Focusing on Millennium Development Goal #8 of developing a global partnership for development, Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa(VPWA) has earned the prestigious United Nations Volunteer award.
The Award is given out once per year and the recipients are nominated through their volunteer organizations in a call for nomination. A jury of experts decides upon who the ten deserving recipients will be. This expert jury includes, Ms Addys Then Marte, Executive Director of Alianza ONG, Dominican Republic; H.E. Dr Diala Haj Aref, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour of the Syrian Arab Republic; Ms Geri Lau, Head of the Youth Action and Volunteering Development Department of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); Mr Giorgio Guazzugli-Marini, Programme Manager of the Youth in Action Programme of the European Commission; Ms Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation and Ms Yasuko Shimizu, Senior Operations Officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The purpose of the award is to recognize online volunteers' contributions to human development and to demonstrate how development organizations can strengthen their activities through effective online collaboration with volunteers.
The award also showcases the diversity of ways in which online volunteers can provide support to development organizations. Also, their experiences may inspire others and thus help mobilize more individuals to volunteer their time and expertise for the cause of human development, as well as encourage more development organizations to strengthen their efforts by tapping into the rich resources that online volunteers provide.
The winner of the award at VPWA is Rui Oliveira, a retiree with more than 40 years of experience in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), created a news portal for the Ghana-based NGO Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa (VPWA). The portal, which provides information for and about NGOs in Africa, has already reached 2,000 subscribers and an average of 15,000 visitors per month.
“Rui created the web portal NGO News Africa in 2009 and has been the webmaster ever since. He recently re-modified the website integrating so many amazing features! Communication with Rui was joyful and fulfilling and we are grateful for his dedication to serving the NGO community in Africa”, Portia Sey, VPWA's Online volunteer manager, said.
With NGO News Africa, VPWA intended to provide a one stop shop where journalists, donors, researchers, volunteers and other interested people worldwide can find information about and relevant to the work of NGOs across the African continent.
Every day, Rui publishes new information provided by online volunteers, who act as correspondents for different African countries. This includes articles on development issues, news on the activities of NGOs as well as information on grant opportunities for NGOs.
Rui Oliveira, Portugal: “I was in Guinea-Bissau, where my concern with people who have less on earth, and my wish to help, originated. I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and after retiring from something that I love, my work in ICT, I was completely stressed, and lost. That was when a friend from Africa told me about online volunteering. I registered and applied to the VPWA opportunity was accepted, and my life changed completely. I feel useful, and the stress is almost gone. I have volunteered online with several other NGOs. When I see that I have more free time, I go and look on www.onlinevolunteering.org for another NGO that needs help.”
Executive Director, Hayford Siaw stated “We dedicate this award to the numerous volunteers around the world that made it possible. Our most gratitude goes to Rui Oliveira and all the correspondents that worked with us.”
'This year, nine other organizations from around the WORLD won the award along with VPWA and they include:
* Association Against Women Export Team
* Engineers Without Borders Team
* Global Hand Team
* Kitega Community Centre Team
* Maventy Health International Team
* Nabuur Team
* Positive Nett-Works Team
* UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme Team
* Young People We Care Team
The work of NGO's and volunteers around the world through the UN Volunteer program make a big impact on the lives they touch through everything they do. It is an honor to be a part of this program and we are very humbled and wish to express deep gratitude for receiving this award.
Source: UNV and VPWA