Headteacher Anne Mugisha, ACP in charge of firefighting Hassan Kihanda, Musa Echweru and Rosa Malango
The Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Musa Echweru has said the culture of volunteerism needs to be restored to what it was in the old days in Uganda.
Echweru on Tuesday joined pupils of Nakivubo Blue Primary School, a number of who are refugees and The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to celebrate International Volunteer Day.
He explained that the former generation of Ugandans genuinely offered support to those in distress without expecting any reward unlike the present generation.
“In this era people will think of robbing accident victims instead of saving lives. The culture of volunteering is more urgent and important for Uganda, as human suffering is not about to end,” he said.
The United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda Rosa Malango stated that volunteerism is part of Uganda’s old tradition that stemmed from community work.
“We will work to boost the Ugandan volunteerism culture with experiences from other parts of the world so that we can reinforce it,” she said.
The International Volunteer Day is held each year on December 5 as mandated by the UN General Assembly. This year the theme was Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.
It recognises the contributions of volunteers as first responders in times of crisis.
Volunteers risk their lives daily to care for people affected by conflict, violence and humanitarian crisis, braving many dangers to help others, and are driven by the desire to make a difference in the face of human suffering.
Echweru urged the UN to develop the Ugandan model of handling refugees to ensure that human suffering is minimized across Africa and world over.
“If other countries in Africa and world over took in even just a quarter of the number of refugees Uganda is taking in, we would not see such disturbing case of slave trade in Libya,” he said.
Echweru Urged the African Union and UN to move in and stop the current slave trade in Libya by setting all captured free and destroying the racket involved in selling fellow human beings.
He said other African countries should volunteer and accommodate forced migrants and refugees so that there is no need for them to experiment with the Mediterranean Sea, looking for better lives and end up slaves or losing their life.
Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of volunteers.
They also work with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming. During the celebrations in Kampala the Police fire department and Red Cross took participants through firefighting and lifesaving drills.
A total 17 trees were also planted to promote Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1-17.
Every year, over 6,500 UN volunteers serve with UN entities in some of the most challenging environments across the world.