Five hundred and fifty participants from Nairobi’s Kariobangi North community commemorated International Volunteer Day in a cleanup and tree planting program, “Our Community: Our Responsibility,” on December 5, 2011. In a demonstration of the growth of volunteerism in Kenya, the Kariobangi community partnered with government, educational, and volunteer organizations, including GPF Kenya, the National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management, Administration Police, City Council of Nairobi, Moi Forces Academy, Tadeci Network, Kariobangi North Girls’ Secondary School, Brand Kenya Board, Global Peace Youth Corps, Global Peace Connect, Service for Peace, Kaluworks Limited and the various Kariobangi youth groups.
International Volunteer Day is an annual event officially designated by the United Nations. It aims to recognize and encourage volunteer organizations and individuals, and increase public awareness of their contributions at the local, national and international levels toward achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The Kariobangi event sought to raise awareness of health and sanitation in the community and encourage volunteer participation in service activities.
This program began with a ceremonial tree planting at the Kariobangi Catholic Church by United Nations Information Centre Deputy Director and guest of honor Mrs. Eshila Maravanyika; GPF Kenya Country Director Mr. Fredrick Rangala; Chief Inspector Davis Lomwatu; and Father John Bosco of Kariobangi Catholic Church. Ms. Maravanyika was accompanied by UNIC National Information Officer Irene Mwakesi.The tree planting was followed by a procession led by the Salvation Army Band along Kamunde Road to the Kariobangi Social Hall Grounds.
Kariobangi Youth Groups then coordinated a cleanup activity along Kamunde Road, and participants planted trees at Kariobangi North Girls’ Secondary School, Marura Primary School, Kariobangi Police Station and Kenya Muslim Academy. Various Kariobangi community groups then showcased their talents through dances, songs, skits, poems and acrobatic performances. The ceremony concluded with speeches from the guest of honor and stakeholder representatives.
In her remarks, Mrs. Maravanyika quoted UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s message on the International Day of Service: “We must tap every person’s potential to help others. Everyone can make a difference. Volunteering matters.” She commended the efforts of stakeholders and community members in bettering Kariobangi and pledged United Nations’ support in building community ownership and empowerment.
The ceremony concluded with an expression of thanks from Mr. Vincent Rapando, the organization committee chair, who emphasized that further volunteer work would be organized in Kariobangi and who also urged the City Council of Nairobi to support greater health and sanitation needs in Kariobangi.
“We must tap every person’s potential to help others. Everyone can make a difference. Volunteering matters.” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon