Marking International Volunteer Day

11 Dec 2012

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The United Nations marked International Volunteer Day for the first time in Iraq on 5 December. The event, held in Erbil under the theme “Volunteer Action Counts” was attended by the civil society, students from Salahadin University, the Government and the United Nations. 

“The Kurdistan Regional Government is committed to support voluntarism in the region and in the country by establishing and implementing a joint UNDP/United Nations Volunteers project to support activities in the Kurdistan Region” said Mr. Zagros Fattah Siwaily, Director General, Development Cooperation and Coordination at the Ministry of Planning in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The United Nations Volunteers operate in 130 countries. “The United Nations Volunteers support efforts to prevent conflicts, help societies recover from wars, promote sustainable development, assist in crisis situations and carry out a variety of projects for the greater good” explained Ernesto Maio, UNV Programme Officer. The United Nations Volunteers resumed its operations in Iraq in cooperation with UNDP in early 2012.

“Empowering youth is a priority for UNDP in Iraq. This project is a golden opportunity that allows building capacity of young Kurdish people to work with the civil society, the UN and other institutions in Iraq” said Vehbi Selmani the Head of UNDP Erbil Office.

Rosh Sherzad Abdalkfren is a Kurdish volunteer lawyer who attended the event. Rosh took on hundreds of cases primarily working with women and girls who had been victims of gender and domestic based violence.  “I love to volunteer and to help people. My parents encouraged me to do so. They were also volunteers when they were young” said Rosh.