Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Pakistan organized a national conference apropos to the International Volunteers Day in order to highlight the need, importance and effectiveness of trained volunteers in various walks of life. Global standards on volunteering for development sector was also launched during the conference. The event was attended by different Government officials, UN Agencies, and Civil Society Organizations including National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Punjab Emergency Services Rescue 1122, Ministry of Human Rights, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), Parliamentarians Commission on Human Rights (PCHR), Potohar Mental Health Association (PMHA), AwazCDS-Pakistan, Pakistan Development Alliance, Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), and other civil society organizations.
In his welcome note Mr. Hashim Bilal, Country Director VSO Pakistan shared the process of Certification for European Union Aid Volunteers (EUAV) to prepare Resilience, Response, Recovery and Rehabilitation. VSO Pakistan is the first Organization in Pakistan to qualify for the EU Aid Volunteers Certification, he revealed. Now Pakistan can host aid and development volunteers through VSO. MR. Hashim Bilal added that we will further work on these standards with our partners, he also highlighted the need of Community Service Law that can provide recognition of volunteering at schools, colleges and universities. Lacking of Community Service Law is a main hurdle in retention of Volunteers.
A panel discussion on the topic was held which was moderated by Ms. Rizwana Warraich, Development Practitioner to have expert discussion on Global Volunteering for Development Standards adaptation and way forward in Pakistan.
Dr Rizwan Naseer- Director General, Punjab Emergency Services Rescue 1122 appreciated VSO’s efforts in developing and launching the global standards and highlighted the need of contextualizing the standards to Pakistan’s context. Mr. Idrees Mehsud- Member DRR-NDMA, linked his respective organization’s policies and practices with global standards and recommended key areas for future alignment.