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Online Volunteers honoured for their 'outstanding' contributions to peace and sustainable development

19 November 2012

Bonn, Germany: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme today announced the ten winners of the “Online Volunteering Award 2012” and launched a global voting campaign for the public’s favourite winner.

Every year, UNV connects more than 11,000 online volunteers with development organizations across the globe through its Online Volunteering service (www.onlinevolunteering.org). Congratulating the winners, UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri emphasized that “the award recognizes the contributions these online volunteers are making to peace and sustainable development, working over the Internet.”

In the lead up to International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December, UNV invites citizens worldwide to be inspired by the winners’ stories and participate in the global voting for their favourite winner on www.onlinevolunteering.org/en/org/stories/index.html.

The team that gets the most votes will be announced as the public’s favourite on IVD and be offered participation in a video featuring the impact of the volunteers’ contributions to the organization’s activities.

The jury of experts in volunteerism and development cooperation chose the winners based on their commitment and contributions, the results of their collaboration and their impact on the activities of the organizations they supported. Besides UNV representatives from Field Units and headquarters, the jury included:

  • Mr. Carsten Johnson, Program Manager, Cisco Networking Academy, Cisco Systems
  • Ms. Dimity Fifer, CEO, Australian Volunteers International (AVI)
  • Ms. Emele Duituturaga, Executive Director, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO)
  • Mr. John Ericson, Chief, Outreach Unit, Office of Human Resources Management, United Nations Secretariat
  • Mr. Ramón Gabriel Ansoain Aisa, Chief, Recruitment for International Organizations, Department of Multilateral Cooperation, Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)

The winners’ stories have been published on the Online Volunteering service website (www.onlinevolunteering.org/en/org/stories/index.html), where anyone can vote for their favourite winners:

André Demetrio, Camila Pessoa, Carmen Lucia Midaglia, Eric Bragion, Fernanda Luísa Pereira, Gustavo Mattos Trindade, Isadora Barison, Marcella Rossi Motta, Marcelle Antunes Alves, Nina Carvalho, Rafael Martins Dias, Raphaella Pinheiro, Ruth Ferreira Valverde: UNDP Brazil involved 22 online volunteers to spread the word about the Sustainable Development Dialogues, also known as the Rio+20 Dialogues. This initiative of the Brazilian government supported by the UN created a direct channel for global civil society participation in Rio+20.

Brad Roberson: Sharing his twenty years of experience in software development, project management and business process improvement, Brad Roberson (U.S.A.) helped the volunteer-based organization PCs4Kids to effectively leverage the support of online volunteers for their activities. The Dutch NGO collects used computers in Azerbaijan in order to donate them to orphanages, refugee centres and pre-primary schools in the country, refurbished and equipped with free educational software.

Bushra Ferdous Khan: With the support of MBA student Bushra Ferdous Khan from Bangladesh, the NGO Association for Global Humanists and Ethics (AGHE) Pakistan developed a project proposal, which was awarded an 8.5 million Pakistani rupee grant from USAID‘s Citizens’ Voice Project for being an innovative model for strengthening civic participation and improving public accountability.

Den Quinsay, Annabel Lim, Lola Zhang, Lucia Hlopkova: A team of 27 online volunteer writers, editors, translators, web editors and designers created an 800 page multi-media publication featuring forty young peace leaders and their contributions to the cause of peace. The special edition of the Youth Leader Magazine of the German organization Positive Nett-Works e.V. aims to bring their experiences to classrooms and communities worldwide and to encourage young people to take action for peace.

Dawn Brozek, Lucija Zigrovic: To further improve their assistance to victims of human trafficking, the Serbian NGO ASTRA Anti Trafficking Action tasked two online volunteers with researching and summarizing best practices in the therapeutic treatment of this target group. The volunteers compiled practical guides containing actionable treatment recommendations.

Dominique Torres, Lina Klemkaite, Mayra Juárez Denis: Three online volunteers joined forces with Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) based in the U.S.A. to help launch a community technology and learning centre in Soacha, a marginalized neighbourhood in Bogotá, Colombia. More than 1,500 displaced children and their families will benefit from the training offered at the center, which is called Soacha Digital Village.

Kirthi Jayakumar: Leading the media initiatives of DeltaWomen, an NGO that works to empower women in the Nigerian Delta state and worldwide, Indian online volunteer Kirthi Jayakumar contributed to raise awareness about the Nigerian NGO’s cause and create a tangible impact for their beneficiaries.

Kirthi Jayakumar, Natacha Borri, Pavithra Rajan, Petroc Wilton, Rita Sheryl, Sowmyan Jegatheesan: Using their writing and business expertise, a cross-national team of 29 online volunteers collaborated with the Association of African Entrepreneurs (AAE) to produce a 400 page compendium of information relevant to entrepreneurship in Africa, available for free download on the website of the Ghana-based NGO.

Pat Redmond: Online volunteer Pat Redmond, an Australian freelance web developer, helped the UNHCR Regional Support Hub (RSH) in Nairobi develop a Regional Shelter Portal. The web-based portal serves as one stop shop for technical information about shelter projects in East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, enhancing the development of contextually responsive solutions that provide for the needs of displaced persons.

Sandrine Legros: Online volunteer Sandrine Legros, a French lawyer specialised in International Administration, was tasked by the Benin-based Fondation Joseph The Worker to develop recommendations for minimum standards to be adhered to in the administration of juvenile justice in order to protect the rights of children who are in conflict with the law.

On International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December 2012, we celebrate our commitment and hope for a better world. The main focus of IVD 2012 is awareness of and recognition for volunteers and volunteer organizations. The purpose is to recognise this commitment, to inform people about the impact of volunteering on peace and sustainable development, and to applaud volunteers for their dedication and impact.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.

For further information, contact: 

Jennifer Stapper, Communications Section,
E-mail: jennifer[dot]stapper[at]unv[dot]org

Elise Bouvet, Online Volunteering service,
E-mail: elise[dot]bouvet[at]onlinevolunteering[dot]org

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)