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Maine VolunteerFare

Social Media Inspires Thousands to End Poverty

Published November 30, 2010

Within one day of its launch last week, almost 3,000 people had connected with the United Nations Volunteers' (UNV) Facebook page www.facebook.com/unvolunteers.  'We are delighted by the response,' said UNV Executive Coordinator, Flavia Pansieri. The page invites volunteers, organizations, civil society, and interested people around the world to join a global discussion about how volunteerism can end poverty.

'We can end poverty,' Ms. Pansieri said. 'But, overcoming the world's big challenges related to environment, hunger, education, maternal health, gender equality, and HIV/AIDs will require the engagement of millions of people through volunteer action,' she said. Ms. Pansieri said she is not surprised by the keen response to the new Facebook page. 'People are looking for ways to connect. The Facebook page provides an opportunity for all those individuals who are already doing something about the Millennium Development Goals to share their experiences and to encourage each other and to inspire a broader community to follow their example,' she said.

The UNV Facebook global discussion will build toward International Volunteers Day on December 5th,  and will culminate in a 24-hour film festival on December 4th, also on the Facebook page. 12 films created largely by volunteers and inspired by the actions of volunteers will be showcased. The stories come from all corners of the globe, for example, in Haiti, Red Cross volunteer Ruth Lombard Nerlande informs people how to protect themselves against the latest cholera outbreak. In Vanuatu, community volunteers are educating peers about HIV/AIDs through drama, while in Lao PDR, a UNV volunteer initiative to foster the edible insect industry is set to improve nutrition there. 'These stories don't make the news but they are changing the world,' said Ms. Pansieri.

Millions of people across the globe are active in every conceivable area of human development, said Ms. Pansieri. 'The challenge is to build meaningful networks so that volunteers deliberately address the Millennium Development Goals, while decision-makers empower volunteers through supportive policies,' Ms. Pansieri said. When public policies and legal frameworks foster participation, citizens are encouraged to volunteer for development, she said.

About UNV: UNV volunteers work in 128 countries around the world. Last year, 7,545 UNV volunteers from 154 countries contributed their skills towards to the work of 20 United Nations organizations, 17 UN Missions, and many local institutions.

About the film festival: The film festival will be hosted at www.facebook.com/unvolunteers.It starts on 4 December at 14:00 Fiji time when the first story will be posted and discussion invited. Over the next 24 hours, 12 stories made by volunteers will be posted. You can join the festival anytime, from anywhere. Films for the festival have been contributed by volunteers working with the United Nations, the International Federation of the Red Cross, Voluntary Services overseas, Peacecorps, and civil society organizations.

More than 3,000 people demonstrated their volunteer commitment to act against poverty by connecting to the United Nations Volunteers' (UNV) new Facebook page. The Facebook page will host a 24-hour online film festival on December 4th that will showcase films made by volunteers serving with the United Nations, the International Federation of the Red Cross, Voluntary Services Overseas, Peacecorps, and civil society organizations.