Volunteerism has significant benefits in terms of improving social relationships, creating a sense of belongingness within communities, contributing to the development of society, and creating a real difference in the lives of people, further reinforcing national harmony and social cohesion, aside from its.
For the reason that volunteerism has vital roles in fostering societal and economic development, togetherness and encourages people to participate in their respective communities to bring considerable changes, it is instrumental for peaceful co-existence, advance sustainable peace and in nation building as well. Thus, countries promote and coordinate volunteer programs and services to address the social and economic challenges of the people, especially those in need of support, realize national priorities and achieve substantial outcomes.
In fact, volunteerism has long been an integral part of Ethiopian society; and the activities that they have been executing in their day to day activities. However, with the target to inculcate and promote the culture of volunteerism within the young generation, various activities have been carried out by the government.
As part of this effort, the government, to tap the growing youth population to foster a sense of national unity, integration, and build a cohesive society at peace with each other, has launched the National Volunteer Community Service Program under the leadership of the Ministry of Peace and partnership with other stakeholders.
The Program, as documents indicate, aims to promote a culture of public service, foster national integrity, enhance respect for diversity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence, contributing to sustainable peace and stability in the country.
Within this framework, thus, the Ministry of Peace in collaboration with higher education institutions has been providing short training courses to volunteer youths to develop their skills and enable them to provide services for the communities in various areas. Accordingly, in eight rounds, it was possible to graduate close to 50,000 volunteers and engage them in the social, economic and political areas.
Recently, the Ministry in collaboration with Jimma University graduated 1,690 volunteers who took training in the 8th round peace volunteers, the Ministry of Peace reported.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at Jimma University, Peace Minister Benalf Andualem, said that volunteering is an act of love that can increase the social and economic benefits of the people. Participating in the activity of nation building is a great opportunity. “Our country is our identity and a string that binds us together. When the country is at peace, we can do whatever we want to do. However, without a country, there is nothing. Thus, to prosper our country, we need to have integrity and honesty,” he added.
According to him, the case that builds or destroys a country is rhetoric. In this regard this generation should work on investigating the distorted divisive narratives, correct flawed stories and focus on accounts that can reinforce our togetherness and unity. The Minister also urged the graduates to act committedly make an effort in this respect.
“This generation needs to practice a new political culture. Our political culture of dialogue should be developed. Hence, I would like to call on volunteer graduates of this round in all areas where you may go to spend your time and knowledge on the common issues that bind us together,” he concluded.
Academic Affairs Vice President of Jimma University Tadesse Habtamu (PhD) on his part said a generation that does not believe in unity and righteousness will not bring change to the country. The University, by welcoming volunteers of all rounds and offering training organized by the Ministry of Peace under the theme “Goodness for Togetherness”, has practically demonstrated its motto of “We are within the Community” and has testified its being an ambassador of peace.
Young volunteers, who have been in training in the 8th round of the National Voluntary Community Service Program, have contributed more than half a million Birr and carried out various voluntary works concurrent to their training.
At the graduation ceremony held at Jimma University, officials from the Ministry of Peace, leadership of Jimma University, religious leaders, aba gadaas and other invited guests took part.
In the same development the 8th round National Voluntary Community Service trainees, who have been taking training that was organized by the Ministry of Peace in collaboration with Wachemo University for a month, have successfully completed their training.
In his message at the program, Peace Building and National Consensus Sector State Minister at the Ministry of Peace Taye Denda said that peace excels from all things and it is the foundation for the success of all things. Owing to this, the core mission of the Ministry of Peace is building peace.
When citizens reach consensus on basic national issues, they strengthen national unity and enhance the concept of solidarity and a patriotic sense, peace will be created. To this end, it is necessary to correct the distorted narratives of differences and conspiracies; and instill the concept of solidarity and togetherness.
Highlighting the importance of creating an opportunity for the young people to get to know their own people and culture by letting them visit other regions, the State Minister said that so far 45,000 youths have been deployed outside of their region so that they can understand the culture, identity and living conditions of their people.
“I urge graduates of this round to show your love for your country practically by spreading the messages of peace, becoming ambassadors of peace and leave your legacy in the effort exerted to ensure sustainable peace and national reconciliation by developing your creativity,” he remarked.
Wachemo University President Office Head Democracy Petros also said that the University, for the 8th time; received and trained over 1,500 volunteers drawn from all over the country for a month.
As to him, voluntary service aside from its social values will lift up Ethiopianness and helps to further strengthen togetherness and unity among Ethiopians.
“Ethiopia will be a strong country only when its people stand in unison with a sense of togetherness. Thus, I request graduates to fulfill their responsibilities and citizenship duties that are given to you by your country committedly and with the spirit of patriotism,” he urged.