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When Fanny Declerq, a human rights lawyer and UN Youth Volunteer serving in Bolivia, decided to undertake her assignment with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), she did so because she wanted to bring her human rights knowledge into practice in the South American context.  After numerous solo missions throughout indigenous territories, where she conducted courses on indigenous peoples’ rights, and monitored human rights violations for over 4,000 people, she was able to make a meaningful contribution to OHCHR’s mission to better inform indigenous people of their rights. She also gained a deeper understanding of indigenous issues, improved her Spanish, and gained countless professional skills.

Undertaking 20 missions in 30 days, like Ms. Declerq did during her outreach to indigenous communities, takes a lot of energy. This energy, along with creativity, enthusiasm and fresh technical skills is what UN Youth Volunteers bring to the work of United Nations (UN) host agencies.  UN Volunteers are at the front-lines of the UN’s work in the field, and young people are especially well suited to this task.

This is no doubt one of the reasons that in his 2012 Five-Year Action Agenda, the Secretary-General of the United Nations called on UNV to create a youth volunteer programme, and why Member States passed a resolution calling on all stakeholders and UN agencies to support youth volunteerism. 

UNV interpreted the Secretary-General’s call in the broadest sense, pledging not only to engage young people as volunteers, but to facilitate the engagement of youth in global peace and sustainable human development through volunteerism, bringing the voice of youth into the development discourse and helping young people to realize their full social, economic and human potential.

The UN Youth Volunteers Programme is being launched at a critical time: more than 1.2 billion young people around the world are ready and willing to provide leadership and inspiration in global peace and development, yet they face vulnerabilities and challenges.  The UN Youth Volunteers Programme is the only one in the world that provides volunteering opportunities with the United Nations, and it represents a tremendous opportunity to reinvigorate the on-the-ground work of UN agencies around the world while building the skills and experience of the leaders of tomorrow and today.

New from UNV Bangladesh, "The world we want - Bangladeshi youth voices on a post-2015 world"
18 February 2014
Dhaka, Bangladesh: The publication "The World We Want - Bangladeshi Youth Voices on a post-2015 World" captures results from three national youth consultations that UNV Bangladesh and local volunteer groups organized in Jessore, Chittagong and Dhaka.  By far, equality emerged as the main development priority for the youth participants who emphasized the need for non-discrimination, whether by gender, sexual orientation, colour, caste, class, religion or abilities. Read
Launched on UN Day 2013, the Caravan of Volunteerism, organized by the UNV in Tunisia, will travel across the country for 14 days, mobilizing volunteering activities in communities, particularly among youth, including those in the most remote areas.
UNV Caravan of Volunteerism crosses Tunisia to raise youth awareness of their role in development
24 October 2013
Tunis, Tunisia: The Caravan of Volunteerism, organized by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Tunisia, kicks off 14 days of volunteering activities today as part of UN Day events in the city.  Organized as part of the Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future project, the caravan will depart from Tunis and travel across the North African country, reaching communities and youth in eight governorates, including the most remote areas of Tunisia. Read
Other languages: en español  
Maurice (right), the UN Volunteer leading the volunteer initiative in Gemena, and Paola, a member of the community, are showing people how to press the grated cassava before it can be dried to produce the flour. (UNV, 2013)
Weeding, baking and pacifying
11 October 2013
Gemena, Democratic Republic of the Congo: This summer UN Volunteers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) organized volunteering initiatives aimed at improving people’s lives. After a call for projects by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in DRC, several initiatives were put forward, each very different from the other, but all with one common objective: to improve the quality of life in the communities. Read

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UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)