DELIVERING AT THE GRASSROOTS
The UNV Annual Report 2015 showcases results achieved over the past year thanks to tireless efforts of UN Volunteers deployed around the world. UN Volunteers are ideally positioned to reach marginalized and vulnerable populations, and as such, UNV offers support and solutions that are locally-appropriate and sustainable. Volunteerism embodies the underlying principle of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.
2015 marks the first year of our universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are truly our goals as they were shaped by people from all walks of life. The SDGs will guide development for the next fifteen years, offering an unprecedented opportunity to meet global aspirations for a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future.
2015 marks the first year that our universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) began. These goals are truly our goals as they were shaped by people from all walks of life. We have committed to eradicating poverty, fighting inequalities, building inclusive societies, securing the future of the planet and the wellbeing of future generations. We have committed to eradicating poverty, fighting inequalities, building inclusive societies, securing the future of the planet and the wellbeing of future generations through the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteers are essential for implementation of the 17 goals. Volunteering is no longer simply nice to have. Worldwide, we see proof that it is a must have.
So what is it
that we do?
In 2015 alone, UNV deployed 6,796 UN Volunteers in 122 countries worldwide. 435 UN Youth Volunteers were sent on assignments around the world. 11,554 UN Online Volunteers proved that anyone anywhere can volunteer. UN Volunteers on assignment reached out to 60,000 other volunteers and 4.9 million engaged citizens in 132 countries. Expanding its field presence to be closer to our partners, UNV established regional offices in Bangkok, Nairobi and Panama. The Senegal Regional Office opened in early 2016 to cover West and Central Africa.
2015 was the first year of the SDGs and UNV has become the partner of choice in the increasingly complex field of global development and peacebuilding. Aligning with UNV’s Strategic Framework 2014-2017, the five priority areas are:
- Securing access to basic social services
- Community resilience for environment and disaster risk reduction
- National capacity development through volunteer schemes
UNV also focuses on mainstreaming knowledge and innovation as cross-cutting themes.
82 From the
6,796 UN Volunteers
served with 36
UN entity partners
AND DEVELOPMENT RESULTS
Delivering at the Grassroots presents just some highlights of UNV’s results and achievements in 2015. UNV has served as a bridge between the UN, civil society and governments for more than 45 years in over 140 countries. The chapters of this report showcase UNV and UN Volunteer interventions spanning UNV’s five programme priority areas, as well as knowledge and innovation.
Securing access to basic social services
Chapter One outlines UNV’s efforts in securing access to basic social services, with focus on primary health care, women’s safety, as well as education for refugee children and how UN Volunteers can be mobilized quickly on the ground and with the trust of local citizens whose priorities they share.
Community resilience for environment and disaster risk reduction
Chapter Two describes how UNV contributed to community resilience for environment and disaster risk reduction in areas of sustainability and crisis management, and how UN Volunteers value local knowledge in environmental management and capacity development to respond to natural disasters.
Chapter Three highlights UNV and UN Volunteers’ essential support in peacebuilding, highlighting the 2,321 UN Volunteers who served in missions of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, 139 in missions of the UN Department of Political Affairs, and 64 in emergency health missions.
Chapter Four on youth covers how UN Youth Volunteers are impacting peace and development from food security to national youth volunteering schemes. It highlight the commitment 1,598 UN Volunteers under the age of 29, including 435 UN Youth Volunteers, brought to their assignments in 72 countries.
National capacity development through volunteer schemes
Chapter Five describes UNV’s involvement in national capacity development through volunteer schemes, in areas such as national reconciliation and volunteerism policy consultation. It also highlights how UN Volunteers have mobilized thousands of other volunteers to engage in their communities.
Knowledge and innovation
Chapter Six highlights knowledge and innovation to build the financial, human resource and organizational infrastructure that facilitates volunteerism. It features the second State of the World’s Volunteerism Report, and UN Youth Volunteers who offer innovative solutions to development issues.
