UNV World Bank photo
National UN Volunteers in Sri Lanka promoting volunteerism. (UNV, 2014)

UNV renews partnership with the World Bank

Three national UN Volunteers started this month their volunteer assignments with the World Bank Country Office in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This new deployment is especially noteworthy – World Bank and UNV rejuvenate their more than three-decade old partnership as UN Volunteers take on core personnel responsibilities and deepen relationship with Government.

Duvindi Illankoon, Manela Karunadasa and Kavitha Ariyabandu are on a six-month UN Volunteer assignment and support the World Bank on core staff responsibilities that include developing the existing relationship with the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and maintaining momentum on national economic reform.

This new deployment is especially noteworthy – World Bank and UNV rejuvenate their more than three-decade old partnership and, UN Volunteers take on core bank staff responsibilities instead of being tasked to specific projects as in the past.

Underlining the partnership with UNV, Emanuel Salinas, World Bank Program Leader for Growth & Competitiveness for Sri Lanka and Maldives, says: “At the World Bank in Sri Lanka, finding people with the right set of skills has always been a challenge.”

Through word of mouth in the development community we heard about the great work that UNV has done in Sri Lanka. From the beginning, we were impressed by the large database of qualified candidates. Thereafter the rapid response time and very professional organization of the whole process were equally impressive.

Through this renewed partnership, national UN Volunteers ensure that volunteer engagement addresses developmental challenges and opportunities in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Salinas shares his views about the value added of UN Volunteers, “Altogether UNV has been a one stop shop through which we have identified and engaged three candidates in record time and for a variety of thematic areas – innovation, state-owned enterprises, investment climate. The candidates (in fact our new colleagues now) are excellent and have integrated very rapidly with the rest of the team.”

I would highly recommended partnering with UNV to anyone seeking rapid mobilization of talent.

The original UNV-World Bank partnership started in 1981 with the recruitment of three UN Volunteer Specialists. This figure rose considerably in subsequent years and reached some 180 UN Volunteers serving in projects financed or executed by the World Bank. Some of these projects included UN Volunteer Specialists in Equatorial Guinea evaluating agriculture methodology for sustainable livelihood and UN Volunteers in Benin helping design health centers in rural communities.

Volunteerism empowers people to collectively act and engage while harnessing individual and collective capacities. The three newly recruited UN Volunteers at the World Bank in Sri Lanka will contribute to economic reform by engaging in research mechanisms, conducting technical assessments and compiling progress reports.

The deployment of these Sri Lankan UN Volunteers further exemplifies UNV’s vision of promoting the global recognition of volunteerism, advancing sustainable development, and increasing opportunities for UN Volunteers to serve within all sectors of development.

Volunteerism is embedded in the global development agenda and delivers across all the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 17 – which relates to expanding global partnerships for sustainable development. Partnering with the World Bank is an important aspect of this shared global vision.