Yurii Chernukha, national UN Volunteer (first from right) with fellow UN Volunteers in Ukraine.
Yurii Chernukha, national UN Volunteer (first from right) with fellow UN Volunteers in Ukraine.

"Serving as a national UN Volunteer is a priceless opportunity to learn and innovate"

During the COVID-19 pandemic, national professionals serving as UN Volunteers bring their expertise to address new pressing challenges and reimagine ongoing projects. Yurii Chernukha is a young specialist serving in the procurement unit of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) country office in Ukraine, deployed under the UNDP-UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities. His assignment is part of a project which is supported by the Government of Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

As a member of the procurement team, Yurii contributes to almost 20 projects. UNDP Ukraine provides procurement support services to the Ministry of Health and the Recovery and Peacebuilding and Democratic Governance Programmes.

"We support other UN agencies from the UNDP country office in Ukraine, and the workflow is often intense," Yurii shares. "Usually, I manage databases, prepare tender-related documents and collaborate with my colleagues from other country office units and UNDP projects." 

Yurii and his colleagues perform quality assurance assessments of all vendors chosen for COVID-19-related procurement. To help vendors, Yurii developed a new automatization scheme to improve their database management process. This scheme will be critical in future procurement processes.

It is important to be well-organized and professional in working with vendors. We regularly and meticulously check many details, in accordance with the UNDP due diligence procedures to choose vendors. Now, when analyzing documents, I have to consider details that may not have been relevant before the outbreak. --Yurii Chernukha, UN Volunteer with UNDP, Ukraine

Despite the workload, Yurii is driven by his passion and excitement. "Serving as a national UN Volunteer is a priceless opportunity to learn and innovate. It also offered me the unique experience of being part of the UN family and this professional team," he says. "I am gratified to have learnt so much from working with the UNDP procurement team." 

I am glad that UNV and UNDP established this talent programme for young professionals with disabilities, which gave Yurii the opportunity to join our team and bring his eagerness and restlessness to it. He is a great addition to our team and we try to mentor and guide him as much as we can to become a full-fledged professional. --Artem Danylchenko, Procurement Analyst and Yurii's supervisor, UNDP

To expand his knowledge, Yurii participated in the UNDP Procurement Official Certification Assessment and was awarded Procurement Certification Level 1. He considers his UN Volunteer assignment a valuable opportunity to implement his previous professional experience and acquire new knowledge and skills. 

Prior to join UNDP, Yurii worked in the private sector, but longed for an opportunity to work with an international organization. “Now, during the pandemic, I feel the value of my work even more," he says. 

Yurii also enjoys the social life of UN Volunteers. Before the outbreak, the UNV community in Ukraine regularly came together, went sightseeing in Kyiv city, and always found the time and motivation to share ideas and learn from challenges.

Members of the community of UN Volunteers in Ukraine during one of their sightseeing activities in Kyiv city. ©UNV, 2019

In 2019, UNV deployed 45 UN Volunteers with disabilities under the UNDP-UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities worldwide: 31 with UNDP in 22 countries and 14 with eight other UN entities in 11 countries. During that year, the number of candidates with disabilities registered in the Talent Pool grew to 3,315 candidates. Also, UNV and UNDP won the Innovation in recruitment award at the 2019 UN/IO Career Development Roundtable. Read more: UNDP/UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities.