Global Focus Needed on Volunteering Impact
18 September 2014 at 12:22 pm
There’s a global need to maximise the impact of volunteering, the World President of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) has said in what could be his last speech in the role.
Dr Kang Hyun Lee addressed a crowd of around 1000 people at the 23rd IAVE Conference on the Gold Coast today.
Using a walking stick to make his way onto the stage he said that after eight years running the world’s peak volunteering body he would be stepping down after the conference.
Dr Lee used the opportunity to call for a new effort to increase the level of volunteering internationally.
“Volunteering is a high-value way to address the world’s most significant challenges. Our job working together is to maximise the impact of volunteering,” Dr Lee said.
“This means we must build a strong infrastructure of global and national volunteer centres. We must build the commitment of NGOs to engage volunteers as strategic assets to help them achieve their efforts, and we must build their skills for excellence in volunteer management.
“We must work to expand corporate volunteering, reaching beyond global companies to national companies and local businesses.
Dr Lee said it was also important to address both ends of the age spectrum, to make sure people both young and old were engaged in volunteering.
“We must develop a program that will enable every young person to become involved in service to their community so that they develop a habit of helping that will stay with them for their whole lives,” he said.
“As the world continues to age we must find new ways to engage seniors, helping them remain active and healthy while putting their skills and experience to work for society.
“Most important, throughout every country and every community, school, business and community organisation, we must work together to create an environment that places high value on volunteering.”
Senator Mitch Fifield, the Assistant Minister for Social Services, also spoke at the opening ceremony, telling the audience that the Government would aim to work in a way that would not disrupt volunteering efforts.
“I think it’s important that Government allows space for the volunteer sector, that Government doesn’t seek to do everything, that Government doesn’t seek to crowd out the volunteer effort,” Fifield said.
“Kindness really is the responsibility of the individual, that’s a responsibility that Australian’s take very seriously.
“Making sure that there aren’t impediments to the work of volunteers, that there aren’t obstacles.
“One of the best contributions government can make to the volunteering effort is to get out of the way and to smooth a path.”
Dr Lee said he saw a bright future before ringing a 44-year-old bell to open the conference in a tradition of the event.
The 23rd IAVE World Volunteer Conference is organised by the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and hosted by the National peak body for volunteering,Volunteering Australia.
This is only the second time in 44 years that Australia has hosted this international event.