Committee to oversee National Volunteer Infrastructure inaugurated in Ghana
A National Planning Committee for the implementation of a maiden National Volunteer Infrastructure has been inaugurated in Accra by Hon. Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection. The ceremony was witnessed by UNDP Country Director, Mr. Dominic Sam and other stakeholders of volunteerism in Ghana, including the UN Volunteers Programme Officer, Ms. Betty Simate.
In her inaugural speech, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur noted that even though the national drive for citizens to contribute to communal and national development through volunteerism has waned in recent times, the immense contribution of volunteerism to the development of various sectors of the Ghanaian society cannot be overlooked.
“Today, we have the opportunity, for the first time in the history of Ghana, to witness a first concrete step towards the establishment of a national infrastructure for volunteering in Ghana”, she noted. Hon. Oye Lithur praised UNDP, the UN Volunteers, the Ghana Association of Voluntary Organisations and other volunteer organisations for working closely with the Government of Ghana towards establishing the National Volunteer Infrastructure. She charged members of the Planning Committee to work assiduously to ensure that the objectives for the establishment of the National Volunteer Infrastructure are achieved.
On his part, the UNDP Country Director, Mr. Dominic Sam in his remarks indicated that having a volunteer infrastructure can provide opportunities for networking and exchange of ideas and best practices. He added that a volunteer infrastructure will also help raise awareness about volunteering, encourage people to volunteer and guide the policy-making process. Mr. Sam thanked the members of the National Planning Committee for accepting to be part of the team that will undertake this important and mammoth task.
“UNDP stands ready not only to continue its concrete collaboration at the national level but also to help in sharing and taking forward the significant recommendations that will come out of the volunteer infrastructure stakeholders meeting scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014”, the UNDP Country Director added.
Delivering the acceptance speech on behalf of the 13-member committee, Mr. Kodwo Morgan thanked the Minister and her team of Directors for the opportunity to serve on the committee. He noted that the committee is made up of individuals with solid and rich experience in the field of volunteerism not only in Ghana, but also globally. “We humbly accept the responsibility and assure you [the Minister] that with the needed support from the ministry and other stakeholders, we will work assiduously to achieve the task you have entrusted to us”, he stated.
The membership of the Planning Committee comprise representatives from the UN Volunteers, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Coalition of Volunteering Organisations in Ghana, Youth Development through Sports, Ghana Red Cross Society, World University Services of Canada, Voluntary Services Overseas, France Voluntaries, National Youth Authority, Youth Challenge International and YMCA Ghana.
The National Volunteer Infrastructure will include systems, mechanisms and instruments needed to ensure an environment where volunteerism can flourish. The UN Volunteers with the support of UNDP will provide the needed technical and financial support, where possible, to establish the National Volunteer Infrastructure. This will include engaging the principal stakeholders of volunteerism such as the Ministry for Women, Gender & Social Protection, the private sector, civil society organizations and development partners.