Spirit of Volunteering, Spirit of Cricket!

05 Apr 2011

imageMembers of the Phillipines cricket team. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa.

United Nations Volunteer program partners with international cricket players and volunteer-involving organizations in Samoa gathered today to promote volunteerism at the Garden Ovals cricket field as the 2011 International Cricket Cup East Asia-Pacific Division 2 Trophy continues in Apia this week.


“Sport is a key area for volunteer involvement. Sport should naturally be used to promote volunteerism”, says Nileema Noble, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme.  


Representatives from the six national cricket teams of the Cook Islands, Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa, South Korea and Tonga jointly gave a declaration to promote the Spirit of Volunteering and the Spirit of Cricket.


“Today we’re happy to come together in Samoa…We are excited to play the cricket game. We’re also mindful of millions of people in other parts of the world who have to face challenges such as poverty, inequality, social exclusion and natural disasters…It is very sad for us to witness the recent events in Japan and New Zealand. As you all know, sport can be a powerful tool to bring about social change…So is the power of volunteering in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Today we declare here that we need the spirit of volunteering to end extreme poverty and to tackle natural disasters. Spirit of Volunteering, Spirit of Cricket!”  


The event was jointly organized by the Samoan National Volunteer Committee and Samoa International Cricket Association (SICA). Andrew Flynn, an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) assigned to SICA, said “Volunteers are important resources for sport programs and for social development. The Spirit of Cricket therefore goes hand in hand with the Spirit of Volunteering.”


The event was supported by volunteers from the member organizations of the SNVC, including the United Nations Volunteer program, Samoa Red Cross, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), US Peace Corps, AYAD and Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organizations (SUNGO). During the tournament, volunteers were engaged in setting up and packing down the cricket field, managing water and food distribution, ensuring smooth parking and handling the media. Samoa Red Cross volunteers not only provided first aid services at the cricket games, but also used the event to raise funds for the people in Japan who have been affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami.  


The “Spirit of Volunteering! Spirit of Cricket” banner was signed by all the cricket players and will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross to show solidarity and support from the Samoa National Volunteer Committee and the Samoa International Cricket Association.