This week was the 25th International Volunteers Day and the 10th Anniversary of International Year of Volunteers. Volunteering is becoming more dynamic and is responding to the changing times. People are giving their time in different ways – episodic or spontaneous volunteering. People enjoy getting involved in their local communities. Data from the report “How New Zealanders Give”, published by the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector, shows more than one million New Zealanders aged 10 years and over volunteer, and on average they volunteer 10 hours per week.The latest ‘Generosity Indicators’ released early December by the Office of Community and Voluntary Sector indicate the hours of contribution by volunteers are stable with indications of an overall increase in the percentage of people volunteering this last year.
The very first ‘State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) was also launched this week, on 5 December, by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme. An extract from the conclusion of the reports says: ‘This report has highlighted the universal nature, and underlying values, of volunteerism and the significant contributions that it makes to some of the major global issues of our times. We have seen how people engage in volunteerism as a route to inclusion, to achieve livelihoods that are sustainable, to manage disaster risks and to prevent and recover from violent conflict. We have also seen how voluntary action can significantly contribute to the cohesiveness and well-being of communities and of societies as a whole.’
So, in the light of these reports and days to celebrate volunteers, I’m sure many of you can also accept thanks for the contribution you make however small or in which ever direction. University students are an important part of that million and can contribute on their campus or in their local community. At Victoria, service and volunteering form part of the extra-curricular leadership programmes. Check it out.