Volunteering has been an integral part of the lives of people and communities all over the world. Individuals and institutions benefit from the valuable assistance of volunteer workers who share their knowledge, skills, time and resources in the areas of technical assistance, social services, humanitarian support and peace-building.
The Philippines is a country which takes pride in its rich history of volunteerism through the “bayanihan”, the tradition of helping one another to promote family, community and society’s welfare. Through the years, this Filipino brand of volunteerism evolved to engage all sectors – government, NGOs, academic institutions and corporate groups to participate in volunteer service for development.
Recognizing the important contributions of volunteerism in nation-building, the Philippine Government has designated the month of December as the National Volunteer Month (NVM). NVM aims to build nationwide public awareness and appreciation of volunteerism, create the environment for voluntary action and recognize volunteers as partners in development. Since its declaration in 1998, NVM is a fitting recognition of the volunteers – modern-day heroes whose work is exemplified by commitment and service to others. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) on December 5, a global event declared by the United Nations, is one of the major events of the NVM.
The focal point for the NVM celebration is the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA). PNVSCA is assisted by a National Volunteer Month Steering Committee (NVM-SC) composed of representatives from the government and the private sector in planning and organizing the event. NVM activities include initiating and organizing volunteering events and activities such as advocacy and information dissemination, mobilizing volunteers for humanitarian, social services and technical assistance, and supporting volunteerism causes through resource generation.
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
The Philippine Government gives paramount importance to people’s participation as prime movers of development. Creating a self-resilient and self-sustaining nation entails proactive citizens who work hand-in-hand with the duty bearers through volunteer engagements. Filipinos are known for the culture of “bayanihan” where each and every Juan or Juana readily lends a hand when needed.
In recognition of the dedicated service of Filipino volunteers, the month of December was declared as the National Volunteer Month (NVM) per Presidential Proclamation No. 55, series of 1998. The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency calls on all government institutions including national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financing institutions (GFIs); civil society and non-government organizations, corporate and business entities; the academe; and individuals in celebrating NVM 2021 and together, promote volunteerism as a way of life.
The NVM celebration aims to:
- Build nationwide public awareness and appreciation of volunteerism and the role it plays in social, economic and political development of the country.
- Create the environment for bolstering voluntary action in development.
- Recognize the noble acts of volunteerism by individuals, families, institutions and communities as vital partners in economic and community development.
The theme for NVM 2021 celebration is “Volunteer Now: Spark Hope, Create Solutions, and Respond to Pandemic Challenges” (Magboluntaryo Ngayon: Buhayin ang Pag-asa, Lumikha ng mga Solusyon, at Tumugon sa mga Hamon ng Pandemya”). The theme is aligned with the current pandemic situation we are facing, encouraging people to be part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through volunteerism.
PNVSCA has identified simple but meaningful activities to commemorate the NVM this year given our current situation. These include two initiatives to promote volunteerism through music and poetry, namely the Philippine Volunteers’ March Translation and Spoken Poetry contests, as well as the BayaNEDAhan Best Project.