2011 Southern Africa Conference
The Southern Africa Conference on Volunteer Action for Development will take place from 17-19 October, 2011 at the FNB Conference and Learning Centre.
The conference is an initiative of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in partnership with Volunteer and Service Enquiry Southern Africa (VOSESA) and the following conference partners active in the region: Canada World Youth (CWY), the European Commission, FirstRand Volunteers Programme, FK Norway, loveLife, Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), and VSO-RAISA. The conference is also supported by a Steering Committee of twenty organisations that promote volunteering and civic service in the region.
The strong tradition and practice of volunteering in the region is generally not recognized or supported as a tool for development and peace. The conference is thus being convened to raise the profile of volunteer action as a tool for promoting people’s participation in Southern African regional integration and development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The conference is an unprecedented opportunity to discuss the role and contribution of different forms of volunteer action to regional development objectives and to strengthen policy and practice for volunteering in the region.
Different and mutually reinforcing forms of volunteering in the region will be discussed such as youth volunteering, community based volunteering, corporate volunteering, international volunteering and higher education and civic engagement. The conference will also highlight the role of volunteer action in advancing regional efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, promote social and economic participation among youth and foster peace and social cohesion within and between countries.
The regional conference has the following key objectives:
- Showcase and celebrate the diverse contribution of volunteering and civic service to achieving the objectives of development and peace;
- Identify opportunities and strategies to strengthen the role of voluntary service in national and regional development;
- Increase research on the nature, scope and impact of voluntary service; and
- Explore the potential for establishing a variety of Southern African regional voluntary service programmes that promote inter-cultural exchange and support national, regional and international development efforts.
The conference will contribute to the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer (IYV+10).
The conference seeks to involve up to 170 individuals, mainly from Southern African countries. Government representatives and champions of voluntary action from civil society and the private sector will be involved, as well as a select number of individuals from universities and student bodies in the region. Practitioners and policy-makers from non-Southern African countries will also be invited to share their experience with regional voluntary service programmes.
Key outcomes envisaged from the conference include:
- • Strengthen understanding about the contribution of volunteering and civic service in southern Africa towards the achievement of the MDGs and sustainable development;
- • Steps towards the establishment of a larger number of Southern African regional voluntary service programmes; and
- • Support from representatives of SADC member states for a UNV resolution on volunteering that will be presented to the UN General Assembly likely on 5 December 2011.
VOSESA's Five-Country Cross-National Study on Civic Service and Volunteering in SADC.
Service Enquiry, an online publication available free-of-charge that documents and analyses the experience of civic service and volunteerism in different parts of the world.
VOSESA's analysis of the volunteering response to the 2008 Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa and its potential for social change.