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17 / 08 / 2004
The Iave World Volunteer Conference calls for a greater involvement of organizations in decision-making processes

The World Volunteer Conference to be held August 17 to 21 aims at raising public awareness both in the public and private sectors, as well as in community organizations, on the importance of voluntary work. The dialogue will bring together 1,500 participants from 42 countries and will produce a final report aimed at the social players.

More information about 18th IAVE 2004 World Volunteer Conference

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Voluntary workers worldwide need to make their voices heard, stated Assumpció Vilà, the chair of the Federació Catalana del Voluntariat Social (FCVS) during the presentation of the 18th IAVE World Volunteer Conference to be held within the framework of the Forum Barcelona 2004 that begins tomorrow and through to Saturday August 21. Vilà stressed “we need to make our voices heard” and “express our opinions while reasoning and discussing.” In this respect, the chair of the federation was in favor of taking into account volunteer organizations’ opinions “by taking part in the country legislation that affects civil society, since we know first-hand the problems that affect marginalized populations.”

Along with Assumpció Vilà, Liz Burns, chair of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and Judith Cobeña, dialogue director, also attended the presentation.

The IAVE World Volunteer Conference will count on the participation of 1,500 delegates from 42 countries and is organized in three plenary sessions to be held at the Forum Building Auditorium and with parallel sessions to be held at the Forum Convention Center with the aim of “making the voices of these three sectors heard; the voices of people who think hard about how the world is structured, and who can share their experience and reality, setting trends and making them known in order to continue developing them,” stated Judith Cobeña.

Aside from the sessions, close to 80 workshops will be held "to exchange ways of doing things and tools." On top of the plenary and parallel sessions, this 18th conference will also count on associative activities within the Forum Site (the Fair, the ‘141 Questions for 141 Nights’ open debates, and the Speaker's Corner activities).

In the Conference director's opinion, "the important people on this planet are those who give part of their ideas and experiences because they want to." Currently, there are thousands of people involved in volunteer actions. According to the president of the IAVE, the volunteer work "is a movement that takes on many forms, independently of the community, age, or social level of the people." In Catalonia, according to the data of the Catalan federation, 10% of the population has been a volunteer on one or another occasion, a percentage that is still far from those in the United States or the United Kingdom, where this movement reaches 50% of the population.

The president of the FCVS added that, "the poverty changed hands and the entities have had to be aware and connect to cover these new needs." Immigration, prisons, health, childhood and old age are, today, the main goals of the volunteer work activities.

At the end of the dialogue, the associations will present a final report for the Public National and International Administrations, the associative sector, and the private initiative with the goal to "involve these three important social actors for a fairer, more sustainable society that is at peace," the director of the conference remarked.

Judith Cobeña likewise condemned the scarcity of the economic means that voluntary work associations often have to deal with. "It hasn't been easy with either progressive or conservative governments," although the current executive respected the commitments acquired previously. To this they add that "the world of business is becoming more and more involved not only with money, but also with different actions: giving their products or being available to their employees," Assumpció Vilà pointed out. For this, "the entities can't hide anything and have to work efficiently and with quality," she emphasized.