The United Nations (UN) annually observes the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5. The day, which is also known as International Volunteer Day (IVD), gives volunteers a chance to work together on projects and campaigns promoting their contributions to economic and social development at local, national and international levels.
What do people do?
This day hopes to heighten people’s and governments’ awareness of the voluntary contributions. It also focuses on stimulating people to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad. Over the years, governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals contribute the International Volunteer Day through various activities including:
Voluntary community projects.
Parades, marches, or rallies.
Award ceremonies for volunteers who made significant contributions to their communities.
“Time donation” campaigns that involve people pledging hours of voluntary service to specific projects.
Companies launching voluntary programs as part of their corporate responsibility.
Activities and events for the day help promote the impact of volunteering and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, via volunteering to:
Help eradicate poverty.
Achieve universal primary education.
Promote gender equality and empower women.
Reduce child mortality and to improve maternal health.
Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases.
Help ensure environmental sustainability.
Many people participate in many of these events through the World Volunteer Web, which the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) operates in partnership with various organizations.
International Volunteer Day is a global observance and not a public holiday. Some organizations, businesses and communities may take the time to contribute to the day through activities mentioned earlier in this article.
Each year UN General Assembly invites governments to observe the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5 (A/RES/40/212 of 17 December 1985). As a result of the resolution from December 17, 1985, governments, the UN, and civil society organizations work together with volunteers around the world to celebrate the Day on December 5 each year.
In 2001, the International Year of Volunteers, the Assembly adopted a set of recommendations on ways that governments and the UN could support volunteering and asked that they be widely disseminated. The International Year of Volunteers aimed to stimulate national and international policy debate around, and to advocate for, recognizing, facilitating, networking and promoting voluntary action. The year led to a much better appreciation of the power of volunteerism in its many forms and the ways to support it.
The IVD logo is used to promote the day. The logo features two olive branches that encapsulate three Vs in a cup-like manner. Each V has bullet points at the top of each tip of the letter, so the Vs are drawn in a way to resemble simple figures of people in unity. The words “International Volunteer Day” are under the olive branches. The image, including the words, is in orange on a white background.