Minister Kitt calls for 'Olympian effort' in the fight against global poverty
Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Mr. Tom Kitt, is hosting a Conference in Dublin today which will discuss ways in which the Irish Government, through Development Cooperation Ireland, can promote and facilitate voluntarism in order to help reduce poverty in the developing world.
The Conference will feature speakers and contributors from a wide range of backgrounds including the Irish business sector, African civil society, Irish and international NGOs and the United Nations.
Minister Kitt, welcoming participants at the Conference said;
‘The Special Olympics were a challenge, and the individual heroism of so many participants and volunteers inspired us all. But there is no marathon more gruelling than the race we are running against poverty, exclusion and scourges like HIV/AIDS, and there is no gold medal more rewarding than the goal of eliminating those problems. This effort, this development project that we are all a part of, requires a truly Olympian effort on a massive scale if we are to achieve the more rapid and sustainable progress that we must.’
It is in all our interests to ensure that volunteers who want to be part of that effort should be able to contribute in an appropriate way.
I want to make sure that opportunities and outlets are provided for that volunteering energy in ways that can help the world’s most disadvantaged people to help themselves. ‘
Minister Kitt said he was anxious to learn the views of all stakeholders on important questions relating to the role of volunteering in the changing development environment and on the most appropriate role for Government in this area.
The Conference ‘Voluntarism in Development in the 21st Century’ is taking place in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House, St. Stephens Green. Conference details and programme are available at www.dci.gov.ie.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Conference taking place today is being convened in the context of the Volunteer 21 (Volunteering in the 21st Century) initiative launched by Minister Kitt in December 2003.
The initiative aims to explore ways in which the Government, through Development Cooperation Ireland, can most appropriately contribute to Volunteering in Development.
A Volunteer 21 Unit is now operating within Development Cooperation Ireland comprising staff and resources of the former Agency for Personal Services Overseas (APSO). This unit is not only continuing on with the very valuable work which APSO was doing in this area prior to its integration into the Department of Foreign Affairs, but is also exploring new opportunities for volunteering in development, such as partnerships with the private sector, professional exchanges and volunteering models including those which focus on exposing young people to development challenges and opportunities and those which utilise modern technologies such as the Internet and satellite communications.
The Conference in Dublin today brings together a range of stakeholders including representatives of;
African civil society, Irish NGOs, Missionary orders, advocacy and solidarity groups, returned development workers, the private sector, including the ICT industry international volunteer sending agencies the UN and others.
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