UN Volunteer Inspirations
“By living in a cultural environment so distant from my own, I’m able to put in perspective my values and improve my ability to empathize with colleagues from different backgrounds. This gives me the chance to reflect about volunteerism, its universal acknowledgement and the impact it can have on peace and development.”UN Youth Volunteer Programme Policy Officer Thiago Resende Xavier (Brazil) in Pakistan
“As a child, I was brought up in a culture where giving was considered the right thing to do in life. It is through volunteerism that I have grown personally in ways I cannot describe. This experience has allowed me to see things from a new and different perspective. Volunteerism provides me with new opportunities and experience to grow, learn about a new culture and meet new people, while being part of a bigger family where everyone works for the same cause: to better the world we live in.”UN Volunteer Specialist in Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding Nasra Islan (Kenya) in Kyrgyzstan
“What amazed me was that in the somewhat charged context of Rakhine State, you still find communities where the social fabric is intact and where people prefer cooperation to confrontation. The leadership of the Rakhine village administrator, his constructive interaction with both communities, and his insistence to make the project a success inspires hope. We need to support it.”UN Volunteer Programme Officer Darko Petrovic (Serbia) in Myanmar
“As a woman, it is challenging not only due to the nature of the work, but also due to the emotional burden, as we remove the homes of other women. I felt I was not only an engineer, but also a woman supporting other women and I am proud of it. In a place like Gaza, with such high poverty and unemployment, volunteering for me and my colleagues is really something special. I enjoy it as I serve my people.”National UN Volunteer Engineer Mona Ouda in the State of Palestine
“I challenged societal norms and my family when I studied engineering and later by working in this field. My experience as a UN Volunteer has been amazing. I am working to help others improve their livelihoods. I am also contributing to protect the environment as the recycled rubble will be reused for roads.”National UN Volunteer Engineer Diana Abu Ramadan in the State of Palestine
“Being a woman is not a problem, it is about what one can offer. Engaging in volunteerism in my youth taught me that there is a lot to learn as a young person and one gains much more by engaging.”UN Volunteer Peace and Security Specialist Jane Strapola Awuor Mala (Kenya) in South Sudan
“I am the only UN Volunteer deployed to Kigali in Rwanda. I believe that one of my responsibilities is to encourage members of the community to provide technical support and enhance capacity through volunteerism. Through a community service called Umuganda which can be translated as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’, I try to organize meetings with students to talk about community development. I really would like to leave Rwanda knowing that I made some positive impacts on the community I live with.”UN Volunteer Movement Control Assistant Carlot Duplessy (Haiti) in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“One thing I have learned in working with the refugee youth in Dadaab is their willingness to voluntarily engage, especially peaceful coexistence and awareness raising activities. I enjoy carrying out my UN Youth Volunteer functions which help make opportunities available for the youth generation in Dadaab refugee camps.”UN Youth Volunteer Associate Community Services Officer Rex Laissezfaire (Malawi) in Kenya
“My greatest satisfaction as a volunteer was when one girl who participated in the labs started to volunteer in her own community. Being inspired to extend help, she became a volunteer teacher at the national library of Tashkent and continued DIY labs with her friends. For the rest of my life, I will always be grateful for the time I served as a UN Volunteer.”UN Youth Volunteer Community Outreach Specialist Jina Park (Republic of Korea) in Uzbekistan
“Among all the people I met, I will never forget one. He was a school drop-out, who had been suffering from cancer. After his recovery, he went back to school. Around the same time, I published a grant by the German Government for Syrian refugees living in Egypt to join Egyptian universities. I still hear him jumping with joy when he received the good news. He joined the Faculty of Engineering at Alexandria University. I would never have been able to be part of such an inspiring opportunity if I hadn’t been a national UN Volunteer.”National UN Volunteer Education Assistant Esraa Mohammed in Egypt
“This assignment was certainly a challenge for me, and it was also exciting. It is rewarding to see the results of my work being shared with the UN in Malawi and globally, and to know that I have made a significant contribution to development.”UN Volunteer Joint Procurement Coordinator Lilian Byansi (Uganda) in Malawi
