Celebrating volunteerism - #GivingTuesday movement grows worldwide with UNDP Support

05 Dec 2013

image UNDP helped the Jairos Jiri School for children living with disabilities in Zimbabwe with much needed food and other provisions to celebrate #GivingTuesday / UNDP / Sammy Mwiti

Millions of people around the world took time today to give to something back on #GivingTuesday, a worldwide celebration of the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy, as the movement grew to a global scale this year with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  

Highlighting the importance of giving not just funds, but also time, knowledge, volunteering and community work, the day saw 10,000 entities come together to celebrate the power of giving to transform people’s lives, and to stress the importance of generosity over selfishness.  

Public discussion powered by social media brought global engagement with the movement, as UNDP offices around the world held events that resonated with their local communities. From Thailand to Zimbabwe, Croatia to Lao PDR, UNDP offices and staff marked the day by promoting philanthropy and organizing volunteer projects.  

UNDP Jordan launched a campaign for cleaner and greener communities in the northern municipalities of the country, with 200 volunteers participating through different activities, from cleaning to planting trees.  

In Zimbabwe UNDP worked with the Jairos Jiri School for children living with disabilities to provide much needed food and other provisions.  

In Thailand, UNDP joined forces with Second Chance, a non-profit organization that works with Klong Toey slum residents in Bangkok. It collected goods that were donated and sold to support vocational training, create soccer camps and youth clubs, and improve the lives of those who live in the slums.  

In Burundi, a blood drive was organized in the UN house to help with a chronic lack of blood in hospitals. Later in the day, UNDP Burundi organized a #GivingTuesday music concert for children living in a local orphanage. The collaboration with local musicians was part entertainment, part demonstration of how the musical instruments were played.  

“Music is never present in this orphanage, it was a discovery for all of us”, said one member of the orphanage’s staff. “This activity was so good for our children. We are very thankful. It helped our kids to appreciate music and to develop their capacities and senses. We should do that more often". 

And in New York City, UNDP staff helped reconstruct a park that had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “Thanks to the volunteers the park is coming back to life”, said Jennifer Broll, gardener at the Jackie Robinson Park in the Harlem neighbourhood of the city, “I was so happy to receive help. I wish they would come back every Tuesday”.  

Overall, #GivingTuesday succeeded in raising donations, and more importantly awareness, of the power of giving. The movement hopes to continue to grow and reach more communities around the world in future years.