In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly designated 5th December – International Volunteer Day (IVD), as a day towards the annual celebration of voluntary actions by people, communities and governments of the world. On this day volunteers of all walks of life, working in communities around the globe promote the value of volunteerism. The United Nations Volunteers Caribbean Regional Sub-Hub, had the opportunity to partner with various organisations in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean, to celebrate volunteerism through its national and international UN volunteers.
In 2015, many initiatives were implemented to celebrate IVD. A recent event was: the Rejuvenation of the Denham Town Community Centre and Park in Jamaica where the community came together to beautify their space. This was undertaken alongside UNDP Jamaica and Plant Jamaica. The UN Agencies in Cuba held a Flash Mob to celebrate women, and a workshop promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and volunteerism was held amongst local NGOs in partnership with UNDP Barbados & OECS. Similarly in Trinidad and Tobago, an outreach for International World AIDS Day – which is celebrated on December 1st every year, saw over 100 people getting tested to know their status, this was done in collaboration with the South Regional Health Authority. These were just some of the many initiatives where UN volunteers celebrated volunteerism by promoting healthy lifestyles, testing blood pressures in communities and speaking on gender equality in religious institutions. Volunteerism can take many shapes and can be done by all those who are interested in improving their communities and working together in achieving the SDGs no matter the scale.