PNVSCA, URS hold International Volunteerism Forum

The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), in partnership with the University of Rizal System (URS), held a forum on Strengthening the International Volunteer Service Program through Partnerships with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) at the Audio Visual Education Center (AVEC) in URS Morong Campus and via Zoom on February 15.

Thirty-four state universities and colleges (SUCs) namely: Angeles University, Ateneo de Davao University, Benguet State University,  Bicol University, Bulacan State University, Camarines Norte State College, Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, Capiz State University, Cavite State University, Central Mindanao University, City College of San Jose Del Monte, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Ifugao State University, Isabela State University, Laguna State Polytechnic University, Mariano Marcos State University, National University, Nueva Vizcaya State University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig,  Pampanga State Agricultural University, Pangasinan State University, Philippine Public Safety College, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rizal Technological University, Silliman University, Sorsogon State University, St. Mary’s University, Tarlac Agricultural University, University of Mindanao, University of Northern Philippines, University of the Philippines-Diliman, University of Rizal System, and University of San Agustin participated in the forum.

Facilitated by Dr. Donald James Gawe, Executive Director of PNVSCA, the program included welcome remarks and talk about the Highlights of 2024 URS Plan of Action by Dr. Nancy Pascual, URS President; opening message about Volunteerism in Higher Education by Dr. Freddie Bulauan, OIC-Director IV of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Regional Office IV-A; a panel discussion on the International Service Programs by the PNVSCA and partner International Volunteer Service Organizations (IVSO); and synthesis and closing message by Ms. Carmel Matabang, Assistant Regional Director, NEDA Regional Office IV-A.

This event holds significant potential to foster synergies between educational institutions and volunteer service programs, thereby enriching international volunteerism efforts.

“Through meaningful dialogue and collaboration, the forum seeks to inspire and empower participants to become catalysts for positive change in their communities and beyond,” Dr. Gawe said before the panel discussion.

Meanwhile, Dr. Freddie Bulauan, OIC-Director IV of CHED Regional Office IV-A, urged SUCs to strengthen their volunteerism programs in line with RA 9418 entitled “An Act Institutionalizing a Strategy for Rural Development, Strengthening Volunteerism and for Other Purposes.” “Volunteering does not always have to be encompassing a national activity or initiative. Start it with something small and simple. Create volunteer opportunities for students within the campus and then within the area where your school is located up to the time that you get to influence the national or maybe international volunteer service as well.”

Ten agencies discussed their volunteering services and best practices:  University of Rizal System, PNVSCA, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), US Peace Corps, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), GIZ German International Cooperation, Global Initiative for Exchange and Development Inc. (GIED), Australian Aid, France Volontaires, and World Vision Development Foundation.

“Volunteering is really something that we should promote. It is laudable that we start informing our youths, our students about the importance of volunteering,” Ms. Carmel Matabang, Assistant Regional Director, NEDA Regional Office IV-A, said.

PNVSCA has been a partner of URS since December 13, 2022.