“Small acts, when multiplied by millions can transform the world”

Volunteerism is an act that has valuable contributions in terms of addressing pressing social issues, lessening the burden of people, creating a sense of belongingness and bringing about positive outcomes. On the other hand, engaging in volunteering activities is a rewarding experience for individual volunteers because it provides one with a sense of purpose, creates psychological satisfaction aside from creating a strong sense of community and belongingness, helping to learn about the culture, beliefs and norms of people from different backgrounds.

Volunteerism has long been a deep rooted culture of Ethiopian society that they have been practicing for long in their day to day activities and a value system that they give it due attention for its moral, religious and cultural importance.

Ethiopians, against the backdrop of challenges – economic, social, peace and security, are always supportive and extend a helping hand to fellow people who are in need of their assistance; regardless of any differences.

Currently, with the aim to further instill the culture of volunteerism among the young people and help them discharge their social responsibility, thereby foster a sense of national unity, integration, and build a cohesive society at peace with each other, the government has launched the Ethiopian National Volunteer Community Service program in 2020.

As it was stated, the program aims to promote a culture of public service, to foster national integrity, to enhance respect for diversity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence, contributing to sustainable peace and stability in the country.

In return, with the programs carried out thus far, millions of young people have taken part in different community centered programs and carried out constructive works.

According to the Ministry of Peace, since the announcement of the program, in eight rounds, 14 million young people have been involved in the national voluntary service; and activities that benefit the country and the community have been carried out.

Speaking to ENA, Chief Executive of the National Volunteer Community Service at the Ministry of Peace, Gemechisa Ticha said that, the National Volunteer Community Service was launched in 2020 with the aim to help young people play a role in building national consensus and sustaining peace. “The participation of young people in cross-border voluntary activities has a greater contribution to reinforce unity, solidarity and togetherness among the community.”

Stating that volunteers are playing a substantial part to sustain lasting peace, he said that they are providing services that lessen societal problems and benefit the community. Merely in this year, at the forums organized under the theme “Adwa for sustainable peace and nation building,” 5 million youths took part. To this point, through involving over 14 million youths at the National Voluntary Service programs held at different rounds, activities that are crucial to nation building and community development were carried out.

Mentioning that the ninth round of the National Voluntary Service program training will start before long, he said that 1,500 young people will take part in the training. In the previous eight rounds, encouraging results have been witnessed. For instance, it was made possible to support the youth to play a role in national consensus and develop a sense of patriotism and work for national consensus.

The work of nation building and sustainable peace is a multigenerational and a continuous act. Owing to this, the National Voluntary Service program was designed and has become operational to ensure its sustainability, he further said.

As part of this, an operational system is being prepared for the voluntary service and a digital system that enables the young people to exchange information has been put into effect. By doing so, a goal has been set for young people to be role models for others by making volunteerism their lifelong ambition.

What is more, the Ethiopian Youth Voluntary Association is being formed for this purpose, and so far 34 thousand members have been registered. Furthermore, to make the national youth voluntary service more sustainable, an independent procedure of the youth voluntary association is being prepared, he added.

Non-governmental organizations and the community at large to support the government’s efforts to strengthen voluntary services, he urged.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Peace in collaboration with Jimma University, welcomed the 9th round Trainees of the National Volunteer program, at the premises of Jimma University.

In his message at the program, Adviser to Peace Minister, at the rank of State Minister Kaydaki Gezahegn said that, the primary objective of the peace national volunteer training program is to support young people develop social values and moral standards, and bring about mutual understanding which is vital to the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries like Ethiopia.

Taking part in the National Volunteer program is a good opportunity for volunteers and an activity that gives psychological satisfaction to trainees. Thus, trainees understanding the rewarding experiences of volunteerism should execute their civic responsibility and leave their positive marks in the country’s efforts to create sustainable peace and national consensus.

He also said that, training will create favorable conditions for young trainees to become mentally and physically fit and to lay the foundation for social cohesion thereby making their own positive contribution to the economic development of the country.

Wishing the training to be productive and fruitful, Kaydaki also urged trainees to attend the training with diligence and strict discipline during their stay at the university in order to come out with the necessary ethics, attitude, skills and physical fitness that can be useful to carry out their services.

In his welcoming speech, representative of Jimma University President, Eng. Ephrem Waqjira said that, Jimma University has been carrying out various activities joining hands with the Ministry of Peace to make the National Peace Volunteers program a success and realize the University’s motto: “We are in the community,” from the 1st to the 9th round. We have also practically proved that we are ambassadors of peace.”

While talking about the training and the responsibility expected from trainees Eng. Ephrem said: “the training that is given to you has tremendous roles in terms of strengthening the culture of solidarity, mutual respect and social ties and making the national economic transition a reality by overcoming prejudice and hatred. Thus, you should serve the community with good manners and integrity in line with the knowledge you have gained from the training.”

At the reception program, officials from the Ministry of Peace, leaders and staff of Jimma University, religious leaders, elders and other invited guests took part.



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