From 4 to 7 December, representatives of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes in Mexico gathered to debate how citizens can support UN actions in the country through volunteerism.
The Deputy Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Ms Kyoko Yokosuka, and UNV Regional Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ms Lita Paparoni, visited Mexico. They met with representatives of different UN entities, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Resident Coordinator's Office (UNRCO).
The purpose of these meetings was to encourage UN partners in Mexico to integrate professionals in their teams, in order to strengthen the UN programmes, initiatives and projects in the country.
The UNV presence in Mexico keeps growing, with 128 UN Volunteers currently serving with 11 UN partners. UNICEF is UNV’s largest partner in the country. These volunteering opportunities are professional experiences, which require a full-time commitment, and offer entitlements such as a monthly living allowance, health insurance, leave entitlements and learning opportunities, among others.
The visit of Ms Yokosuka and Ms Paparoni to Mexico also coincided with International Volunteer Day, 5 December, a day to acknowledge and celebrate the value of volunteering for promoting development.
Every year, we travel to different locations to celebrate International Volunteer Day. I chose Mexico, because it has been one of the fastest growing countries in the world, in terms of the number of UN Volunteers. I wanted to recognize and highlight such impressive growth and use this opportunity to meet and thank all the volunteers and partners who made such an achievement possible. --Kyoko Yokosuka, Deputy Executive Coordinator, UNV
Ms Paparoni, also stressed the importance of recognizing volunteering in communities.
I invite you to recognize and empower other forms of volunteerism in our countries and communities. Let us recognize those who volunteer in their neighborhoods and communities, those who volunteer to address inequalities and protect rights, also of the vulnerable, volunteers of all ages, from all cultures and in all contexts. Together, let us spread the message that volunteerism is, par excellence, the wealth of our nations. --Lita Paparoni, Regional Manager, UNV Regional Office in Latin America and the Caribbean
More than 80 people, including UN Representatives in Mexico and UN Volunteers, joined a celebratory lunch.
"In Mexico, volunteerism draws on strong cultural and historical traditions. What we saw in the aftermath of the 2017 earthquake were dedicated and selfless human efforts, on a level of what can only be described as pure altruism and heroic humanity," Ms Yokosuka stated in her speech. "As in all other countries, Mexico greatly suffered from the pandemic, and building forward better will be a daunting challenge, addressing social, political, economic and environmental aspects. Volunteers represent a concrete and inspiring response to these challenges."
To UN Volunteers: this International Volunteer Day, we celebrate your passion and work, and your contribution to Mexico’s development and peace. We are proud of your achievements and dedicated service with our UN partners. --Kyoko Yokosuka
UNV volunteer opportunities can be found at app.unv.org.