UN Volunteers

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.

executive briefing

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."

image sescription Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme, New York, June 2015
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”It gives me great pleasure to present the UNV Annual Report 2014, showcasing the contributions of UN Volunteers to peace and development worldwide. Here we celebrate the achievements and impacts of UN Volunteers, UN Youth Volunteers and UN Online Volunteers. I congratulate all for their dedication and hard work. They are truly inspiration in action.” Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator, United Nations Volunteers, Bonn, June 2015

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
  • Peacebuilding
  • Youth
  • National capacity development through volunteer schemes.

UNV also focuses on building a credible body of knowledge and enhancing innovation.

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our work in numbers

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From 155 countries of origin
In 121 countries of assignment
19% from the global North
81% from the global South
41% women
59% men
UN Volunteers in 2014
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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.

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Securing access to basic social services

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.

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Community Resilience for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction

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.

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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.

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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.

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National Capacity Development through Volunteer Schemes

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.

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innovation &

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!
    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.”
    Bicharo Gure (Kenya), UN Volunteer Mechanic in in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • ”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

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.

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UNV has been sharpening its focus on adapting to the changing needs of its UN partners, while providing safe and adequate support to UN Volunteers who dedicate their skills to further peace and development globally. The Conditions of Service for international UN Volunteers were revised to better suit the changing needs of UN Volunteers, retain UNV as an attractive modality to UN entity partners, and streamline volunteer management procedures globally.

The methodology for establishing the Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) country specific base rates for national UN Volunteers was revised in 2014. Finally, UNV surveyed its volunteers to determine their satisfaction, engagement and well-being, and to gather suggestions for change.

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UN volunteers
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UN volunteers
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Blue room

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.

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// Dr. Bip Nandi, from the United Kingdom, shared his experience as a UN Volunteer Paediatric Surgeon in Malawi.
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