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Summary of events and Minutes of the IVD meeting held at UN Gigiru by jackl17




  The morning session was called to order by the Master of Ceremony, UNV Patrick M.
Mathenge who introduced the theme of IVD as “Volunteering to promote awareness and
achievement of the MDGs in the community”. Ms. Fatou Diop, UNV Programme Officer
in Kenya gave opening remarks and then invited United Nation Volunteers (UNVs)
including other participants to introduce themselves.

Thereafter, Ms. Diop introduced the Guest of Honour, Mr. Robert Palmer who serves as a
Programme Specialist at UNV Headquarters in Bonn, Germany. Mr. Palmer started wished
all present a happy International Volunteer Day and then relayed apologies from Mr. Ad de
Raad, the UNV Executive Coordinator who was expected to have visited Kenya and in the
process, officiate the IVD. However, he could not make it due to some family matters that
had to be taken care of.

  Mr. Palmer presented a slide show on the UNV Programme titled “Opening Doors”. He
gave a brief history of initiation of UNV Programme, highlighted the programme’s coverage
in the world and impacts that included basic information ranging from number of serving
UNVs and the worldwide assignment, UNV publications, organisations and UN Agencies
that partner with UNV Programme and major milestones. Others included organisational
structure of UNV Programme in Bonn and roles of various departments and goals of
volunteerism among other issues.

  In particular, the participants were informed that there were 7,300 current UNVs serving in
7,772 assignments by the end of 2004. There are 129 countries in which UNVs are serving in
various capacities, having been recruited from 163 countries. The biggest percentage of
UNVs is serving in developing countries with Kenya being one of the countries with highest
number of serving UNVs.

  In addition, Mr. Palmer urged the UNVs to be good ambassadors of UNV Programme
when out in the field. Further, he explained the Strategy for Africa that focuses on - the
youth; conflict prevention and peace building; the environment; poverty reduction, and;
combating HIV/AIDS. He underlined the necessity of giving good and positive results
where the UNVs have to been seen to be adding value in their areas of assignment. Finally,
he congratulated the UNVs who conducted civic education during the referendum period
for the proposed Constitution of Kenya 2005.

 Thereafter, the UNVs and other participants were then invited to field questions or give
comments relating to the presentation or UN Volunteerism in general.

 All UNVs were encouraged to document such stories as would be inspirational and that
can serve to change humanity for the better. Stories that could be captivating and
underscoring volunteerism, and with photographs where possible, could be posted in UNV
publications both internationally (via the UNV Programme Officer) or nationally for
example, in the proposed publication of a UNV Kenya Newsletter and the website currently
being facilitated by UNV Office in Kenya.

  All UNVs were encouraged to fill-in their periodic reports on time as delay or even failure
impacts negatively on the Country Office. In this regard, all the 60 out-going UNVs who
had served as observers in the just concluded Constitutional Referendum were encouraged
to fill-in their reports before they fully disengage.

 In connection to the question of possible increment of Volunteer Living Allowance, the
UNVs were advised to focus on delivery of service while monetary gain should be
secondary. It was underlined that though the monetary aspect of the service is quite
important to those serving, UNVs should be driven by the spirit of volunteerism.

  The UNVs were informed that currently their VLAs are processed through the ATLAS
System, which is rather quite involving. But in order to ease this problem, there are
negotiations going on with UNDP New York to try and be paying the VLAs through the UN
Payroll System with expectations of being implemented in the year 2006. It was also noted
that unlike in the current system where VLAs are paid in advance, once the Payroll System
is effected, the UNVs would be receiving their allowances at the end of the month.

  On the question of National UNVs securing employment within the UN System upon
successful completion of their assignments, they were advised to apply for the posts when
they become available. In addition, while being informed that chances for permanent
employment in the UN System were diminishing with time, the UNVs were urged to seek
international UNV posting for more exposure. However, to position oneself for any
opportunity that may arise, all were advised to keep on sharpening and updating their skills
as the UN System is keen on professionalism and efficiency.

