Over 500 people attended celebrations of volunteerism in Cambodia in 2012. VolCam members mobilize together with governmental institutions and development partners such as United Nations and AusAID organized 2nd National Forum on Volunteerism on 4th December 2012 and a celebratory fair for International Volunteer Day (5th December 2012).

The overall aim of both events was to recognize volunteers throughout Cambodia, demonstrating that volunteerism is a viable and necessary strategy for the country’s development. The slogan “Be a volunteer – make a difference for you and your community” was used for both events, in line with the global theme “Volunteer Action Counts”.

The Second National Forum on Volunteerism, held on 4th December, featured lively discussions on the participants’ experiences with volunteering and the benefits it has on their communities. Group discussion also included debates on how to best attract, manage, motivate and support young people to volunteer with the objective to contribute to a draft volunteering good practice document. Motivational speeches were delivered by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Douglas Broderick, Mr. Thierry Fournier, Cooperation Attaché, French Embassy to Cambodia and H.E. Sean Borath, Secretary of State, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. All reaffirmed the impact that Cambodian volunteers make to their country’s development and pledged their support towards strengthening volunteering in Cambodia.

On International Volunteer Day, the international fair was opened by H.E Im Sethy, Minister of Education, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport who reaffirmed the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to support volunteerism in the country. Guest speakers included H.E. Tauch Choeun, Director General, General Department of Youth, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport alongside UNAIDS Country Coordinator Marie-Odile Emond, Michelle Vizzard, First Secretary, Development Cooperation from AusAid and Oliver Wittershagen, Portfolio Manager (East Asia & Pacific), UN Volunteers Headquarters.

Between each session, the audience was entertained by volunteer groups such as Tiny Toones, a Phnom Penh dance troupe that gives underprivileged youth opportunities to get an education. A special episode of the BBC Loy9 Programme featuring volunteerism was also shown to participants. The event closured by a musical performance by Kok Thlok praising volunteers and volunteerism.

Several Khmer media journalists recorded footage during the forum and both events were covered both by national TV and radio programmes. An op-ed appeared in one of the main English-language newspapers, the Phnom Penh Post:http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012120560094/National-news/why-v… and articles also appeared in Khmer newspapers.

You can also watch a video made by UN Volunteers about the International Volunteers Day 2012:

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