UN volunteers in Somalia mark International Volunteers Day 

6 Dec 2023

UN volunteers in Somalia mark International Volunteers Day 

Mogadishu – UN volunteers working in Somalia converged in the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday to celebrate International Volunteers Day praising international dialogue and solidarity. 

The event held at the UN compound in Mogadishu, was organised by the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) under the theme ‘The Power of Collective Action.’ 

UN Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho, hailed the UN volunteers for their sacrifice in working with the UN to deliver critical assistance to the people of Somalia. 

“Volunteers are the backbone of our work here at the United Nations in service of Somalia. Most of us joined the United Nations because we want to make a difference. We want to support. We want to help. Volunteers take it one step further because you are not remunerated like the rest of us. But still, you show up every day. Not only are you serving here in Mogadishu, but you are also serving in some of our most difficult duty stations,” said Ms. Kiki.

UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Representative in Somalia and Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, George Conway praised the volunteers for their service to Somalia, which has experienced unprecedented droughts and flooding due to extreme weather conditions. 

“I cherish the opportunity to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism, the spirit of community service, of solidarity internationally and having all of us work together to elevate the status and situation of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in the world,” said Conway. 

Despite being beset by recurrent disasters, Conway said, Somalia is on a positive trajectory of socio-economic transformation spearheaded by the Federal Government which is formulating a long-term vision for sustainable development covering the next three and a half decades. 

“Somalia is vulnerable, but we have to look towards a post-vulnerable Somali society. One that is able to reduce vulnerability and push itself towards an irreversible development trajectory,” noted Conway. 

Toily Kurbanov, the Executive Coordinator of UN volunteers globally, appreciated the volunteers working in Somalia for their role in supporting the country to write another chapter in history. 

“You think big, you act bold, and you care a lot. That’s what you share with the 13,000 other UN volunteers across the globe,” said Kurbanov in his remarks to  the volunteers at the ceremony in Mogadishu. 

Somalia’s Federal Minister of Youth and Sports, Mohamed Barre Mohamud who also attended the ceremony, said the event to celebrate the UN volunteers was testament to the collective dedication of volunteers -most of whom are youth-towards building a better Somalia and a better world.  

“We acknowledge the invaluable contributions of volunteers worldwide, who through their actions, express the principles of solidarity and shared responsibility for the well-being of our global community,” said Minister Mohamud.  

Eman Abusaada, a Palestinian civil engineer who volunteers with the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), as a facilities management assistant said volunteering is an opportunity to make Somalia a better place.  

“I am grateful to be here. I hope that I can make the change that can improve the peoples’ lives better and at the same time prove how women can be resilient, how people from my part of the world can make a change somewhere else,” said Abusaada. 

Marked every 5th Day of December, the International Volunteers Day provides an opportunity for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, share their values and promote their work among communities ,non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government authorities and the private sector towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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