VOLUNTEERISM IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
UN Volunteers are among the first responders to the COVID-19 outbreak. They play a pivotal role in stopping the spread of COVID-19 as public health officers, doctors, emergency staff and community workers. Their efforts to leave no one behind contribute significantly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several UN Volunteers have been deployed with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, International Organization for Migration and UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sri Lanka, in support of COVID-19 response. UN Volunteer Dr Anjalee De Silva, serving with WHO, has been contributing to planning, coordinating and monitoring the COVID-19 response as Public Health Officer. Further UN Volunteers have helped or have been helping in mitigating COVID-19 risks and accelerating recovery in a wide range of areas, including promoting safety measures, supply of PPE items, research on COVID-19 socio-economic impact, raising awareness of initiatives to assist migrant returnees affected by COVID-19.
V-Force volunteers also supported the COVID-19 responses by ensuring the efficient, safe and equitable distribution of COVAX. In early February 2021, UNV mobilized two UN Volunteers and 23 volunteers from the V-Force programme to support UNICEF and the Ministry of Health in preparing cold chain facilities to store and distribute a variety of COVID-19 vaccines with different cold chain requirements. Read more
Not only through mobilising volunteers for the COVID-19 responses, UNV Sri Lanka also promoted the spirit of volunteerism which will in turn urge public actions towards mitigating the COVID-19 risks in their community. “Together at Home” challenge is a social media campaign to encourage youth to volunteer within their households during the lockdown. This was launched in lieu of the National Youth Day on the 23rd of May 2021 and received over 90 innovative and inspiring volunteering stories from across Sri Lanka until it concluded on 14th June. The selected stories were recognized and showcased through our social media platforms to inspire others to join volunteering despite the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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