Visit to see progress in volunteering for development
La Paz, Bolivia: The Chief of the Development Division of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Ghulam Isaczai visited Bolivia last week to learn about the achievements and progress made by UNV and its partners towards human development.
On his first visit to the region, Mr Isaczai, an Afghan national wanted to learn about the development work that national and international UNV volunteers are doing in Bolivia. He was interested in the work carried out in collaboration with other United Nations Agencies in the capital La Paz, and in the various projects and programmes around the country.
The UNV programme in Bolivia focuses on the integration and promotion of volunteerism, with a special focus on human development and the Millennium Development Goals. To this end there are currently 49 professionals working as UNV volunteers: 29 national and 20 international UNV volunteers.
The UNV volunteers work within nine United Nations Agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The first day of the mission Mr Isaczai travelled to the department and city of Oruro, in the heart of the Altiplano region, to see the day-to-day reality of several UNV volunteers working in rural areas. These UNV volunteers, who themselves belong to indigenous groups, are known locally as Yanapiri, the Aymara word for “someone who helps the community”, and work within a UNDP project for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The work of the Yanapiri volunteers highlights a new approach to volunteerism for community development, in which the MDGs are seen from an indigenous perspective with regards to the world and cosmos.
Mr Isaczai also had the opportunity to see first-hand the work of various UNV volunteers involved in the strategic alliance between UNIFEM and UNV. This alliance promotes volunteerism and participation of women in the preparation of local budgets. These budgets include a percentage to be dedicated to women’s issues. This project is underway in three countries of the region: Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina.
A short meeting with UNV volunteers working in La Paz was also organized as part of the mission. This meeting gave the volunteers the opportunity to share their work experiences with the various Programmes and Agencies. They also shared their motivation and ideas to improve the UNV programme in Bolivia.
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