International Volunteer Day (IVD) is a worldwide celebration of the many ways in which volunteers work tirelessly to create better societies. Through this International Day, that was mandated by the General Assembly on 17 December 1985, volunteers are recognized across the globe, and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) ensures that the potential of the day is fully realized.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme selects themes and campaigns to provide special meaning to IVD, creating a unifying concept for those who wish to join. The IVD 2016 campaign “#GlobalApplause – give volunteers a hand” cheered on the efforts of volunteers in peace building and sustainable development. The IVD 2017 campaign “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.” recognized the work of volunteers on the ground in times of crisis through events and celebrations in a display of solidarity.
The beauty of International Volunteer Day is encapsulated in the fact that volunteers don’t stop engaging, even on the day itself. In the very spirit of UNV, we celebrate the UN Volunteers, civil society and volunteer-involving organizations who are indeed 'inspiration in action' on IVD.
In Ghana, for IVD 2012, volunteers marked the day by cleaning up and decorating the children’s wards at the St Louise Marie Children’s Hospital, getting it ready for Christmas. In 2014, UN Volunteers in Arequipa, Peru, marked IVD with a candle light march for peace and development. In 2017, our UN Volunteers in Samoa celebrated IVD by organizing a rubbish collection drive in Sogi and volunteers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, organized a cleaning drive of Flamengo Beach. The emotional and social bond that volunteers create through their work is an aspect that the IVD 2018 campaign builds on, with its theme, "social fabric".
The campaign for IVD 2016 was "Global Applause – Give volunteers a hand" and was celebrated in India with partner organizations, with activities focusing on 'Youth Volunteering and the Sustainable Development Goals'
With all the excitement and enthusiasm of the previous years and much more, the IVD 2018 campaign – “Volunteers build Resilient Communities” – combines the recognition of volunteers with the concrete evidence from the State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) 2018, whose messages will be reinforced during IVD celebrations throughout the world.
IVD 2018 will recognize volunteers worldwide – with a special focus on local community volunteers – who contribute to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.
It promotes the Sustainable Development Goals and South-South cooperation in volunteerism, by syncing both elements with the campaign theme and thus, it’s not just a celebratory event, but an important push towards global development.