Inspiration in Volunteer Action
The UNV Annual Report 2014 highlights outstanding achievements realized in 2014 through the tireless efforts of UN Volunteers worldwide. UNV partners with United Nations entities, UN Member States, governments and grassroots volunteer organizations to collectively advance global peace and sustainable development. UN Volunteers are global citizens motivated to contribute to peace and sustainable development by sharing their time, talent and expertise.
welcome to our world
"2015 is a watershed year for sustainable development. A new set of Sustainable Development Goals will replace the Millennium Development Goals in defining our global development priorities. Over the past year, UNDP and UNV have engaged in thematic dialogues around the post-2015 agenda. Through this global engagement with people and communities, we have fostered an inclusive approach for implementation of these goals in the future.
2015 is also the year that the United Nations turns seventy. As we take stock of our progress in making the world a better place, the contributions of volunteers deserve serious consideration. Volunteers advance sustainable development every day by fostering participation, building social cohesion and promoting dialogue within communities."
So what is it that we do?
In 2014, UNV deployed 6,325 UN Volunteers in support of the development and peace interventions of UN and other partners. These UN Volunteers came from 155 countries, and 81 per cent were from countries of the South. Some 1,190 were below 29 years of age, and 249 were deployed under the new youth volunteer modality. This report captures some key contributions UN Volunteers made in 121 countries around the world.
For UNV, 2014 marks the first year of a new Strategic Framework, which spans the years 2014 to 2017. The Strategic Framework 2014-2017 directs UNV efforts and programme resources into five priority areas:
- Securing access to basic social services
- Community resilience for environment and disaster risk reduction
- National capacity development through volunteer schemes.
UNV also focuses on building a credible body of knowledge and enhancing innovation.
our work in numbers
VOLUNTEERING FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT
Inspiration in Volunteer Action is structured around the priority areas of the UNV Strategic Framework. For UNV, 2014 marks the first year of a new Strategic Framework, which spans the years 2014 to 2017. The Strategic Framework 2014-2017 directs UNV efforts and programme resources into five priority areas.
Chapter 1 describes how UNV is securing access to basic social services, amplifying the efficiency and outreach, as well as ownership and sustainability, of social service programmes.
Chapter 2 covers UNV’s contribution to community resilience for environment and disaster risk reduction. Since the international community adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action, UNV has played a key role in supporting climate change adaptation and innovative approaches to disaster risk management.
Chapter 3 recognizes the crucial contribution of UNV and UN Volunteers in support of peacebuilding and peacekeeping. UNV deployed volunteers to serve in human rights monitoring, protection and long-term recovery, and to support operations in peacekeeping and political missions.
Chapter 4 revolves around youth advancing peace and development through volunteerism. UNV connected youth volunteers, civil society and government representatives across the Arab region to enhance participation and address youth unemployment.
Chapter 5 tackles national capacity development through volunteer schemes. UNV provides technical expertise and guidance to catalyse the development of national schemes capable of effectively engaging, mobilizing, supporting and managing volunteers.
Chapter 6 delves into innovation and knowledge in UNV interventions and programmes. UNV constantly seeks to improve its knowledge base and establish good practices to better support the work of UN Volunteers.
”I am both humbled and honored to be able to volunteer, to be a part of an effort that enables even the most vulnerable people to gain access to justice. While what we are individually doing can seem so small we must not forget that — as the saying common to so many cultures goes — it’s the small drops that make the mighty ocean.”Mauro Puzzo (Italy), UN Youth Volunteer Legal Officer in the Gambia
”I never strongly understood the importance of our organization’s work until this devastating emergency. Despite all my grief for the situation the earthquake has caused, I feel privileged to be here in Nepal, being able to make an impact.”Enja Sæthren (Norway), UN Youth Volunteer in Nepal
”Work doesn’t know if you are male or female!Bicharo Gure (Kenya), UN Volunteer Mechanic in in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Can I replace a wheel single handedly? Check.
Can I drive a truck? Check! . . . When I was young, my father did not want me to go to school. I did my high school studies in hiding, with my mother’s help. I wanted to learn a new skill that I knew was going to help me in my life afterwards. Volunteering as a mechanic is a dream come true.”
