Volunteerism—powerful means for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • Htun Tin Htun
  • Volunteerism is a basic expression of human relationships. It also forms the backbone of many national and international non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations, as well as social and political movements. Volunteers are more likely to develop civic skills, to attach more importance to serving the public interest as a personal life goal and to be more politically active. Volunteerism is in fact a powerful means for bringing more people into the fold, already expanding the space in which we achieve the future we want. Volunteers facilitate changes in mindsets by raising awareness or championing those changes and inspiring others.
    Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in national planning and implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening civic engagement, safeguards social inclusion, deepens solidarity and solidifies ownership of development results. Volunteers from the United Nations (UNV) embrace volunteerism as universal and inclusive, and recognize volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity. Volunteers can provide technical support and enhance capacity in all thematic goal areas. Volunteerism is a powerful means for bringing more people into the fold.
    Volunteers help leave no one behind by reaching out to people, including those marginalized or difficult to reach, to bring people’s voices and knowledge into collective actions. Volunteer organizations can serve as brokers of engagement, connecting governmental strategies and initiatives with complementary, yet essential, community voluntary action. Volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation. Volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction between governments and people for concrete and scalable actions.
    Volunteers deliver basic services, help transfer skills and foster exchanges of good practices, and add valuable international and local expertise through domestic, South-South, South-North and North-South exchanges, playing a particular role in this regard, by making their expertise available to public institutions as well as to fragile communities. Volunteers from the United Nations (UNV) contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UN Volunteers, throughout the world. Volunteerism is recognized, therefore, as a vehicle for sustainable development. And the volunteers from the Union of Myanmar are happy to actively engage in the implementation of SDGs.

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