In West and Central Africa, country offices of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme are working to bring more qualified professionals with disabilities on board to contribute to development, peacekeeping and humanitarian challenges.
Our goal is to ensure that no one is left behind. --Doris Saydee, UNV Country Coordinator in Liberia
In this photo story, we feature our outreach activities and initiatives in Liberia, Central African Republic and Nigeria, to demonstrate how volunteering can break down barriers and foster social inclusion.
Photo: Some of the persons with disabilities who attended a training session in Liberia. ©UNV, 2021
In Liberia, UNV conducted an outreach campaign to expand the inclusion of professionals with disabilities, in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the National Commission on People with Disabilities and the Williette Safehouse.
Over 40 graduates with academic backgrounds in sociology, education, public administration and beyond took part. They learnt about the UNV programme and how to register in UNV's roster to be considered for local and international volunteering opportunities with UN partners.
The engagement was informative and I learnt about UNV and the opportunities I can access within the UN system through volunteerism. --Victor Wilson, graduate with Bachelor of Arts in Management
Photo: Participants in the outreach session in Liberia. ©UNV, 2021
The success story of Abraham Kaneh, serving with the Resident Coordinator's Office (RCO) in Liberia, is but one example of how UNV is advancing the rights of persons with disabilities through volunteerism.
The key to independent living, for us, is education and employment. What we need is an entry point, rather than special treatment. Through this session, we identified 60 professionals with disabilities eligible for inclusion in the UNV roster. --Amb Pay-Bayeen, Chair of the National Commission on Disabilities, Liberia
Photo: Participants in an activity for persons with disabilities conducted by UNV in Liberia. ©UNV, 2021
In Nigeria, UNV led the conceptualization of the REACH project, a capacity-building initiative for persons with disabilities, in partnership with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women, UN Information Centres (UNIC), Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) and Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD).
Together, they trained more than 200 persons with disabilities on leadership and volunteerism in Lagos state. Branded as Volunteer Champions, the trainees applied the knowledge and skills they gained to sensitize the public on COVID-19 prevention, gender-based violence and HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Photo: Volunteer Champions lead targeted community development initiatives that contribute to the SDGs in Nigeria. ©UNV, 2021
The attendees met in public area – streets, marketplaces, motor parks – and distributed over 11,000 male and female condoms donated by UNFPA to market women, public bus drivers and traders. Some of them engaged in street sanitation and planting trees and flowers, as part of their contribution to addressing climate change and environmental protection. The second phase of the project was launched in Abuja.
Overall, the project intends to build the capacities, skills, knowledge and behaviors of at least 500 persons with disabilities and facilitate a society where everyone's voice is heard and respected.
Photo: After the training sessions, persons with disabilities sensitized the public on topics such as COVID and HIV. ©UNV, 2021
In the Central African Republic, UNV organized a workshop for 60 people with disabilities to train them on applying to UNV opportunities. The initiative, carried out in collaboration with UNDP, aimed at promoting inclusion and diversity.
UNV recently advertised 58 new national UN Volunteer positions in 47 countries across the world, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Video: Strengthening the capacities of people with disabilities in the Central African Republic (French only)