Volunteerism highlighted at conference


Minister Meriton addressing delegates at the opening of the conference

Although there are many definitions for volunteerism, it is generally described as freely offering to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, without thought of reward or popularity and image boost.

Volunteerism can be practiced on an individual basis, community groups, national or international organisations and many more.

The Volunteer Day was adopted by the United Nations general assembly in 2001 to recognise contributions made through volunteerism in the social, economic, cultural, humanitarian and in the promoting of peace across the world.

This is the tenth such commemoration and a conference was organised last Friday by the department of community development in collaboration with the national committee for volunteerism.

Present at the conference held at the International Conference Centre was the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vincent Meriton, principal secretary for community development Olsen Vidot and other high government officials.

Also there were faith-based organisations and the chairman of the Liaison Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations of Seychelles Bernard Elizabeth.

Addressing the audience, Minister Meriton said the Seychellois people have always been a generous one and giving has always formed part of our culture but that over time this seems to have diminished.

“Globalisation is degenerating cultures across the world and people are becoming more individualistic because of it.

The passion and culture for helping is fading away along with good values, so we must nurture and put back the humanism in all that we do,” he said.

“With the growing number of challenges in our society today, we need volunteers more than ever and I ask all relevant partners to come forward to do their part.”

After the speeches, the audience broke up into groups to discuss the different ideals of volunteerism.

The talks were based on topics such as the roles and values of volunteerism, promotion of effective collaboration between civil society organisations, government and the business community.

Also discussed were the challenges and constraints hindering volunteerism, and also the recruitment and recognition of volunteers.

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