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West African National Volunteer agencies set up regional coordination platform
Cross section Participants ENVA Forum 2017

Abuja, 14th July 2017. The heads of national volunteer agencies and programmes in ECOWAS

Member States have set up a regional coordination and exchange platform.

Under the aegis of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC), the platform is meant to coordinate the mobilization and mobility of volunteers across the region, correlate exchange programmes between national volunteer agencies/programmes and mobilize resources in consultation with National volunteer agencies and partners while facilitating communication between the national Volunteer agencies, among others.

At the maiden meeting of the annual forum of national volunteer agencies of West Africa held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on the 4th and 5th of July 2017 and declared open by a representative of the country’s Minister of Youth, Professional Training and Integration, the heads of national volunteer agencies and programmes agreed to strengthen collaboration and exchange of information on voluntarism across the region through a regional platform, with the EYSDC serving as Permanent Secretariat.

The Forum, which was convened by the EYSDC, called on ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to adopt a declaration of commitment in support of voluntarism as a tool for regional development across the region. It also defined the role of the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme (EVP) in the promotion of Volunteer Service across the region.

In order to increase visibility and further promote volunteer actions across the region, participants decided that volunteer agencies would jointly and simultaneously commemorate the International Volunteer Day (IVD) – December 5, the International Youth Day (IYD) – August 12, the World Environment Day – June 5 and the ECOWAS Volunteers Day – March 26, yearly.

A major highlight of the programme was the pledge of commitment by nine newly recruited ECOWAS volunteers deployed to the EYSDC as members of the EVP implementation team in Ouagadougou, Monrovia and Freetown.

Participants at the meeting included heads of ECOWS National Offices, Special Representatives of the President of the ECOWAS Commission from Liberia and Burkina Faso, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations operating in the field of voluntarism, EVP technical and financial partners (UNV, France Volontaires, CONFEJES) as well as local and international volunteers from Burkina Faso and other member States.

The EVP was initiated by the ECOWAS Commission in 2004 with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV), as part of the ECOWAS Peace and Development Programme (PADEP). It was officially launched on March 26, 2010 in Monrovia, Liberia and has deployed 113 volunteers, comprising health, education, youth and other professionals, to three (03) pilot countries, namely, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as to the programme’s regional coordination office in Ouagadougou.

Beyond the mobilization, training and deployment of ECOWAS Volunteers, the EVP also has the general mandate of promoting Volunteer service in ECOWAS Member States.

The next forum is scheduled to be held in Accra, Ghana in July 2018.

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