”I also had a lot of fun meeting other UN Volunteers, making friends from different parts of the world and hearing incredible stories of their journeys and experiences. I would highly recommend the Youth Volunteer opportunity with the UN since it is a fantastic learning opportunity in a great working environment.”Nabeera Rahman (Bangladesh), national UN Youth Volunteer
”The advantage of UNV is that the volunteers are deployed to the frontline of interaction with those in need. When I applied for a Field Delegate position with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nigeria, those field experiences were assessed positively. I wouldn’t have my current career without my UNV experiences.”Norimasa Tochibayashi (Japan), former UN Volunteer
”I look at them, particularly the families that have lost loved ones due to Ebola, and find in them the energy to work even harder. I am hoping these people can return to a normal life very soon”Khalid Javed Choudhry (Pakistan), UN Volunteer Field Crisis Manager in Sierra Leone
”Volunteering at a refugee camp has helped me to grow on both a professional and personal level. We visit different zones of the camp each week and every day there is a different challenge. I like the personal contact because this way, we try to make sure no one falls through the cracks. As much as I am here to serve others, I actually find that these women and everyone at the Dzaleka refugee camp are the true inspiration.”Askal Tilahun (Ethiopia), UN Volunteer Associate Community Services Officer in Malawi
”2014 in South Sudan showed me the real spirit and commitment of the Volunteers and the strong ability to cope with hard situations never losing the will to do more and more regardless the conditions and the situation. ”Katia Cristina Da Silva (Portugal), UN Volunteer Civil Affairs Officer in South Sudan
”All young people can become U-reporters. The messages from different youths are subsequently analyzed by UNICEF’s project team, who visualize and share the results with decision makers responsible for essential public services, thus enabling young people to play a direct role in improving conditions in their communities.”Eliane Luthi (Switzerland), UN Volunteer Communications Specialist in Burundi
”Initially, coordination of emergency response training was very daunting but what supported me was seeing how dedicated the local volunteers were. They became like family to me and I watched over them like a mother hen! I got to see first-hand how our efforts empowered the local community with emergency response and resiliency knowledge. I might just be one ordinary UN Volunteer but I’ve learnt everyone has a role to play and you never know how wide your positive impact can be.”María Peña (Dominican Republic), national UN Volunteer
”My assignment gave me the unique opportunity to contribute to shape a new agenda that will hopefully enable the truly sustainable and inclusive development of our planet. Promoting people’s participation in the development and implementation of the post-2015 agenda has been a very interesting and rewarding experience.”Paula Hogrebe (Germany), UN Youth Volunteer Volunteering and Post-2015 Officer in Cameroon
Feature Fact Files
PRESENTING THE EVIDENCE
Based on UNV’s five priority areas, these seven fact files demonstrate UNV’s development impact by providing case studies of specific UNV interventions. These include a face file un UNV’s efforts to position volunteerism as a viable means of implementation in the post-2015 consultations. The final fact file celebrates volunteer inspiration in action, capturing snapshots of UNV and UN Volunteer activities commemorating International Women’s Day, International Youth Day and International Volunteer Day.
The feature fact files are:
- UNV on the frontlines of the Ebola response in West Africa,
- Emergency response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines,
- Protecting civilians in South Sudan,
- Raising awareness of special needs in India,
- Building capacity for effective volunteerism through supportive infrastructure,
- Positioning volunteerism in the post-2015 development agenda, and
- Celebrating volunteer inspiration in action.
- RESPONDING TO EBOLA, WEST AFRICA
- REBUILDING AFTER TYPHOON HAIYAN, PHILIPPINES
- BUILDING PEACE, SOUTH SUDAN
- SUPPORTING SPECIAL NEEDS, INDIA
- DEVELOPING VOLUNTEER INFRASTRUCTURE
- POSITIONING VOLUNTEERISM POST-2015
- CELEBRATING VOLUNTEERS
- Slide sideways to view the 7 feature fact files
Feature Fact File
On the frontlines of the Ebola response in West Africa
UN Volunteers were on the frontlines of the Ebola response in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. At the end of 2014, there were 23 UN Volunteers in Sierra Leone, 16 in Liberia, nine in Guinea and 10 in Ghana, all working for the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). UNV initiated an Ebola UN Volunteer Special Recruitment Campaign to enable rapid deployment of medical and logistical personnel.
