Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Asian Games volunteer work inherits the Beijing Olympics experience and advances volunteerism for development

The Asian Games volunteer work inherits the Beijing Olympics experience and advances volunteerism for development
The promotion of volunteerism for development through mass games was strengthened through an international forum on volunteerism held at the China National Convention Center on 22 July and theGuangzhou Asian Games volunteer leader training camp  in Guangzhou on 24 -26 July.
Just two weeks away from the 100-day countdown to the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games (August 4), the volunteer programme of the Games enters an intense phase of preparation.  As part of the Beijing Olympic Volunteer Work legacy transfer strongly supported by the “Strengthening Volunteerism for Development in China through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games” cooperation project, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Beijing Youth League (BYL), Beijing Volunteer Federation (BVF), China International Economic and Technical Exchange Center (CICETE), Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee Volunteer Department and Guangzhou Youth League, have jointly launched a series of experience exchange and learning activities in Beijing and Guangzhou in order to support the Asian Games volunteer effort and build long-lasting capacity beyond the Games.
On 22 July,  the "Volunteer China, Harmonious Asia - International Forum on voluntary service development through the Olympic and Asian Games”  held at the China National Convention Center for a full day brought together a diverse group of more than 250 researchers, scholars, practitioners, organization leaders in the voluntary field from China and abroad, volunteers from various organizations and youth from several universities in Beijing to exchange ideas and cases of how volunteers can contribute to social and development goals such asdisaster risk reduction, emergency relief, the environment andcommunity development, Leaders from the different organizing and supporting agencies inaugurated the forum by pushing the rudder of a boat thus triggering the unveiling of the sail with the name of the forum. After that, Ms. Silvia Morimoto, UNDP Deputy Country Director, represented the “Strengthening Volunteerism for Development in China through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games” project in handing a copy of the Research Report on the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteer service “Experience· Value· Influence” to Wang Huan Qing, Secretary General of the Guangzhou Youth League and Head of the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee Volunteer Department as a symbol of the transfer of the Beijing volunteer work legacy to the Guangzhou Asian Games Volunteers. Guangzhou accepted the honour by giving a gift in return. Ms. Morimoto delivered her opening remarks focusing on MDGs together with Mr. Wang Shaofeng, Beijing Youth League Secretary General, Mr. Wang Huan Qing, Mr. Zhao Zhongyi, CICETE Deputy Director General, and Mr. Guo Ping, Deputy Head of the Central Youth League Volunteer Department.
The forum included two parts, a main forum in the morning hosted by Deng Yaping, Beijing Youth League Deputy Secretary General, and a roundtable in the afternoon, hosted by Prof. Tan Jianguang, Guangzhou Asian Games Volunteers Research Center Director, and Prof. Zhang Xiaohong, BVF consultant. The latest research results in the field, precious experience from international organizations like UNV, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), and the Jane Goodall Institute, the role volunteers can play in large-scale events like the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo and the Guangzhou Asian Games were presented and shared among peers and with the public. Mr. Oliver Wittershagen, UNV Portfolio Manager for East Asia, introduced the work of the United Nations Volunteers around the world and gave a vivid example of how volunteers can be deployed to address public concerns and development issues with a thorough presentation on Disaster Risk reduction and Ms. Henny Ngu, UNV China Programme Manager, talked more about the way UNV works in China in the afternoon roundtable, where presentations by more than ten experts were given on a variety of topics, such as the state of the national legislation on the voluntary sector, community development volunteering and CSR and volunteerism. The forum represented a new step in the promotion of the Beijing Olympic Games volunteer work, providing an international platform and a solid theoretical basis to the Guangzhou Asian Games volunteer work as well as deepening the understanding of volunteerism for development.
On July 24, the "Guangzhou Asian Games Volunteer Leader International Camp" was launched at the Guangzhou Asian Games Center with the purpose to enhance the management level of 300 volunteer team leaders and encourage them to further apply the acquired knowledge and skills to long-term regular volunteering after the Games. Experts from Singapore, the UK and UNV as well as national experts from the Beijing Olympics gathered at the training base to train the group in how to manage volunteers professionally and effectively for mass sports events taking them through the stages of the Volunteer Management System, how to respond to emergency situations, how to communicate with the media as well as how to engage volunteers in community based activities and disaster risk reduction programmes. The participants were inspired to improve the quality of the volunteer service and continue to participate to volutneer activities before and after the Games as a means to address development challenges.
With approximately 60,000 Asian Games venue volunteers, 30,000 Paralympic Games volunteers and 50,000 city volunteers to serve for the Guangzhou Asian Games, the potential to further promote volunteerism for development through the Games is significant.
The project ‘Strengthening Volunteerism for Development in China through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games’ was launched in July 2007 as a partnership between the Beijing Youth League, Beijing Volunteer Federation, China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Volunteers programme, with the objective to harness the enthusiasm towards volunteering boosted by the Beijing Olympics to promote volunteerism as an effective means towards development. Documenting the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteer experience, sharing it with the national and international community and promoting mutual beneficial learning opportunities on volunteerism is one of the main objectives of the project in the post-Olympic phase.
Fiammetta Mancini, Partnerships Coordinator
“Strengthening Volunteerism for Development through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games”
Project Management Office
Office: 51601691 - 825/85320911-912
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