International Volunteer Day is not a public holiday. This day celebrates the voluntary contributions of organizations, communities and businesses towards social and economic development at national, international and local levels. The celebration to mark the importance of the day highlight the contributions of volunteers, particularly at grass-root levels to ensure the success of the various programs that lead to sustainable development, stronger governance, social upliftment and peace. 2001 was the International Year of Volunteers. During this year, the UN general Assembly adopted recommendations for supporting volunteer activities across the world.
The origin of the day can be traced to the United Nations and their endeavor of encouraging volunteers and voluntary organizations by recognizing their contributions at international, national and local levels. The United Nations Volunteer Program is a step in this direction. The program actively mobilizes more than thousands of volunteers every year. These volunteers work closely with governmental and non-governmental agencies supporting various causes all over the world. The Red Cross, Guides and Scouts see a marked increase in volunteers on this day.
Celebrated on December 5th every year, the importance of this day is increased manifold by the success of volunteers associated with these programs. Technological advances have also been included in these volunteer efforts through online volunteering service. This online service encourages volunteers to participate in activities that further various causes of human development. Plans on how to celebrate the day include paying tributes to the participant volunteers who have made a significant impact globally, nationally or locally.
The contribution of volunteers for the success of various social causes is a feather in the cap for volunteers and voluntary organization all over the world. The activities that are planned to celebrate the day include increasing awareness about the contribution of volunteers, encouraging more persons to volunteer their time for worthy causes and rewarding the contribution of volunteers by honoring their contributions to society. As part of their corporate responsibility many companies are launching voluntary programs and encourage active participation from their employees. Activities on this day include governmental participation in various efforts of the United Nations that work in for socially important cause, including the organization's efforts in war torn and drought affected regions.
Interesting events and activities are organized as part of the day’s celebrations. These activities include encouraging volunteers for worthy causes like eradication of poverty, promoting gender equality, working with destitute and orphans, the achievement of 100 percent primary education, generating medical awareness and so on. Voluntary organizations like the Rotary Club, Inner Wheel Club and Lions Club have been working with various government organizations for the success of the causes they espouse. Other activities involve national and international calamities like floods, droughts, war and so on, which require the selfless dedication of volunteers from all over the world. The combined efforts of people from all over the world alone can result in success on a worldwide scale.