|Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 6:39 pm: |
There are many words and concepts that are closely associated with Honduran culture. Unfortunately, "volunteerism" isn't one of them. Therefore, you can imagine my pleasant surprise to find that there is a new institution in Honduras called the Presidential Agency on Volunteerism.
The agency, headed by Otto Martinez, was established last year by the Maduro Administration. I liken it to Americorps in the US, which was created by the Clinton Administration in 1993. The mission of the Agency on Volunteerism is to promote volunteerism in Honduras and strengthen the organized participation of society in the search for solutions to community problems.
These sound like very nice words, and the idea behind the effort is noble enough. Only time will tell whether this agency will succeed in capturing the hearts and minds of the Honduran public. In the industrialized world, citizens generally have more spare time on their hands than people in developing countries such as Honduras and easier opportunities to get involved in volunteer work. In the US, the infrastructure for individuals to channel their excess energy is well-developed.
In Honduras, this "channeling" process for willing volunteers is a little more problematic, a lot more cumbersome. My sense is that Hondurans can be inspired as much as anyone else to give of themselves freely and enthusiastically to worthy causes. But there has to be some creative leadership for this to happen and be sustained for generations to come.
Given the lack of an ingrained tradition for volunteerism in Honduras, such leadership cannot occur in isolation. It has to be developed and reinforced through relationships with individuals and groups for whom the spirit and experience of volunteerism comes as second nature.
There are thousands of individuals representing hundreds of organizations, companies, churches, and universities abroad who are working on a wide range of projects to help meet the basic needs of the Honduran people. Some are as large as Catholic Relief Services (www.catholicreliefservices.org), while others such as Rodger Harrison's Paramedics for Children (www.paramedicsforchildren.com) and Michael Miller's Micah Project (www.micahcentral.org) are much smaller.
The bottom line is that all of these foreign volunteers are making a real, albeit quiet, impact on Honduras. What is missing is not only more coordinated interaction between these groups, but also between these groups and the Honduran government and Honduran businesses. Imagine the exponential growth effect that you might put in motion if everyone--Hondurans and their foreign friends--were working from the same page and sharing information and contacts as a rule, rather than as the exception.
One of the panels at the Conference on Honduras in Copan Ruins on October 24-26, 2003, will be the Panel on Volunteerism. The goal of that panel will be to encourage a national dialogue on how citizen volunteers can work jointly, seamlessly with government and industry in Honduras to facilitate and expand the valuable work in which they're already engaged.
For information on the Presidential Agency on Volunteerism, see www.presidencia.gob.hn/voluntariado. For more information on the Conference on Honduras 2003, see www.projecthonduras.com/conference.
|marcelino biswas (188.8.131.52)
|Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 11:28 am: |
i shall be glad if you forward your news magazine periodically which would be beneficial to our members since we run a private voluntary organization to assist our community members in the field of education, health and poverty lending. thank you so much for your kind assistance