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Hong Kong and N. Ireland Exchange Greetings

04 December 2013

for International Volunteers Day.

On my way to Macau to the IAVE Asia Pacific Conference I stopped off in Hong Kong and was able to join the Agency for Volunteer Service organisation to celebrate International Volunteer Day on the 1 December in the Shangri La Hotel Kowloon. Over 300 volunteers attended the event and they also gave out their volunteer recognition awards for length of volunteer service and number of hours contributed. The special guest speaker was Richard Dictus, the new Executive Co-ordinator of United Nations Volunteers (UNV). The Agency for Volunteer Service took the opportunity to publicly sign a new Memorandum of Understanding between the organisation and UNV as the volunteer sending partner organisation for UNV in Hong Kong. Flora Cheung, the Chief Executive of the Agency for Volunteer Service, also kindly agreed to do a video message with greetings from Hong Kong to Volunteer Now’s International Volunteer Day (IVD) event on the 5 December in the Guildhall in L’Derry. This event is our Millennium Volunteers Award ceremony and it is very appropriate as the United Nations has given IVD 2013 a special focus of young, global active, in recognition of the contribution of young volunteers. In L’Derry on the 5 December Volunteer Now will join in celebrating globally that young people act as the agents of change in their communities. As 2013 comes to an end this event also reminds us of the hundreds of volunteers who have made such a significant contribution to this special City of Culture year.

International Volunteer Day

Wendy Osborne celebrates International Volunteer Day in Hong Kong
with volunteer Anne Leung and Flora Cheung, Chief Executive,
Agency for Volunteer Service Hong Kong.

When Flora knew I was going to be in Hong Kong she also asked me to lead a workshop for the Agency for Volunteer Service on standards of practice for volunteer management and measuring impact. I was also invited to officially open their new Training and Development offices. It was a real privilege to work with the Agency for Volunteer Service and to join with them at their special International Volunteer Day event. I am finding through my IAVE contacts that the global volunteer family is both vibrant and diverse and that we share a common vision for volunteering and many of the same issues. In Hong Kong as in Northern Ireland they are concerned about ‘supply and demand’ regarding finding enough opportunities that attract people to volunteer their time. They are also an ageing population and were very interested in Volunteer Now’s Unlocking Potential project and recently published research. They recognise the importance of good volunteer management practice and want to establish a consistent set of standards that every organisation can use. Investing in Volunteers is the UK standard promoted and supported by Volunteer Now and the organisations who have achieved the Award in Northern Ireland clearly recognise the benefits of using the standard as the framework for their involvement of volunteers. As one Hong Kong volunteer said to me it is all about being able to successfully ‘maintain and retain’ volunteers.

My visit to Hong Kong has helped to cement a relationship with the Agency for Volunteer Service that I hope we can develop. They refer to my workshop as a ‘sharing’ and this is a very apt word as I gained insight and inspiration from hearing how they do things and from their passion to develop volunteering.

~ Wendy Osborne OBE, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now.

Read Wendy's other updates:

Volunteer Now’s CEO attends IAVE Board Meeting in Oman and speaks at the Arab Regional Volunteering Conference

Volunteer Now’s Chief Executive Shares Experience with Russian Colleagues