UNV Regional Websites

UNV works in 150 countries and territories, deploying UN Volunteers to advance sustainable development at grassroots level. Explore our work in the different regions of the world.

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East and Southern Africa
East and Southern Africa
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West and Central Africa
West and Central Africa
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Arab States
Arab States
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Europe and the CIS
Europe and the CIS
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Latin America
Latin America and the Caribbean
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Asia and the Pacific
Asia and the Pacific
In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mancia province, Mozambique, Community Volunteer Pita Inoque provides instructions on how to prevent cholera.
In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mancia province, Mozambique, Community Volunteer Pita Inoque provides instructions on how to prevent cholera.

UNV and Voluntary Service Overseas strengthen volunteering partnership to help deliver Sustainable Development Goals

UNV Executive Coordinator Olivier Adam and VSO Chief Executive Dr Philip Goodwin have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the longstanding partnership between the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). The principal aim of the new partnership is to work together at a global level, promoting and advocating volunteerism as an important means of implementation for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Both organizations recognize that volunteering for development can be a powerful force for change if inclusive, impactful and given appropriate support. Furthermore, they share a desire to promote quality volunteerism, undertaking research that articulates the diversity, value and impact of volunteering. UNV and VSO share learning and knowledge around volunteerism and the impact that volunteers contribute to the delivery of the SDGs.

UNV and VSO are natural partners to support global South volunteering and create a more enabling environment for it. We are happy to work with VSO to reflect the evolving nature of volunteering in the wider discourse on SDGs. --UNV Executive Coordinator Olivier Adam

UNV and VSO will work together to increase global recognition of the value of volunteerism for sustainable development. At the global level, the parties will cooperate by sharing evidence, research and good practices on volunteering for the SDGs. The two organizations will promote the principles and values underpinning the global standards for volunteering in relevant fora.

By work together the organizations will ensure that the voices of volunteers from the global South are represented, including at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and collaborate to promote International Volunteer Day through the organization of joint communications and activities.

At the national level, UNV and VSO will coordinate joint work of UNV field units and VSO country offices to create and promote an enabling environment for volunteerism through collaboration on national volunteering policies. This will include sharing knowledge and evidence to support countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique to develop new policies and legislation.

UNV and VSO will work together on establishing frameworks for joint working to promote national volunteering. Future plans include building capacity of partner organizations and helping the organizations to develop an enabling environment for volunteering. VSO and UNV will also undertake joint research and share best practices and learning, with a focus on the global South.

We’re delighted to bring new energy to our partnership with UNV through signing of this MOU. We look forward to continuing to work together to promote responsible and impactful volunteering, support governments build volunteer infrastructures and policies and demonstrate the critical role that volunteers are making to both the delivery and the accountability of the SDGs. 2020 provides a key opportunity to shine a light on the power of Volunteering with the Global Plan of Action launched by UNV, and VSO will be pleased to bring the voices, evidences and experiences of our volunteers around the world into this important process.  --VSO Chief Executive Dr Philip Goodwin

UNV and VSO have been working together since 1998, and the two organizations have worked closely together to promote inclusive, impactful and quality volunteerism. Both organizations recognize that volunteering for development can be a powerful force for change if inclusive, impactful and given appropriate support.

Furthermore, they share a desire to promote inclusive, impactful and quality volunteerism, to undertake research that articulates the diversity, value and impact of volunteering and to share learning and knowledge around volunteerism and the impact that volunteers contribute to the delivery of the SDGs.

The new two-year MOU strengthens the relationship between the two parties, providing the framework of cooperation. Specific annual plans will also be prepared at the beginning of each year and a review of the previous year undertaken.

Both organizations recognize that volunteering for development can be a powerful force for change if inclusive, impactful and given appropriate support. Furthermore, they share a desire to promote inclusive, impactful and quality volunteerism, to undertake research that articulates the diversity, value and impact of volunteering and to share learning and knowledge around volunteerism and the impact that volunteers contribute to the delivery of the SDGs.

While focusing on these areas, the partner organizations will work to identify and synergize mutually beneficial activities that maximize the effective use of resources, skills, capacity and knowledge for improved responsiveness and overall contribution to the SDGs. 


Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. 

VSO's high-impact approach involves bringing people together to fight various forms of poverty by sharing skills, building capabilities, promoting international understanding and action to change lives to make the world a fairer place for all to live in.