Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):

UNITED Nations has rewarded volunteers in the country in order to encourage voluntary services.

Speaking at the award ceremony in Abuja to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Volunteers Programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative in Nigeria, Mohammed Yahya said that volunteers have contributed to peace and development in Nigeria, especially in the North East.

He said the need to increase the level of voluntary services and encourage more people see volunteerism as the way to go in the country needs to be emphasised and encouraged.

He said UN Volunteers have demonstrated so much strength and resilience in contributing to peace and development, adding that: “I saw the work of nation volunteers especially in Borno State, north east Nigeria, working with communities, to engage in helping them in the transition to peaceful coexistence. The impact of volunteers cannot be over emphasized . for example the immense contribution in battling with COVID-19 virus at the peak of the pandemic in 2020. Volunteers have been at the fore front in response, helping to protect communities, raise awareness, support recovery from losses. These are actions they take to make Nigeria a better place.”

The Country Coordinator, United Nations Volunteers Programme, Nigeria, Veronica Obiuwevbi, noted that “one of the fulfilment in life is volunteerism, the only thing you can do to make people happy, and make our society better is through voluntary service. To contribute to peace and development which UN Volunteers globally stands for is for you to put a smile on other peoples faces.

“It is of mutual benefit because when you are volunteering, you also are putting up new skills, new experience, meeting new people. Volunteerism gives you an avenue to know and do many new things. Especially fresh graduate who want to volunteer, they learn a lot which they can not get on paid jobs, which in turn gives them free will and access to the next level”.

One of the award recipient, Dr. Oluwatosin Jegede, the National Programme Associate, UN Office on Drugs, shares his experience, saying: “I have been working with the government and private organisation, but what i realized is that, I needed to do more , I needed to protect people the more. I needed to do something that will be of national and international impact, in which my one simple activity that I do will protect a lot of people. What I have done is to give training to officers working at the prison in order to protect inmates against COVID-19. We looked at the training that fit in to their particular situation at hand.”

In a paper presentation, entitled Leadership and Voluntarism, Mr. Olajide Aribisala, maintained that: “There is need to encouraged more people to see volunteerism as the way to go. Now the question is always, reward, what do I have, what gain is for me. I can tell you that when you volunteer, when you go out of your comfort zone to help people, there is a reward attached to services, it might be immediate or few years to come it will always come. And people need to know that whenever you serve, you give your best to the community, there is a reward attached.”

The 50th anniversary of United Nations Volunteers was dedicated to volunteers who gave their whole service to humanity, also with award to deserving volunteers.

The country award that cut across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, had 15 finalist from different fields.

The United Nations Volunteers Programme is a UN organisation that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. It is also a means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development.

Meanwhile, some the volunteers given awards at the ceremony, called on Nigerians to make volunteerism as a prioritised labour, so as to achieve the desired goal of impacting humanity.

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News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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