  On the issue of security, the participants were advised that UN attaches great importance
to the security of its entire staff that includes all UNVs. It was retaliated that those working
in their home country should not take their security for granted. In addition, the UNVs
were asked to undertake the UN Staff Security in the Field training course which is provided
in a CD and it is mandatory for those on long term assignment. It takes 2-3 hours where a
certificate is provided upon successful completion. Thus, all UNVs were strongly advised to
strictly adhere to security guidelines as laid out in the UN Security Procedures.

  On medical and life insurance, the UNVs were informed that their insurance company,
Vanbreda International had released new guidelines that were already in use while lodging
reimbursement claims. This had been necessitated by large medical claims where some
cases were unfortunately motivated by deceit. All were therefore asked to uphold the value
of honesty and base any such claims on true medical cases. For emergency or in-patient
hospitalization that required direct payments by Vanbreda International, certain hospitals in
Nairobi had been designated to attend to UNVs. These are – the Nairobi Hospital; The Aga
Khan Hospital, and; the MP Shah Hospital. For more information on medical claims and
acquiring of Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) to be quoted in all cases including
emergencies, UNVs were requested to visit the Vanbreda International’s website:

 Finally, but not the least, UNVs leaving service were advised that they could get UNV
Certificates of Service from the UNV Unit in the country upon successful completion of their

 After the Question & Answer session, Mr. Innocent Kayihura, the Deputy Resident
Representative, noted the support provided by Mr. Palmer’s office in Bonn to the UNV Unit
here in Kenya especially on the recent concern review of VLA and DSA for National UNVs.

  On behalf of the UNVs and other participants, the Master of Ceremony gave a vote of
thanks and concluded the morning session.


  The afternoon session started with registration of invited guests who together with the
UNVs toured the market stalls/exhibition stands displayed by various organisations outside
the hall’s entrance. The exhibitors included: UNV Unit in Kenya; Kenya National AIDS
NGO’s Consortium (KANCO); VSO, JITOLEE East African Volunteering; Kenya Alliance of
Resident Associations (KARA); One Stop Youth Information Resource Centre Partners -
Green Alive, Youth for Habitat and Youth Initiatives Kenya, and; KAKAMUA group -
Ungana Young Friends of AMREF and Kenya Volunteerism Development Association.

 Thereafter, speeches were made as follows:

  Message of the UNV Executive Coordinator, Mr. Ad de Raad, presented by Mr. Robert
Palmer, UNV Programme Specialist, Africa Section
  Mr. de Raad’s message read: The first International Volunteer Day (IVD) celebration was
observed on 05 December 1985 upon commissioning by the UN General Assembly. Further,
the year 2001 was mandated as the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) the UN Volunteer
agenda began to be visible world-wide. The main agenda was to end the extreme poverty
being experienced by many countries in the world.

  Many countries have benefited from the volunteering spirit, since its inception of the UNV
Programme in 1970 that has continued to grow both in structure and design. For example
several governments have set out legislation that favours the volunteering spirit. Economies
all over the world have seen the value of volunteerism as it has enormously affected their
economies positively. And for volunteering to continue being endeared by many, the
governments and the civil societie organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) must enhance awareness of volunteerism.

 The existing barriers of volunteering spirit must be broken at all costs. A good reflection of
volunteering work in the world is in the disaster recovery and prevention where for
example the hurricanes in Central America and the earthquakes in Asia volunteer work has
helped save many lives. Volunteerism ensures that there is fast response in the event of
catastrophes. The combination of efforts from all will enhance and promote volunteerism.

  Statement from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) presented by Messrs. Maina
Muchara, Executive Secretary of KARA and James Foti, Chief Executive Officer, National
Council for NGOs
  Their joint statement addressed: The need for Kenya to do more in identifying the gains
made so far while drawing a roadmap to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by
the set timeframe. They acknowledged that volunteers work to make life a little better than
usual and thus they needed to be provided with the relevant information and support
required to achieve the expected results. Volunteers should work with governments in
designing strategies to meet the set targets while participating in local campaigns to raise
awareness of volunteerism. The main area of operation should be geared towards
eradication of hunger, poverty and diseases. The volunteers ought to help establish
universal development goals that are achievable.

