About the AYVP

The ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program (AYVP) is a dedicated youth volunteerism platform that intends to create opportunities in knowledge-driven volunteerism, support the exchange of learning experiences, develop capacity, enhance cross-cultural understanding, and forge a sense of regional identity while making a sustainable difference to communities across ASEAN. This strongly aligns with the Strategic Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015 in article 5 under the Sociocultural Community, which aims “to lift the quality of life of its peoples through cooperative activities that are people-oriented and environmentally friendly geared towards the promotion of sustainable development, contribute to building a strong foundation for greater understanding, good neighbourliness and a shared sense of responsibility.”

The AYVP also supports the goals in the people-to-people section of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which stresses strategies that “provide the needed impetus for concerted efforts in promoting awareness, collaboration, exchange, outreach and advocacy programmes to facilitate the on-going efforts to increase greater interactions between the peoples of ASEAN.” In addition, under engagement with the community in the ASCC Blueprints, one of the strategic objectives is to “explore the establishment of an ASEAN volunteers programme, to be composed of young professionals, with focus on supporting rural development and assisting communities to help themselves.”

Background on the AYVP

In 2003, ASEAN Leaders recognized the “Prosper Thy Neighbour” approach to ASEAN cooperation through the adopted Bali Concord II. As agreed in the Bali Concord, it was tasked upon AMS to foster a community of caring societies and promote a common regional identity. The commitments of the Bali Concord were further strengthened with the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter in December 2008.  To guide the implementation of a “people-centred approach” as stated in the ASEAN Charter, volunteerism was identified as one of the priorities under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint, adopted at the 14th ASEAN Summit on February 28 to March 1, 2009 in Hua Hin, Thailand.  The AYVP will also uphold the concept of ‘Promoting ASEAN Awareness and Civic Responsibility’, which is one of the priority areas of the SOMY Work Programme on Preparing ASEAN Youth for Sustainable Employment and other Challenges of Globalization, as adopted through the Yangon 2000 Declaration.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, ASEAN ran the ASEAN Volunteer Programme (AVP) in Myanmar to support reconstruction in three villages in the Irrawaddy Delta. Overall, 40 volunteers from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand participated in seven projects that were implemented with five civil society partners.

This successful one-off initiative, which brought together citizens from ASEAN Member States to support disaster risk reduction initiatives, indicated the need for a more sustainable programme or facility that could efficiently and effectively coordinate and manage the deployment of ASEAN volunteers for regional community development.

It was with this background that the  proposal  that an ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP) be established, The proposal to develop the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme was presented by the Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, during the Seventh ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY VII) on October 20, 2011 in Hanoi and was subsequently endorsed.

The proposal to develop the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme was supported and presented by the Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, during the Seventh ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY VII) on October 20, 2011 and was subsequently endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY).

After the endorsement, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (The National University of Malaysia – UKM) hosted the inaugural ASEAN Youth Volunteerism Programme Workshop titled “Towards the Development of the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme: Building a Strategic Roadmap for Productive and Sustainable Knowledge-driven, Sports and Post Disaster Recovery Volunteerism across ASEAN,” in May 2012. Approximately 50 delegates attended the workshop, including student leaders committed to volunteerism, academic champions of youth and volunteerism projects, and practitioners from NGOs with expertise in coordinating volunteerism initiatives in areas including heritage conservation, sports, post-disaster recovery, health, social, economic and environmental development of communities, as well as key representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the USAID-funded ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility SOMY and the ASEAN University Network (AUN). During the two-day workshop, participants shared good practices and ideas in community-engaged youth volunteerism across ASEAN.  Participants then developed a framework for the implementation of volunteer programmes, which included brainstorming the capacity building needs for competencies and essential skills for the development of an ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme.

The AYVP Mandate

AYVP’s main goal is to drive youth volunteerism and community development that involve young people with a targeted demographic age between 18 and 30 (youth from higher education, colleges and working professionals) across ASEAN.  Through targeted in-country projects in ASEAN Member States (AMS), the AYVP will provide a dedicated youth volunteerism platform that will facilitate multi-disciplinary, knowledge-driven and/or post-disaster recovery volunteerism projects across the region.

All AYVP projects will be underpinned by respect, understanding and appreciation of ASEAN values, identity and multi-cultural diversity. The AYVP will therefore support the development of a generation of ASEAN youth instilled with strong minds, solidarity, and kindness to contribute to the development of communities in the region. The AYVP will work in partnership with diverse stakeholders from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Government Agencies, Intergovernmental Organizations, and Industries in order to achieve this goal.