Innovation is central to UNV’s work. Hundreds of UN Online Volunteers supported the Ebola response in West Africa through geo-mapping. In less than five days, UN Online Volunteers produced or updated maps of Sierra Leone and Liberia to facilitate the work of humanitarian responders.
Youth volunteers also played an invaluable role in fighting Ebola. In Guinea, UN Volunteers partnered with youth organizations in sensitization campaigns on Ebola prevention.
“The engagement of youth here is outstanding. Young girls and boys are volunteering in their neighbourhoods to raise awareness about Ebola and what must be done to stop it.”Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa
Feature Fact File
Emergency response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
A category five typhoon, Typhoon Haiyan killed 6,000 people, displaced 4 million, and destroyed community infrastructure in the Philippines. UN Volunteers worked with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the forefront of recovery. UNV mobilized 20 UN Volunteers: one international UN Volunteer who specialized in livelihoods and small- to medium-size enterprises and 19 national UN Volunteers who supported the UNDP cash-for-work programme.
UN Volunteers supported UNDP implementation of a livelihood pilot project at Barangay 88 that served 50 beneficiaries. National UN Volunteers also helped implement the Direct Employment Generation Project with the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and participating enterprises. UNDP deployed seven national UN Volunteers to implement a coconut lumber project. UN Online Volunteers supported UNOCHA by geo-tagging thousands of Twitter messages and images of the areas hit by the typhoon to map the urgent needs of the population.
“I could see, and supported through volunteering, the achievement and success of the projects facilitated by UNDP and other non-governmental organizations in helping people by providing them with an immediate livelihood. This had a big impact on the beneficiaries, giving them back some of their assets and livelihood that they had lost through the typhoon.”Alma de la Cruz, national UN Volunteer (the Philippines), Typhoon Haiyan survivor
Feature Fact File
Protecting civilians in South Sudan
In December 2013, conflict erupted in South Sudan. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) opened its gates, offering refuge to civilians. UN Volunteers helped establish Protection of Civilian sites.
Access to health care, including reproductive health services, is challenging in emergency settings. The two UN Volunteers associated with UNFPA reintroduced midwifery and reproductive health services and delivery at the Malakal Teaching Hospital. UN Volunteers provided quality antenatal care for 3,581 internally displaced women at International Medical Corps and International Organization for Migration clinics and the hospital. UN Volunteer Midwives serving with UNFPA mentored 26 health workers at the Malakal Teaching Hospital.
“Since the beginning of the 2014 crisis, the UN Volunteers on the ground have performed important tasks, usually going beyond their call of duty to ensure the protection and well-being of the thousands of internally displaced people who took refuge inside UNMISS premises. They participated in body searches, food distribution, grave digging, counseling and advising new arrivals, and organizing peace dialogues between the different communities in the camps. The UN Volunteers in Bentiu, working long hours in very challenging conditions, showed the true spirit of volunteerism and commitment to the people of South Sudan. The contribution of UNVs to the daily work here is enormous and their support is vital to our operations.”Mary Cummins, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and State Coordinator, UNMISS State Office, Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan
Feature Fact File
Raising awareness of special needs in India
In Churachandpur, India, a remote tribal area, few services are available for persons with disabilities. Under the Malsawm Initiative, UN Volunteer Special Educator Dipak Prasad, UN Volunteer School Administrator Kaylie Lalrokim, UN Volunteer Physiotherapist Shakeeb Ahmed Khan, and UN Volunteer Speech Therapist Margaret Hmangte help the community operate a special needs school. UN Volunteers and school representatives collaborated with local officials to remove stigmas and successfully integrate children with disabilities. UN Volunteers trained 40 parents, nine Malsawm Initiative teachers and 10 teachers on physiotherapy, speech therapy, special education and inclusive education. UNV/UNDP India produced a short film, ‘Oasis of Ability’, on the initiative, which was screened at regional and national events.
