The NOC and volunteerism
December 17, 2004
The NOC and volunteerism

The year 2001 was proclaimed the International Year of Volunteers by the United Nations General Assembly. In the domain of sports and olympism, the IOC organized a World Conference on Olympic and Sports Volunteerism, called on all international federations and national olympic committees to celebrate the year by launching their own initiatives, and by paying tribute to the volunteers serving under their leadership. {{more}} During that period the IOC honoured 70,000 volunteers worldwide.

It is in this framework that the SVG National Olympic Committee would like to address you on the topic of volunteerism. We know what volunteerism means; we understand the necessity and importance of volunteers in sports. The Olympic Movement is the largest volunteer movement in the world. The very foundation of Olympism is volunteerism. It is therefore important that we use this occasion to strengthen the call and renew the tradition of volunteerism.

Volunteers are all good-intentioned people who work for free out of idealism or moral obligation, for the good of society. Whatever their standard or form of education, all volunteers without exception deserve respect and admiration.

In a book on volunteerism in Germany, published by the government, 37 per cent of the population, i.e. 23 million people, are volunteers in sports, making it the largest volunteer sector in the country. In the United States, 56 per cent of the population devote themselves to volunteer activities, for three to four hours a week. In Korea, nearly four million people devoted 451 million hours to volunteer activities in 1999. The economic value of volunteerism is estimated at two billion dollars.

In surveys conducted in several different countries, all volunteers express the same reasons for giving up their time: the pleasure of helping someone else and being useful to the community.

Volunteerism is certainly an action that gives true moral satisfaction to every human being.