New faces as UNV expands in Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia: The first international volunteers have arrived in Armenia and are already at work on their assignments. Meanwhile UNV continues to support efforts to improve the voluntary sector and is actively engaging with the Government and civil society on a number of new initiatives.
The first international volunteer to arrive was Italian national Edoardo Martinelli, a chemistry graduate with significant experience in auditing quality and environmental management systems. Under the Seniores Italia programme he took part in a UNDP project to design a sewage waste water treatment plant in Dilijan.
Yasuko Kyo comes from Japan. As a specialist in human resources she is supporting the Armenian Development Agency in establishing a performance system, in the framework of a collaboration Programme with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Ignacio Boné Miranda is the first Spanish University Volunteer in Armenia. He will support UNICEF with its child protection programme.
The UNV Programme Officer in Armenia, Sara Sangoi, said: “The arrival of these experts in Armenia shows progress in advancing the volunteering agenda at all levels in the country.” Apart their direct contribution to the development agenda through their assignments, added Ms. Sangoi, these international volunteers are supporting volunteering action all over Armenia.
There is also a national UNV volunteer, the first ever in Armenia. Maria Poghosyan is a young graduate and is working as a UNV volunteer Programme Assistant.
The national UNV volunteer scheme, authorized in July 2009, enjoys a collaboration between the UNV programme and the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues in the form of its ‘Youth Vocational Centre’. Every Wednesday, the Centre organises interactive workshops for students and graduates called ‘Step towards the job market’, where UNV also participates and advocates for volunteerism.
UNV is also cooperating with career centres at different universities. On 21 November, UNV and the national UNV volunteer scheme will be presented during a three-day workshop in Tzakhadzor, a town in the north of the country, held by Yerevan State University.
Finally, UNV has helped establish a national network of Volunteer Involving Organizations, with a view to facilitate the improvement of legislation and a regulatory framework on the voluntary sector.
Since its establishment in July 2009, the 10 member organizations have met on a monthly basis. Their work has attracted the attention of the Prime Minister, Tigran Sargsyan, who has delegated the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues to look into the volunteerism issue.
The group has produced recommendations for legislation which are currently being considered by a legal team and will be taken to the Government to be included in the new draft of legislation on volunteerism.
UNV’s presence in Armenia began in November 2008. It will expand further in 2010 with the arrival of a UNV volunteer Intern fully funded by the Swiss Government working with UNDP on community development, another international UNV volunteer fully funded by the Japanese Government who will be assigned to UNHCR, and two corporate volunteers from Kraft. The latter will collaborate with the Armenian Development Agency in bettering the quality and safeness of cheese production.
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