UN-HABITAT this week hosted the first Steering Committee meeting for the African Conference on Volunteer Action for Peace and Development to be held on 25-27 June 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Convened with the Arusha-based East African Community and key partners like the Brookings Initiative on International Volunteering and Services, and Cisco, the gathering drew representatives of government, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and other UN agencies, and non-profit organizations all interested in promoting volunteering as central to community-centered sustainable development.
Highlighting the UNV State of the World’s Volunteering Report and UN Resolution recommendations, keynote speakers included Dr. Markandey Rai (UN-Habitat), Dr. Manu Chandaria (Steering Committee Chairman), and Mr. Anantha Krishnan (UN-Habitat) who all cited the importance of volunteerism and service to help build better cities and better neighbourhoods.
Backing this up, VOSESA (the Volunteer Service Enquiry Southern Africa) shared the secrets to the success of a similarly-themed conference held for South Africa recently – emphasizing the importance of substantive organization around development issues and not just “volunteering”. Hon. Ephraim Keyembe from Malawi, said he hoped that conference sessions in June would provide practical development projects and approaches whereby volunteerism could effectively implement and scale.