International Volunteer Day
International Volunteers Day was created in 1985 for organizations, communities, and individual volunteers to celebrate and make visible their contributions at local, national, and international levels. It is now observed every year on December 5th.
Volunteering is defined as, “a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.”
Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with an estimated 170 million people, but despite being the largest economy, poverty rates are still climbing with 65% said to be living in extreme poverty. These conditions breed discontent and disaffection amongst youth. It also becomes an entry way for corruption, Islamic extremism and ineffective governance. VSO International says Nigeria needs to create at least 2.5 million jobs every year for the next decade to meet the needs of its growing workforce, and with 10.5 million children currently out of school, something needs to be done.
That is where volunteering comes in. There are many great benefits to volunteering. It can help
- fight poverty
- improve education
- by making sure that everyone gets the skills they need to live a full, exciting, and dignified life.
- volunteering can also help contribute to the delivery and enhancement of education. Baker, Gersten and Keating (2000) showed that volunteers can have a direct impact on students such as helping them to learn how to read.
- improve health
- by making sure people have access to better quality healthcare.
- improve livelihoods
- Giving people the freedom to live with independence and dignity by offering secure and reliable access to food and income.
It also has positive effects on the volunteers themselves, bot intrinsically and extrinsically. It can help with self-esteem, open and expand career paths and allow them to get proper training, along with helping with mental and physical health. They are also able to build up their resumes, develop leadership skills, and develop long lasting relationships with people in their communities and community leaders.
There are many things for today’s youth to volunteer with. Things like working in a foodbank, volunteering for administrative tasks, working with children, and working with the homeless are just a few.
If you are interested in volunteering there are numerous volunteering projects available.
A few for you to look at are:
Let’s all start coming together and becoming a cohesive community. Let’s make sure everyone has the access to healthcare, education, and a chance for great livelihoods! Help us observe International Volunteers Day and show appreciation for our volunteers all around the world!
VSO International – https://www.vsointernational.org/volunteering/ICS-youth-volunteering
USAID – https://www.usaid.gov/nigeria
Stand Up For Someone’s Rights Today
On December 10, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document set out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Human Rights Day is now observed every year on December 10th to commemorate this huge milestone in human rights history.
Many feel that this year’s Human Rights Day is an especially important one because of the way the world is currently heading. People are fearful. Fearful for their lives and the lives of others. All over the globe there is disrespect for the most basic of human rights. There are senseless killings surrounded by messages of hate and intolerance. People come face to face with horrific violence from extremist movements. People are scared to be themselves, and we must put a stop to it.
This year’s theme is Stand Up For Someone’s Rights Today. United Nations states, “We must reaffirm our common humanity. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media.”
Ways to stand up for rights:
- Read and share the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Stand up for someone that you see is being bullied or harassed. It doesn’t matter if you see it online, at the mall, or at school.
- Donate to organizations that help those affected by human rights abuse.
- Combat myths with facts. Challenge those harmful stereotypes.
- Educate your children about human rights. Show them positive and diverse role models.
Though only a few are listed, there are many things you can do to stand up for human rights not just on Human Rights Day, but every day of the year. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
If we want the world to change, it must start within ourselves first.
United Nations – http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/background.shtml
United Nations – http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner – http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HumanRightsDay.aspx
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. AIDS occurs when the HIV infection is very advanced, and your immune system is too weak to fight off infections. This is the last stage of HIV where your body is too weak to fight off or defend itself and may develop various infections and diseases. If left untreated the probability of death is high.
What is HIV?
HIV is a disease that gradually attacks our body’s natural defense against illnesses-the immune system. The HIV virus attacks and destroys a type of white blood cell known as the T- helper cell. While destroying the T- helper cell, it makes a copy of itself and places it inside it. The HIV virus makes it extremely difficult for your body to fight off illnesses and diseases.
There are two types of HIV:
- HIV-1: The most common type found worldwide.
- HIV-2: Mainly found in Western Africa, with some cases in India and Europe.
There is currently no cure for AIDS or HIV, but with the right treatment people who are infected can live long, healthy lives.
At the end of 2015 there were 36.7 million people who were living with HIV, with 9% of those people living in Nigeria. That means that there are 3.5 million people living with HIV in Nigeria alone. Globally, 15% of women that are living with HIV are between the ages of 15 -24 years old with 80% living in Sub-Saharan Africa. 400,000 children in Nigeria are currently living with HIV. Most of these children become infected by mother-to-child transmission which includes pregnancy, giving birth, and breast feeding. Other instances include sexual transmission, children who inject drugs and infection through medical/healthcare settings (though this is rare).
UNAIDS says that of the 36.7 million people that are infected with HIV, 19 million of them do not know their HIV-positive status and that adolescent girls and young women make account for one in four new HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Though in recent years the numbers of AIDS related deaths and new HIV infections have been on the decline, it is still very much a major issue around the world. It is important for everyone to be educated, practice safe sex and to get themselves tested.
Please join us in raising awareness on AIDS and the impact it has on people, their families and our world on December 1, 2016 for World AIDS Day.
Sources:[1.] UNAIDS – http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet [2.] World AIDS Day – https://www.worldaidsday.org/ [3.] Avert – http://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharan-africa/nigeria#footnote1_koph3hb [4.] UNAIDS Gap Report – http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_Gap_report_en.pdf [5.] WHO – http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/ [6.] Avert – http://www.avert.org/about-hiv-aids/what-hiv-aids