“At a personal level, volunteerism has helped me realize the importance of team work in developmental issues, and made me realize disability is a human right issue. We have solidarity for our fellow citizen in faraway places, which may act as a building block for promoting peace and development and I believe this spirit of Volunteerism will help to unite society with their differences intact.”Shakeeb Ahmed Khan, National UN Youth Volunteer Physiotherapist, India
Feature Fact File
Building capacity for effective volunteerism through supportive infrastructure
In 2014, UNV evaluated its contribution to supportive volunteer infrastructures. The evaluation covered 220 interviews, 23 focus groups, 281 documents and many country missions. The evaluation identified four spheres in which UNV successfully supports volunteer infrastructure: assisting national volunteer schemes, building national networks of volunteers, strengthening coordinating bodies, and building the volunteers’ capacity.
In Burkina Faso, UNV facilitated a participatory approach involving the central government, local volunteer organizations, and trade unions. In Peru, UNV’s support to the Soy Voluntari@ project demonstrates its approach to building national volunteer networks. UNV supported initiatives aimed at creating a favourable policy environment for volunteering in Cabo Verde. In Nepal, UNV supported the National Development Volunteer Service as part of a large UN Joint Programme Fund for the Local Governance and Community Development Programme by training and deploying 100 volunteers.
“One of UNV’s greatest achievements is its consistency in ensuring objectives of volunteer infrastructure projects are aligned with priorities and policies of host nations, local stakeholders and partners.”UNV’s Experience in Strengthening Volunteer Infrastructure, Global Evaluation Report, 2014
Feature Fact File
Positioning volunteerism in the post-2015 development agenda
In 2014, UNV supported the UNDG dialogues on implementing the post-2015 development agenda. The dialogues centred on six themes: localizing the post-2015 agenda, helping to strengthen capacities and build effective institutions, participatory monitoring for accountability, partnerships with civil society, engaging with the private sector, and culture and development. UNV co-led the dialogues on partnerships with civil society and was strongly engaged in the dialogues on participatory monitoring for accountability. Field units and Post-2015 International Youth Volunteers supported dialogues in several countries to ensure stakeholders’ voices were heard, good practices shared, and concrete opportunities identified.
“As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root, volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation. Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals. And volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction between governments and people for concrete and scalable actions”UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet, Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Agenda
Feature Fact File
Celebrating volunteer inspiration in action
Every year, UN Volunteers join the commemoration of key international days to highlight the contributions of volunteers and applaud hundreds of millions of people who volunteer to make change happen.
On International Women’s Day in March, UNV saluted those who have led by example making our world a place where all women can fully enjoy equality and human rights. On 18 March 2014, UNV organized a side event to the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, moderated by its Deputy Executive Coordinator. Participants discussed means of ensuring women’s participation within the post-2015 development context through enhancing volunteerism, breaking gender stereotypes and supporting a more gender-equitable society. The theme for International Youth Day in August 2014 was ‘Mental Health Matters’, drawing attention to mental health challenges among youth. Volunteerism can inspire and engage youth by facilitating their participation and channeling their energy to effecting change in their communities.
On International Volunteer Day, 5 December, volunteers and volunteer organizations around the world celebrated the day with their grassroots communities, local authorities and UN organizations, paying tribute to people’s positive contributions to development. The IMPACT 2030 Declaration – a UNV brokered collaboration between the UN and the private sector on corporate volunteering – was presented to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning at an event organized by UNV in New York.
un online VOLUNTEERS
Through the UNV Online Volunteering service, volunteers can take action for sustainable human development by supporting the activities of development organizations over the Internet.
A highlight of the UNV Partnerships Forum was the session titled, ‘Inspiration in Action — Blue Room Talks’. Eight UN Volunteers from across the globe took centre stage to share stories and insights into the differences they are making in communities every day. Representing over 6,300 UN Volunteers from across geographic and programmatic areas, the speakers included international and national UN Volunteers, a UN Youth Volunteer and a UN Online Volunteer. Their stories of dedication, innovation, courage and humanity brought to tears to many eyes and touched every heart.