New Delhi, 11 August 2017: To commemorate International Youth Day, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS), in collaboration with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized a National Consultation on Youth Building Peace. The consultation was aimed at understanding the perception of youth’s role in peacebuilding processes and recognizing the role of youth-led organizations in peace-building activities.
As part of the consultation, a first of its kind report on youth volunteering, the State of Volunteerism and Impact of Current Volunteering Initiatives in India, was released. India’s Online Volunteering platform was also launched. Secretary (Youth Affairs), MoYAS, Government of India, A.K. Dubey, along with Joint Secretary, MoYAS, Government of India, L.K. Gupta, and Deputy Country Director, UNDP, Marina Walter attended the event. Mr Gupta emphasized that “the energy of youth must be channelled so that they can be part of the democratic process as active stakeholders in governance”.
The report documents the contribution of youth volunteering to achieving developmental goals in India. It notes that, with millions due to join India’s workforce by 2030, there is a need to provide avenues for young people to take part in the process of nation-building while giving them opportunities to develop their skills.
The report also provides insights into their motivations and challenges. It calls for a better common understanding of what constitutes volunteerism, so it can be channelled to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals within the local and national contexts. It also recommends measures to promote volunteering.
“The National Youth Policy 2014 is trying to bring the youth into the policy framework by engaging them and giving them space. What we want to do with this collaboration and this report is to work out how to build on this and push it for the future,” said Ms Walter.
India launches its first dedicated national volunteering platform
The India Online Volunteering service, an extension of the UNV global platform for organizations and online volunteers to connect with each other, was also launched at the consultation. The initiative is a part of the Strengthening Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) joint project, with MoYAS, UNDP and UNV.
India recognizes that its society can only be healthy if its young people participate and engage in development initiatives. India’s youth account for almost a third of its total 1.3 billion population. To harness this demographic dividend, state authorities across India are involving youth into several schemes for sustainable development.
The online volunteering platform promises to be a major breakthrough, as a marketplace for non-profit organizations and volunteers to connect. Customized to India’s requirements, the platform allows youth networks, volunteer-involving organizations, civil society organizations, public institutions and state governments to get free support from online volunteers. In addition, it allows India to automatically measure and report its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and allows organizations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device.
About the project
The country’s National Youth Policy (2014) proposes to initiate affirmative and positive action to foster national values in all young people, especially among youth volunteers working under the aegis of leading youth development agencies of the country – Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS). The policy proposes to engage with youth clubs and youth development agencies to play a pivotal role in developing appropriate initiatives for young people and to facilitate youth participation towards sustainable development goals.
About United Nations Volunteers
The UNV programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. UNV works with partners to integrate qualified, highly motivated and well-supported UN Volunteers into development programming and promote the value and global recognition of volunteerism. UNV is active in around 130 countries every year. UNV is administered by UNDP, which has worked in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development, from democratic governance to poverty eradication, to sustainable energy and environmental management.
For more information, visit UNV website here.
The report can be accessed here.