Red Vest International Volunteer Awards

Nurdal Durmuş
Turkish Red Crescent, Director of Volunteer Management

Volunteering has been a significant factor in the development of social relations between people, the formation of standards of judgment, the increase of social awareness and entrepreneurship, and the resolution of problems. The concept of volunteering has managed to exist and develop within cultures throughout history. It interacts with many disciplines, such as civil society, public and private sector, media, universities, and sports, and continues to be one of the critical components in many fields. Especially in recent years, the need and expectation for the services of NGOs have increased due to humanitarian crises, wars, issues caused by migration and refugee mobility, pandemics, earthquakes, floods, fires, and action against global hunger. NGOs have limited financial capacity and need solid human resources to fight against increasing problems. Volunteer management and contribution are considered strategically critical to achieving their goals related to business and service production. At this point, all organizations aiming to increase social resilience rely on voluntary service. It is so challenging for us to carry out many basic services without the support and motivation of volunteers.

One of the seven fundamental principles of humanitarian action, “voluntary service,” signifies offering assistance without expecting anything in return and transforming talent into value without expecting any benefit, which indicates that volunteering is prompted by internal motivation. Volunteers help transform the world in many ways, including joining a national association, donating blood, distributing aid in the disaster field, or any other form of help. Voluntary services add value to life and improve common sense, conscience, and awareness of society.

In terms of civil society, when we look at the activities carried out by volunteers, we see that one of the most significant needs today is the motivation of volunteers and their promotion in organizations. Therefore, ensuring service continuity and motivating volunteers of all ages to enable them to make efficient and sustainable contributions to human resources are crucial elements of volunteer management. The main concerns of sustainable management are appreciating the volunteer, allowing them to see the effects and changes resulting from their activity, and developing motivational methods to keep their enthusiasm alive.

Red Vest International Volunteer Awards set off as a volunteer motivation project that demonstrated the leadership of the Turkish Red Crescent in volunteering, which has the largest volunteer human resource in Türkiye, has been carrying out all its activities with the support of volunteers for 154 years, and has inspired many generations.

In the ceremony of the first and most significant volunteer motivation project in Türkiye, individuals, institutions, NGOs, and the media, which inspire society with their activities and contribute to spreading and developing the culture of volunteering as a social value, were awarded. Accordingly, the International Red Vest Volunteer Awards are organized annually on a meaningful day, the International Volunteer Day, on December 5.

Based on the evaluations of the jury members, 35 individuals or organizations, that led to social change with their work, were entitled to receive awards out of the 270 candidates from 42 countries in 16 categories.

The jury consists of the President of the Turkish Red Crescent, Dr. Kerem Kınık; NTV Coordinator for International Relations and Foreign News, Ahmet Yeşiltepe; CNN Türk Ankara Representative, Dicle Canova; Director General of Youth Services of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dr. Emre Topaloğlu; Psychiatrist Author, Prof. Dr. Kemal Sayar; TRT Director of Central News, Lamia Ayhan; Istanbul University Department of Sociology Faculty Member, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Murat Şentürk; Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers Türkiye, Nil Memişoğlu, and IFRC Türkiye Head of Delegation Ruben Cano. The jury decided that the 2022 Volunteer Awards would be awarded to the following individuals, institutions and organizations:

  • Halil Demir – Inspiring Volunteer 
  • Cemal Güdül – Inspiring Volunteer
  • Namık Tuncel – Barrier-Free Volunteer
  • Yunus Emre Güzel – Hero Volunteer in Disaster
  • NTV – Media Volunteer (Digital Media) 
  • Hürriyet – Media Volunteer (Journal) 
  • Serpil Güzel Ün – Media Volunteer (Radio) 
  • Ceyda Düvenci – Art Volunteer
  • Giovanni Guidetti – Sports Volunteer
  • University of Health Sciences– University Volunteer
  • Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) – Public Volunteer
  • General Directorate of Forestry– Public Volunteer
  • Turkish Airlines – Private Sector Volunteer
  • Zorlu Holding – Private Sector Volunteer
  • Borusan Holding – Private Sector Volunteer
  • Çorbada Tuzun Olsun Foundation– Civil Society Volunteer
  • Ahbap Volunteers– Civil Society Volunteer
  • The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA)– Civil Society Volunteer
  • The Educational Volunteers Foundation of Türkiye (TEGV) – Civil Society Volunteer
  • Yusuf İslam – Inspiring Volunteer (International)
  • Rogelio Mata Batista – International Kırmızı Aile (Red Family) Award 
  • Asghar Khan – International Kırmızı Aile (Red Family) Award
  • Emre Bark – Jury’s Special Award
  • Institute of Search, Rescue and Humanitarian Assistance of the Scouting and Guiding Federation of Türkiye– Turkish Red Crescent Special Award (Collaboration)
  • Şenlendirme (Empowerment) Platform – Turkish Red Crescent Special Award (Project)
  • Mehmet Levent Sürek – Stem Cell Donor 
  • IHH – Gönüllüye Vefa (Loyalty to the Volunteer) Award

The Red Vest International Volunteer Awards, organized on behalf of all the volunteers of the world by TRC, which shares the stories of volunteering with society, manages the motivation methods, and ensures the sustainability of volunteering in this context, will continue as long as there are vests worn by millions of volunteers around the world and their stories that transform for the benefit of society.

We would like to express our gratitude to all the volunteer heroes of the world and wish them many years of work that will inspire future generations and hope that goodness has a place in all hearts and surrounds the world.

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