December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Since being recognized by the United Nations in 1985, it has been celebrated throughout the world as a day to thank everyone who contributes their time to bettering society. Volunteers from all over the world are recognized for their efforts to give a little bit back. The United Nations celebrates all volunteers who are working toward the accomplishment of the Millenium Development Goals. See their Light Up the World project that tells volunteer stories from all over the world.
In Ouagadougou, the day was celebrated today by a march through downtown of various volunteer organizations in Burkina Faso (both national and international). Like any Burkinabè event, there was a ceremony to kick things off with speeches. Then each participating organization (Peace Corps, Red Cross, Boy/Girl Scouts, the national Burkinabè volunteer organization) was lead by two people, holding their banner, while the other members marched behind them.
If you're looking for volunteer opportunities/ideas, but don't have a lot of time, check out this website. They have ideas on how to make a difference in 15 minutes, a few hours and while you're on vacation. In fifteen minutes, you can donate hand-me-down clothes, toys, and out-of-prescription glasses; help girls excel at math and science; conserve water at home. They even have ideas on how to help out finding extraterrestrial intelligence!
Happy (belated) International Volunteer Day!