“This UNV position is meaningful work. Serving as a UN Volunteer gave me a great opportunity to learn from experts and engage with real-world issues. I would definitely like to encourage more talented youths with relevant background to join the UNV team and to consider participating in constructing the capacity of space technology that brings the benefits of space to humanity.”National UN Volunteer Programme Officer Shenrui Li (China)
“It is rewarding to know that I am helping the Congolese community. I previously worked for the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia but I really wanted to look at our world from a different perspective. When I was younger, I would have never imagined working as a UN Volunteer for one of the biggest UN peacekeeping missions in the world and serving the community I am living with.”UN Volunteer Network Technician David Bzhania (Russia) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Refugee to refugee:
UN Volunteers teach refugees in Lebanon
Lebanon: In response to the UNRWA Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal 2015, UNV provided basic education services through the recruitment and deployment of 103 national UN Volunteer Teachers for the children of Palestinian refugees from Syria living in refugee camps in Lebanon. These national UN Volunteers are themselves Palestinian refugees legally residing in Lebanon. This initiative is implemented in partnership with the European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom.
Around 53 per cent of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in the 12 recognized Palestinian refugee camps. The national UN Volunteer teachers teach English, Arabic, Science, Math and Social Studies.
Due to the UNV response, UNRWA was able to absorb and accommodate Palestinian refugee children enrolling at UNRWA schools in Lebanon. As the UN Volunteer teachers were able to staff UNRWA teaching positions, a total of 5,318 children were registered in UNRWA school for the 2015-16 scholastic year. Both Palestinian refugee children from Syria and from Lebanon experienced a smooth academic transition.Download Fact File
in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake
Nepal: On 25 April 2015, a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal, killing more than 8,800 people and injuring over 23,000. National UN Volunteers were on the frontlines of emergency response efforts, alongside some 300 agencies supporting government-led efforts.
UNV established a Nepal Earthquake Taskforce to coordinate the most effective and essential support on the ground. UNV mobilized 37 UN Youth Volunteers and 30 specialists, of whom 13 were women. These UN Volunteers were divided into teams led by eight national UN Volunteer Civil Engineers who were placed in the pilot phase. These engineers led a brigade comprised of local community volunteers, and trained 200 community workers on measuring the width and length of buildings during damage assessment. A total of 4,321 locals were employed through the Cash for Work programme within the UNDP debris management project and supervised by UN Volunteers.
Given UNV’s effective rapid response, the agency was invited by Nepal’s newly established National Reconstruction Authority to contribute to recovery and reconstruction efforts, in partnership with other UN entities and the government.Download Fact File
assistance in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso: Following the October 2014 protests against the ruling regime in Burkina Faso, a transitional government took charge with the mandate to organize free and transparent elections by the end of 2015. UNDP developed the Projet d’Appui aux Elections (PAE or Electoral Support Project) to provide technical support to all main parties involved in the organization of elections.
In collaboration with UNV, UNDP-PAE recruited 14 international UN Volunteers and 48 national UN Volunteers and ensured their rapid deployment. During their deployment in the field, UN Volunteers visited all provincial and local representations of the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI or National Independent Electoral Commission). UN Volunteers proved to be an effective presence in all regions of Burkina Faso, including remote locations with difficult access. Some 26 of the 48 national UN Volunteers led the trainer tutorials and trained polling staff, while international UN Volunteers coordinated training activities.Download Fact File
Inspiring a generation
of volunteers in Burundi
Burundi: The draft law on national volunteering in Burundi was formally launched by the Burundi Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports, and UNDP in July 2015. The legal framework formalizes volunteering in Burundi by embedding volunteering in local institutions and guaranteeing equal access to volunteer opportunities for youth and minority communities.