 Further, actual commitment from all structures, governments and agencies is needed to
achieve the MDGs. Proper responsible policies and programs need to be put in place, which
should be transparent and accountable. The challenges that are faced by volunteerism

action in the CSOs fraternity included, financing of the required procedures to meet the
MDGs; lack of relevant data to work; lack of reliable energy supply especially when working
in remote areas; lack of clear institutional guidelines on volunteerism, and; limitation to
accessibility of some information resources. Others are inadequate security; lack of proper
working equipment, and; misunderstanding of the volunteering concept.

  Emphasis was laid on the importance of networking of efforts where all CSOs should also
partner to help achieve the MDGs and avoid duplication of efforts while the government
was challenged to demonstrate political will to fight poverty and create wealth. Regular
assessment of achievement of MDGs should be carried in order to give a clear picture of the
miles covered. Adequate legislation should be put in place to support the educational
standards which, by far would enhance people getting access to the wealth of information
available. In addition, qualified personnel in the CSOs sector should be provided with
cross-exchange programs. Above all, volunteerism should be based on motivation and

  Statement of the Administrator of UNDP, Mr. Kemal Dérvis presented by Mr. Innocent
Kayihura, Deputy Resident Representative (Operations) – it was read on his behalf by
Ms. Christiane Lan Kung Wa
  Mr. Dérvis’ speech applauded the efforts being made to fight extreme poverty and
HIV/AIDS through volunteerism. He underlined the fact that proper policies are needed to
achieve the MDGs and that the citizens of target countries, CSOs and the governments
should join hands to enhance their achievement. All quarters should recognise the efforts of
volunteerism, especially in dealing with catastrophes where for example, volunteers in
South Africa have helped in informing people about HIV/AIDS. Volunteerism can be used
to raise awareness of the impacts of disasters. Finally, the governments and other
stakeholders should create opportunities and better working environments for volunteers to
work with them.

  Statement of UN Secretary-General, Mr. Koffi Annan, presented by Mr. Paul André de
la Porte, Resident Coordinator of the UN System in Kenya
  Mr. Annan mentioned that the recent natural disasters like the hurricanes and earthquakes
have highlighted the purpose played by the volunteerism. Volunteerism can be used to
show the best the human can do to each other while breaking the ethnicity and beliefs that
do not support human development. The volunteers are the true champions of the work
towards achievement of the MDGs. The volunteering spirit requires a concerted effort by all
civil societies, governments, non-governmental organisations and all other stakeholders if it
is to be sustained. Citizens of various countries bring hope to the suffering through the
spirit of volunteerism where the efforts made should be encouraged and recognised in order
to bring a peaceful and prosperous world.

  While wearing his other hat as the Resident Representative of UNDP in Kenya, Mr.
André de la Porte congratulated the volunteers for their efforts in making the world a better
place to live in. He outlined that achieving things through volunteerism is not easy all over
the world, but the results are energising. He gave an example of the origin of volunteering
spirit being in Europe where teachers gave their dedicated efforts to uplift the education
standards in the 19th Century which bore fruits, thus the educational systems we see today
all over the world. He urged the informal sector to create more wealth through volunteering
and by so doing, achieve the MDGs in Kenya.

 Message of the Government of Kenya presented by Dr. Nehemiah Ng’eno, Permanent
Secretary, Ministry of Planning & National Development
 Dr. Ng’eno’s message said that all over Kenya, volunteers have promoted the awareness of
MDGs in the community thereby contributing to positive development. The volunteers
have caused advancement of social development and reduced extreme poverty. He
mentioned that the UNV programme in Kenya started in 1970s when the international
volunteers came to Kenya while the National UN Volunteers programme was initiated in
1996, here in Kenya.

  He added that the UNV programme is a good framework of achieving and raising
awareness of the MDGs and mentioned that some of the areas where UNVs have been active
include the Office of the President, Ministry of Planning and National Development as well
as at the NEPAD Secretariat.

  Dr. Ng’eno highly acknowledged the input of UNVs in providing the most needed
technical advice to the community in solving most the social problems. He gave an example
of the UNVIS programme that has helped in establishment of ICT connectivity at the
District’s Information and Documentation Centres, which are being used by the government
to disseminate important information to the people, and vice-versa. A documentary on the
success and prospects of the UNVIS programme was aired to the amusement of the
participants. The documentary titled “e-government” was said to have been posted in the
UNV-Kenya Website.

