UN Volunteer Teacher Farah Chahine talking to one of the students during the recess, while another child embraces Layal Ammar, also a UN Volunteer Teacher, Ramallah School in Chatila Palestinian Refugee camp.
UN Volunteer Teacher Farah Chahine talking to one of the students during the recess, while another child embraces Layal Ammar, also a UN Volunteer Teacher, Ramallah School in Chatila Palestinian Refugee camp.
Photo:UNV

On International Volunteer Day, I appeal to all governments to promote volunteering, support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteers deserve our heartfelt thanks.

António Guterres

2020 Theme: Together We Can Through Volunteering

Over the last months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged across the world, volunteers have been at the forefront of medical, community and societal responses. Headlines in the world’s media have paid credit to volunteers for all kinds of work, from helping to provide medical care, to doing shopping for vulnerable neighbours, or checking up on elderly people living alone.

The COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan by the WHO identifies community volunteers as key stakeholders for risk communication and community engagement. This indicates the valuable and great effort the WHO believes volunteers are doing during COVID-19.

This year's IVD campaign thanks volunteers worldwide and also sheds light on the difficulties and needs of volunteers during the pandemic. Showing the impact of volunteers in their communities during this crisis, we will reach to all corners of the globe with the message "Together We Can Through Volunteering."

Thank you volunteers!

THANK YOU volunteers for being at the frontline of the COVID-19 response, addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic, making sure everyone stays safe, and being there for people and planet!

International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.

Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of volunteers and working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming. Read more in the 2019 annual report.

Did You Know?

  • in 2019, there were 8,282 UN Volunteers, who served in 54 United Nations missions, agencies, funds and programmes across the globe.
  • 13,186 online volunteers served virtually worldwide with 33 United Nations partners in support of 183 civil society organizations working on peace and development.
  • 29 % of UN Volunteers on-site were under the age of 29, and 51 % were women.

Blue Heart

blue heart logo

The blue heart emoji will be associated with the IVD2020 tagline and contribute to building a campaign image that conveys a positive feeling, solidarity, and compassion toward volunteers. Use #TogetherWeCan and #IVD2020, and the blue heart <3.

Related Observances

Volunteerism is one of the most vital delivery mechanisms for social, environmental and economic transformation, ensuring a lasting impact with its ability to change people’s mindsets, attitudes and behaviours. People become actors of change and equal partners in the attainment of local, national and international progress towards sustainable human development and global peace. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme recognizes the shared universal values underpinning volunteerism – free will, commitment, equity, engagement, solidarity, compassion, empathy and respect for others.

 

UNV is supporting the United Nations and UN Member States with the response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The organization has also put measures in place to ensure duty of care for its currently serving 6,000 UN Volunteers, deployed with over 50 UN entity partners worldwide. Online Volunteers are a valuable resource to support United Nations entities and other partners with COVID-19 response. Go to “COVID-19 response” to see relevant assignments. 

 

A crowd of women sitting and laughing

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.