The National Youth Volunteering Programme (NYVP) was launched in three pilot provinces. Six national UN Volunteers, one international UN Volunteer, 250 young volunteers and 497 local youth participated in the programme. Since November 2014, the NYVP has mobilized a total of 254 young volunteers (40 per cent female) over two rounds of volunteer recruitment in 72 organizations around Gitega, Ngozi and Bujumbura. The value of the NYVP infrastructure was evident by the multiplier effect that just a few volunteers could produce. Thanks to efforts of this first round of volunteers, the lives of over 25,000 local Burundians were improved in tangible and sustainable ways.Download Fact File
Supporting the launch
of Peru’s volunteer department
Peru: UNV has been partnering in Peru to develop volunteerism and support the country in establishing legislation and structures for volunteers. In 2015, the Peruvian government created a specific department for volunteerism. On July 22, the new Department of Volunteerism under the command of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, together with the new Regulation of the General Law of Volunteerism, was officially launched in the presence of the Peruvian President.
To further enhance volunteer infrastructure in Peru, UNV launched an important research project documenting the Soy Voluntari@ methodology of cross-sector collaboration. The network received the People´s Voice Award in September 2015 for outstanding work and a ‘Longstanding contribution to MDG implementation through volunteer action”, presented by the UN Millennium Campaign, in collaboration with UNV and other strategic partners. Finally, UNV expanded the Soy Voluntari@ network in Lambayeque and Cusco to incorporate more than 50 entities from diverse sectors.Download Fact File
for positive impact from anywhere in the world
Online Volunteering: The percentage of UN Online Volunteers supporting UN partners rose from 33 per cent in 2014 to 42 per cent in 2015. They leverage their expertise and skills for peace and development on a voluntary basis, and on their own time.
In 2015, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) engaged a team of seven UN Online Volunteers who mapped over 700 best practices in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in 115 countries in preparation for the ITU Telecom World 2015 event.
Collaborating with UN Online Volunteers from France, Ireland, Israel, the United Kingdom and South Africa, Seeds Performing Arts Theatre Group in Papua New Guinea produced a screenplay underlining the link between sorcery-related violence and gender discrimination as part of their Women NOT Witches campaign.
UNDP launched an Innovation Facility to offer collaborators around the world technical and financial support to devise novel approaches to increasingly complex development challenges. The facility, in partnership with UN Global Pulse and UNV, aims to explore how new sources of data can measure key development indicators and mobilize volunteer citizen expertise in the field of data.Download Fact File
INSPIRATION IN ACTION
Our UN Volunteers around the world leave positive and indelible marks on the partners and beneficiaries they engage in peace and development interventions. Often, they go above and beyond their expected duties by taking the initiative to further contribute to the communities that they have integrated into. It is their dedication that makes UNV unique, and we celebrate this when we mark key events such as International Youth Day (IYD) and International Volunteer Day (IVD), among others.
Young people can help revitalize global peace and development processes and act as essential catalysts for change.
The theme for IVD 2015 was “Your world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!” The goal was to continue the dialogue about how volunteerism is vital to the success of the SDGs.Download Fact File
At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. Volunteerism facilitates engagement in the implementation of all goals. Volunteers build trust and mobilize people to collective action.Download Volunteering for the SDGs
In 2015, Blue Room Talks were held at the newly formed UNV Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Four UN Volunteers from around the world shared their experiences and the impact they were making within communities. Representing nearly 6,800 UN Volunteers deployed in 2015, these UN Volunteer contributed in programmatic areas such as gender equity, disaster preparedness and response, rights of persons with disabilities, and sustainable economic development.
UN Volunteer Gender and Governance Advisor Awotash Tefera (Ethiopia) describes her assignment with UN Women in Juba, South Sudan.
UN Volunteer Associate Humanitarian Affairs Officer Alexandra Lazau-Ratz (Romania) describes how she was deployed from her posting in Bangkok to support earthquake recovery efforts in Nepal.
National UN Volunteer Mony Pen shares his experience as a Specialist for Improving the Rights of Persons with Disabilities within the Disabilities Rights Initiative Cambodia.