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CVSS to host conference on strengthening volunteerism in Jamaica

Published:Friday | October 15, 2021 | 12:05 AM

The Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) will host its National Volunteer Conference and the Expert Speaks series in October and November under the theme ‘Strengthening Volunteerism in Jamaica Towards Greater National Development’.

Saffrey Brown, chair of the CVSS, said the conference will be held to improve structures of engagement and collaboration among multisectoral stakeholders, in support of the resourcing of the voluntary sector.

“The goal is to convene with voluntary organisations to gain consensus on ways of working across the sectors for the achievement of shared goals and objectives. This would include: discussions on policy frameworks, resource allocation and collaboration to ensure resiliency and responsiveness for effective disaster management. The conference will include participation from the public, private and civil society organisations,” she said.

Brown pointed out that the lack of collaboration among civil society organisations has hindered the sharing of data, expertise and resources within and across sectors, as well as the possibility of national alignment around various issues.

“Civil society organisation need platforms by which to facilitate the sharing of data, trends and issues facing the voluntary sector, and available tools to achieve objectives,” she underscored.


Nichole Cirillo, executive director of International Association of Voluntary Effort, will be the guest speaker of the conference. Cirillo, who is a strategic programme and partnership leader, will speak on strategies and recommendations for effective and impactful collaboration to drive action on eradicating COVID-19.

Leading up to the conference, the CVSS will host a series of Expert Speaks webinars with Cirillo; Dr Pearl Jarrett, a philanthropist, businesswoman, singer and cancer survivor; and Rob Pierre, co-founder and chief executive officer of Jellyfish, a digital partner to some of the world’s leading brands

The webinars will be held on October 26 and November 2 and will focus on engaging the diaspora in volunteerism; corporate volunteering; gender bias and delivery of aid; and measurement of the impact of volunteerism.

The conference will be held virtually on November 30 and is free of cost.

The events are being funded by the United States Embassy and is a continuation of the work of the CVSS, which coordinated and mobilised voluntary organisations to meet the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the society through its involvement in the PSOJ COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund. Through this initiative, CVSS managed to mobilise over 1,200 volunteers for the distribution of 702,000 food packages and 63,000 personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare workers and residents of communities that have been most affected by the pandemic.