each other with the cultivating of fields or building of houses, and they are given just a token of appreciation in the form of food or traditional brewed drinks.
“Volunteers, in both rich and poor countries, have traditionally worked without compensation, being essentially motivated by the high impulse of caring for others. They devote part of their time to volunteering in a given capacity while utilising a substantial part of their time to doing a job or business from which they earn a living,” Kambirongo noted.
He added that volunteers receive no compensation, but may receive a reimbursement for necessary expenses such as transport costs which they might incur while doing their work.
“In countries with very high unemployment levels, with Namibia being no exception, many people who volunteer their services are often unemployed and quite poor. In such situations where there is access to donor funding, it is common for some monetary compensation to be paid to the volunteers as a way of rewarding or encouraging them,” he said.
This, according to Kambirongo, not only adds to the confusion over whether or not volunteers ought to be paid, but also represents a challenge to the practice of true volunteerism, as word begins to go round that volunteers ought to be paid and many people start becoming reluctant to volunteer their services without a promise of payment.
International Volunteer Day is celebrated on 05 December worldwide annually. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Young.Global.Active’.