  After an interval, Mr. André de la Porte was invited to launch UNV-Kenya Website that
was put together with the help of UNV Unit, a UNV-Task Force Team and specifically by
efforts of UNVs Fauziya Abdi Ali (attached to NEPAD Secretariat) and Moses King’ori
(attached to the Internet Unit of UNEP). The website address was provided as:

  The portal was said to be an important tool in sharing experiences where UNVs were
encouraged to write captivating stories relating to their assignments and the positive
difference it is making in other peoples lives. In addition, they were requested to visit the
site and give comments on how best to have it improved.

  Commentary, Questions and Answers Session facilitated by Mr. Elly Oduol, Assistant
Resident Representative & Head of Enhanced Security Unity, UNDP-Kenya
  After the entire afternoon session of speeches, the participants made comments as well as
raised questions that were answered by the aforementioned presenters. They included:

 Question 01: What more is being done to disseminate information by the government to the rural

  UNDP in partnership with the Government of Kenya has already established a mechanism
to enhance information dissemination mainly through the CSOs and the NGOs – answer by
Mr. André de la Porte.

  The government is already working on an Information Policy Strategy to enhance
information dissemination especially through the District Information and Documentation
Centres (DIDCs). For example, the strategy would see producers and consumers of

agricultural products would be linked to the DIDCs. Over 2000 CSOs, including NGOs
would be involved in implementing the policy strategies of the Government of Kenya -
answer by Dr. Ng’eno.

  Question 02: What information should the volunteers get before going to the communities (to the

  The just launched website can be used to post important information for those proceeding
to the field, experiences of the already-serving UNVs and the expectations of the
communities on the ground.

  With the help of the government, UN Agencies, CSOs and CBOs, knowledge management
can as well be used where people would package all the necessary support information the
communities need. This would help the UNVs working in those communities to have a pool
where they can access the needed information of which it can be done by establishing an
information portal – answers by UNVs.

  Question 03: What plans does the Government of Kenya have to capture and recognize the efforts
of the UNVs, and other volunteers serving with the government and, or supporting government

  UNDP should bridge the gap between the government and the volunteers (CSOs and
NGOs) in order not to look like they are fighting but rather complimenting each others
efforts for the benefit of the citizens – answer by Mr. Muchara.

  The government is motivating the public sector so as to be at par with the private sector in
terms of volunteerism and service delivery. The government is also putting in place
networks that would bring cohesion between the governments and the volunteers (both
CSOs and NGOs) – answer by Dr. Ng’eno.

  In addition, several suggestions were made in that the local communities should also
invited to participate in the events of the International Volunteer Day which gives them a
chance to share their experiences and impacts created by the work UNVs and other
volunteers. Besides the speeches on commemoration of the IVD, several other activities
could be organised for the day or a number of days preceding the 05 December that would
enhance awareness and promotion of volunteerism spirit.

  And in order to ensure enough preparation time for the IVD activities, it was suggested
that the theme of the day should be identified at least by the middle of the year. The media
houses should be used to publicise and popularise much of the IVD activities, countrywide.

 UNVs were challenged to engage in other volunteer activities outside their main
assignments as a way of enhancing awareness of the volunteering spirit. They could add
value to the nature of volunteering and serve as coordinators or participants of other social
activities, for example coaching sporting clubs or even joining in other activities that would
be beneficial to the targeted communities.

 As much as possible volunteers should promote the spirit of volunteerism and also serve
as intermediaries between the government and the people more so in flow of information.

  In conclusion, Mr. André de la Porte closed business of the day by challenging the UNVs
and the rest of the people to go an extra mile to promote the concept of volunteerism, in
their own way. He added that UNDP has done its best, and would continue to do so in
future to ensure continued promotion and support of volunteerism while citing the recent
revision of the VLA and DSA for the UNVs. He thanked the Government of Kenya for its
major effort of reaching out to the volunteer community and also gave his gratitude to all
participants and guests who attended the IVD 2005.

 The IVD Coordination Committee


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