UN Volunteer, Sandra Lucía Guzmán, serving with the PlanetGOLD project of UNDP Peru.

UN Volunteers enabling gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean

Over the past 10 years, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has mobilized around 3,000 women UN Volunteers in over 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. These were assigned to 33 different entities and bodies of the United Nations system, and 76 per cent of them served under the UN Volunteer Specialist category.

Their presence contributes towards the gender mainstreaming strategy of the United Nations system, which integrates the experiences of women in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes, with the aim of ensuring gender equality.

As a UN Volunteer, I design and collaborate in the implementation of gender proposals for the PlanetGOLD project, which focuses on women involved in artisanal and small-scale mining in Peru. --Sandra Lucía Guzmán, national UN Volunteer Gender Specialist with UNDP Peru

Sandra Lucía is a sociologist with 10 years experience in rural development and believes that efforts for equal rights must be collective. As such, during her assignment, she was able to prepare and provide gender workshops for her colleagues, and lead the mapping of socio-economic gaps between men and women in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector. Sandra Lucía also contributed to the design of a national multi-sectoral policy aimed at formalizing the work of women in artisanal gold mining.

Ksenia Alexandrova, an international UN Youth Volunteer, helped UNDP Mexico to achieve the Gender Equality Seal. As such, Ksenia has been collaborating in gender mainstreaming programmes and projects, as well as promoting an equitable and efficient workplace.

As a political scientist with a Masters degree in Development and International Cooperation, Ksenia also helps coordinate the gender-equality training project for more than 3,000 officials of the National Electoral Institute in Mexico.

Being a UN Volunteer is a dream. It motivates me to know that I can contribute to UNDP Mexico and help support vulnerable populations, leaving no one behind. --Ksenia Alexandrova, UN Volunteer Junior Gender Mainstreaming Specialist with UNDP

In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are more than 330 million women (World Bank, 2021). Through UNV, more and more women like Sandra Lucía and Ksenia are participating at the strategic, tactical and operational levels of the United Nations system and the work conducted in the region.  Thanks to firsthand information provided to UN agencies, funds and programmes, they have managed to create visibility for previously excluded agendas, needs and demands.

This article was translated with the kind support of Online Volunteer Christopher Clarke.