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World Volunteer Discussion Web


Monday, 25th October 2004 at 1:10 pm
Staff Reporter
A new online discussion forum has been set up to debate key volunteering issues on the world stage.

Monday, 25th October 2004
at 1:10 pm
Staff Reporter


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World Volunteer Discussion Web
Monday, 25th October 2004 at 1:10 pm

A new online discussion forum has been set up to debate key volunteering issues on the world stage.

Called the World Volunteer Web Speakers’ Corner it offers an online space for free and open debates on volunteering issues, especially about how volunteers contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The discussions will be held using ‘themed’ sessions and moderated by experienced volunteer sector leaders.

It’s an initiative of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program in partnership with the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE), Merrill Associates and OneWorld.net. The forum is hosted by Dgroups, a joint
initiative of Bellanet, DFID, Hivos, ICA, IICD, OneWorld, UNAIDS, and World Bank.

The forum aims to:

1. Help stakeholders from the volunteer community exchange ideas and opinions about the issues that affect their work
2. Provide them with a platform to make their voices heard by policymakers in
order to influence national, regional and global volunteer policies.

Organisers say that in real terms, this would mean that, the forum would be a time-bound, topics-based, and a result-oriented discussion forum.
Periodically, it would select a topic and that topic would be critically analysed; with examples and best practices being show-cased; a discussion on challenges and opportunities could evolve; and need for policy changes, if required, would be highlighted.

The Editor of WorldVolunteerWeb.org, Kanti Kumar says all the discussions will be condensed in a summary report each month and shared with the participants to the discussion forum as well as additional stakeholders in the voluntary sector to enable them to feed results of the discussions into national, regional and global strategies.

Kumar says the summary reports will be valuable inputs to feed into the reports to the UN General Assembly sessions next year on the Millennium Development Goals and the post-International Year of Volunteers 2001 activities.

He says the forum ‘s first topic is: “What’s so special about volunteers?: Volunteers and environmental sustainability”.

Among the questions the forum is expected to debate are:

-What role do volunteers play in encouraging environmentally sustainable
development?
-To what extent is there awareness of their contribution, among policymakers and environmental activists?
-What additional value do international volunteers contribute to
environmentally sustainable projects?
-How do they compare with the contribution of local volunteers and how do they complement and encourage the work of local volunteers and vice versa?
-To what extent are volunteers successful/unsuccessful in projects for
environmentally sustainable development? Why?
-How could they be more successful?
-How can governments encourage greater volunteer involvement in sustainable development programs through appropriate laws and policies?

The discussions on the first topic will continue for 10 weeks, until mid-
December. The discussions will then be closed and summarised. In the new-year, the forum will resume with new topics to discuss.

Kumar says this is an open space for debate, so anyone can join and participate in the discussions, in particular members of civil society, volunteer-involving organisations, NGOs, youth groups, volunteers, volunteer administrators, trainers, agencies, governments, inter-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Joining the discussion forum is free. Simply send a blank email message to: join-VolunteerWeb@dgroups.org.

In order to keep the forum secure and free from spammers, the sign-up process is not automatic. New members will be approved by the forum administrator. You may be asked to share brief information about yourself and your organisation. On successful sign-up, you will receive a welcome email message. After that, you will start receiving messages posted to the discussion forum. You can fully participate in the forum through email itself.

For more information about the forum you can visit the WorldVolunteerWeb:
www.worldvolunteerweb.org/events/ivd/participate/discuss.htm.



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