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21 JANUARY 2010
TWO FILIPINOS AMONG 2010 HONOREES FOR OUTSTANDING UN ONLINE VOLUNTEERS
19 January 2011 A Filipino graphic artist and professor and a medical technologist were among the winners of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme’s “Online Volunteering Award 2010” for outstanding contributions to peace and development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through their volunteer work over the internet.
In its announcement, the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme named online volunteer and Professor Edwin Cuenco and Edith Marie Garingalao among ten individuals and organizations as winners for 2010.
The Germany based UNV said Cuenco provided pro bono graphic design services to various NGOs, including the Association Against Women Export (AAWE). Cuenco, an award winning graphics designer who teaches graphic design at the Arkansas Tech University, developed promotional materials that “strengthened AAWE’s capacities to advocate against human trafficking and contributed to raising funds for the organization’s women empowerment projects in Edo State, Nigeria.”
Cuenco’s volunteer work focused on MDG goal 3:Promote gender equality and empower women.
Edith Marie Garingalao, a medical technology professional, was part of the Kitega Community Center (KCC) team which identified possible health service models and assessed their relevance for Kitega, a small rural town in Uganda. The team helped empower KCC to transform their plans into action.
The teams’ contributions focused on MDG4: Reduce child mortality, MDG5: Improve maternal health and MDG6: Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases goal.
According to Cuenco, “Online volunteering completely changed my life. I didn't choose it – in some ways, it chose me. I always learn something new, share my skills, meet new friends, help other people. Moreover, I think I grew personally and became a better, caring individual. I volunteer online because it is my civic and moral duty. I have learned that if we do not help each other nothing will ever be sustainable. This makes me feel good as I do remember growing up in poor and indigent surroundings. Since then I swore that I would give back in any way I could. As I enjoy my online volunteer experience, I plan to keep on helping to the extent that I am able for my entire life!”
Garingalao meanwhile said, “I was in Uganda in 2002 and saw first-hand how the people there tend to cope especially in terms of health issues. When this project was offered, I thought it would be great to share what I know to help the people and also learn from their traditional understanding of such issues. The closeness within the team was overwhelming. Although we were from different countries having different backgrounds, we shared one goal which is to finish this project in order to help the people of Kitega.”
A jury of experts in volunteerism and development cooperation, including UNV representatives from country offices and headquarters, chose the winners based on their commitment and contributions, the results of their collaboration and their impact on the activities of the non-profit development organizations they supported.
Congratulating the winners, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan said the recent recognition demonstrated the ability of Filipinos to contribute to development beyond the Philippines through their experience, expertise and knowledge of information communications technology.”
Ambassador Cabactulan further said, the passion and creativity of Filipinos can be tapped to help move many development organizations – both within and outside the Philippines - towards accomplishing their goals and, consequently, in achieving MDGs.
“Just imagine if all this positive energy and talent can be multiplied and harnessed. The possibilities are amazing,” Ambassador Cabactulan said.
In a statement, UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri emphasized volunteers’ important role in achieving the MDGs. “We can meet the goals, but only if we complement essential government action with the engagement of millions of people through volunteer action”, she said.
Every year, more than 9,000 online volunteers engage in the work of non-profit development organizations through the UNV Online Volunteering service, which has entered its 10th year. Many non-governmental organizations, governments and United Nations agencies already recognize the value of online volunteering. END
Reference:Robert E.A. Borje
Philippine Mission to the United Nations
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