The Nigerian National Volunteer Services Department, said on Monday that it would soon launch a database of volunteers and available volunteer programmes in the country.

Mr Andrew Adejo, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), stated this at a news conference to commemorate the 2021 International Volunteers Day.

The day is observed on Dec. 5 yearly in line with a mandate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).The theme of the 2021 commemoration is “Volunteer Now for our Common Future”.

Adejo described the theme as apt, saying it provided an opportunity to seek solutions to present day challenges to a guaranteed future.

Adejo was represented by Mr Olakunle Fashina, Director, Public Bilateral Relations, OSGF.

According to him, when people are involved in resolving challenges, solutions are more likely to be feasible and more sustainable due to inclusivity.

“As a people and a nation, and for the sake of our tomorrow’s generation, we must begin to take responsibility for the changes needed to build a better future now.

“Therefore, we need to recognise, encourage and promote volunteerism now more than ever before so that we can create a more equal and inclusive future for our communities.

“This call is, therefore, an assignment and expectation from the government, individuals, groups, private sector and international agencies, to put concerted efforts in embracing volunteerism.

“This will serve as a veritable tool capable of creating the desired changes and progressively making impact in the society that will be conducive and appreciated by the incoming generation,’’ he said.

Adejo said volunteerism should be supported through a reward system to include timely payment of allowances/stipends, waiving payment of duties on materials/equipment meant for volunteering programmes and strengthening of volunteers institutions.

He said doing this would provide effective management of volunteerism for development.

“Volunteers at work should not only be adequately taken care of but also to protect their rights, privileges, lives and ensure their service duration are recognised and insured.

“Therefore, I urge all hands to be on deck to build a formidable volunteer spirit and culture so as to harness the potential inherent in volunteerism and work towards building a better future for the generations to come,’’ he said.

Malam Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer, Connected Development (CODE), said volunteers had important roles to play in reaching out to a lot of citizens in service delivery.

Lawal added that volunteerism was a way of giving back to the society and most importantly contributing towards national development.

“COVID-19 was tackled because of committed volunteers in government, civil society, media and in the general public, so without volunteers, we cannot build our country and even achieve development goal,’’ he said.

Lawal said that CODE would continue to support government to ensure that every citizen imbibe the spirit of volunteerism and humanitarianism.(NAN)

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