All of these people have one thing in common. They are all volunteers. They have a desire to contribute to the common good; out of free will, in the spirit of solidarity and without expectation of material reward.

This is the power of volunteerism. As such, the development challenges we are facing in Zimbabwe requires not only economic growth but the contribution and concerted action of individuals and groups in society to improve people’s choices, quality of life and well-being.

Our unfinished business in particular is poverty reduction, reducing maternal mortality, empowering the youth and women, ending child marriage and gender based violence, upholding rule of law and justice, and sustaining the environment, will require the ingenuity, solidarity and creativity of all 13 million Zimbabweans through voluntary action.

Not only can volunteers serve to address a specific development objective, such as the volunteering action against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe, but just as importantly, volunteers can enhance human development by transforming individual lives, including their own.

Volunteerism matters because it brings the marginalised back to the mainstream; it moves people from exclusion to inclusion; it provides an opportunity for ownership and responsibility for their own sustainable future.

In Southern Africa it is called Ubuntu. Here in Zimbabwe, it is called Hunu. These are all expressions of people’s voluntary engagement in their community. It may be a different word, but it’s the same concept no matter the language. It’s a drive to voluntarily engage in your own community to change things for the better.