Resident Coordinator, Mr. Georg
Charpentier participating in
the International Volunteer
Day celebrations at the Khartoum
5 December 2010 - “Volunteering
for Millennium Development Goals”
was the theme of the International
Volunteer Day 2010 in Khartoum.
A commemorative event was organized
to celebrate the IVD 2010 amidst
much festivity at the Radiation
and Isotopes Center in Khartoum
(RICK) of the Khartoum City Hospital.
Over 100 United Nations
Volunteers (UNVs) worked hand-in-hand
with volunteers from 99199, a local
charity to spruce up three palliative
care wards of the hospital. 99199
is mobilizing attention and resources
for Sudan’s first state-of-the-art
cancer hospital for children. Land
for the hospital has been acquired
in Omdurman, adjoining Khartoum
and is expected to be built by 2013.
The event began by a recitation
of Muslim and Christian prayers.
One of the lead speakers at the
event was the hospital’s administrator,
Dr. Ahmed Omer. While thanking the
Volunteers for volunteering their
time to clean up the palliative
wards, Dr. Omer drew attention to
the rising numbers of cancer patients
in Sudan and the need for care and
treatment services for such patients.
The UN Resident Coordinator,
Mr. Georg Charpentier, who was present
on the occasion, applauded the contribution
the UNVs are making in relief, humanitarian
and development activities in Sudan,
including in remote and difficult
locations such as Bentiu and Abyei.
Mr. Charpentier used the occasion
to deliver the message of the UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s
message to mark the International
After the formal ceremony the volunteers
got down to work to rehabilitate
the three wards identified for refurbishment.
They wiped, mopped, washed, and
painted the wards. Those with a
background of civil engineering
among the volunteers carried out
the needed repairs.
For three full hours hands went
up and down in what seemed like
a well-choreographed symphony of
buckets, brooms, brushes, mops,
gloves and dust pans, among others.
The three wards restored are meant
to be used for male, female and
actively engaged in restoring
children wards at the Khartoum
Thanks to assistance
of the UNV programme in Sudan, the
four beds in the children’s
ward were furnished with mattresses,
bed sheets and garbage bins. After
painting the walls clean, a section
of the volunteers painted floral
designs on the walls that made the
children’s ward come alive.
The International Volunteer Day
is observed to recognize the contribution
of volunteers in peace and development
initiatives around the world. It
is easy to dismiss the work done
by the volunteers at the palliative
centre as an exercise in tokenism
but it sure helped save precious
and limited resources needed for
carrying out maintenance and restoration
work by the hospital for its wards.
The IVD 2010 in Khartoum was also
a day of fun. After completing the
restoration of the palliative centre,
the Volunteers joined a group of
children in singing, dancing and
merriment. The Hospital Waiting
Lounge was soon transformed into
a rocking dance floor as the DJ
played the popular Waka Waka number
by pop-singer Shakira. The song
was the theme song for the FIFA
World Cup held in South Africa.
Next, the UNVs and 99199 volunteers
teamed up with the children to participate
in a tug-of-war contest. The galvanizing
IVD event at the Khartoum hospital
concluded with a rip-roaring performance
by a Sudanese stand-up comedian.
More than 800 International and
National UN volunteers from over
40 nationalities are currently working
with different UN agencies in Sudan,
making it the largest UNV operation
in the world.