Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Md Tajul Islam said the ministry is leading to develop a national volunteer policy with a view to fostering volunteerism in the country.
The minister said this while attending an event titled 'Volunteering for achieving SDGs in Bangladesh' at InterContinental Dhaka on the occasion of International Volunteer Day (IVD) as the chief guest.
IVD is observed around the world to promote and support the spirit of volunteering on December 5.
An award-giving ceremony for the 'IVD Bangladesh volunteer award-2020' also organised. This year's theme was 'Volunteer for Covid-19 response and recovery'. The winners have received prizes, including cash up to BDT 1,00,000; along with crests and certificates.
During the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers across the world have been doing an incredible job to support the mass people to control the pandemic. The dedicated volunteers are putting their own lives at stake.
WaterAid Bangladesh, LGRD, department of youth development, the ministry of youth and sports, and UNV Bangladesh stepped up to acknowledge the courageous efforts of such volunteers in Bangladesh.
Minister Tazul Islam said that Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) was first initiated in 1973. Bangladesh was the country that took the lead.
"We have always been a pioneer fighting against calamities. And once again it is visible during this global pandemic. During coronavirus, volunteers have done a tremendous job to raise awareness in hand washing and personal hygiene. As a result, we, as a nation are thriving against this dire situation," he added.
UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo said, "I'm impressed by how Bangladesh values and promotes volunteerism among its courageous nation. I appreciate the efforts given so far in this sector, although I think there is still some room for improvement. Various sources are interested to facilitate Bangladesh with funding and infrastructural assistance. So if the inner abilities are developed, Bangladesh will soon see an even mightier force of volunteers who could conquer the challenges lying ahead."
Country Director of WaterAid Hasin Jahan said that since the very beginning of the pandemic, the volunteers played a tremendous role in keeping the community safe and functional, putting the utmost priority on the humanitarian cause.
Country Coordinator of UNV Bangladesh Aktar Uddin said, "The indomitable spirit of volunteerism is celebrated through such initiatives like IVD. The core message is to inspire all the volunteers across the world, and encourage their unity because unity is strength. The world requires dedicated volunteers to attain and maintain sustainable goals. Bangladesh currently has the greatest number of UN volunteers."
Ministry of Youth and Sports Secretary Md Akhter Hossain, LGRD Additional Secretary Dipak Chakraborty, Secretary, and CEO, PPPA of Prime Minister's Office Sultana Afroz, Secretary of Technical and Madrasha Education Aminul Islam Khan, Director General of department of youth development Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, among others were present on the occasion.
In the 2nd session, a panel discussion titled 'Volunteers contributions towards development and need of national volunteer policy' also took place. The speakers here focused on the need for a structured policy on volunteerism, volunteer database, the safety, recognition, and skill development of the volunteers.