BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 12 (PIA) -- People of all ages with a heart for volunteerism gathered at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Caraga Conference Hall this city on December 11, 2019, to participate in the Forum on Volunteerism for Development by the Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) Philippines. This served as a kickoff celebration of this year's observation of the National Volunteerism Month (NVM).
The forum featured a lecture on the importance of volunteerism in socio-economic development and in achieving the Filipino's long-term vision of a "Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay Para sa Lahat" or the AmBisyon Natin 2040, the nation's plan to attain a 'predominantly middle-class Philippine society'. Participants were then introduced to VSO, the world's leading international development organization that envisions a fair world for everyone by fighting poverty through the lasting power of volunteerism.
This year's celebration puts emphasis on the important role of volunteers as motivators, enablers, and leaders in development activities and the power of volunteerism to touch the lives of individuals and communities to inspire them to actively contribute and participate in volunteerism for development, encapsulated in the theme 'Be an Inspiration, Volunteer!'.
Michelle P. Dela Calzada, Chief Economic Development Specialist, considers the partnership with the organization highly significant to the attainment of NEDA's mandate of inclusive development.
"The partnership with VSO helps us gather champions and actors who will positively complement and contribute to the efforts of the government's long-term vision of socioeconomic sustainability in the Philippines," she said.
Caraganon volunteer Ma. Socorro Alcantara of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) of Surigao del Norte served the Tanzanian community for a year through the Enhancing Employment through Vocational Training (EEVT). She took part in coming up with case studies on the local projects, particularly on providing employment to the women of the community through enrolling in courses that teach non-traditional women jobs such as carpentry and plumbing. She encouraged everyone to share their talent and skills through volunteering overseas, as it is an enriching and life-altering experience.
VSO started its mission in the Philippines in 1964 and has been helping improve Filipino lives since then. The organization is currently focusing on combating poverty in Mindanao, as it is home to eight of the country's poorest provinces. They provide intervention through peace initiatives, disaster risk reduction projects, and youth and professional volunteerism. With a strong belief on transgenerational volunteerism, application for volunteers is open to anyone who possesses the passion for community and peacebuilding. (DMR/PIA-Caraga)