Orphée-Luisa Dorschner and Marie Peschke are UN Volunteers from Germany currently serving in Latin America and the Caribbean. Both started in the United Nations system as interns in 2020-2021 through the Carlo Schmid programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). We share the tales of their journeys as UN Volunteers.
Orphée landed her internship with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Panama "auf Umwegen", as she says in German, or in an unanticipated way. Initially, she was assigned to a different duty station, but when that assignment was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her fluency in Spanish qualified her for Panama. "I wanted to contribute to peace and development and felt a direct connection to volunteerism," Orphée shares.
Orphée then completed a UN University Volunteer assignment, followed by a UN Youth Volunteer assignment. Now a UN Volunteer specialist, she serves as Regional Programme Analyst with UNV's regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama. Her responsibilities range from promoting disability inclusion and participating in a youth taskforce to pursuing talent outreach with communications colleagues, among other things.
I'm particularly passionate about disability inclusion tasks, such as a video I am working on to guide the supervisors of volunteers with disabilities and a manual on how to add alternative text to social media posts for persons with visual disabilities. I recently organized the first virtual networking for UN Volunteers with disabilities in the Latin America region. --Orphée-Luisa Dorschner, UN Volunteer Regional Programme Analyst
Marie serves in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as UN Volunteer Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Assistant for the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), based in its regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean. She supports the mainstreaming of gender, diversity and inclusion in projects and raises awareness of human rights issues.
Marie contributed to a regional approach to preventing sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. She is gratified that her service has helped UNOPS colleagues and local stakeholders understand the sensitivity of these topics, which is the first step towards ending violence.
Menstrual health is another topic that Marie is proud to contribute to. She participated in an initiative to provide menstrual hygiene kits in the workplace, while countering the taboo around menstruation.
Inspiration in action is what UN Volunteers bring to the table everyday: the conviction that a more equitable world is within reach, and that working together selflessly can deliver sustainable impact. --Marie Peschke, UN Volunteer Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Assistant
Orphée and Marie are deepening their global perspectives through the UN Volunteer assignments they are completing in new cultural settings. "Learning from each other and developing ideas in real-time, that is the beauty of volunteering," says Orphée. "What UNV is able to accomplish in this region cannot be done without volunteers, and that is very powerful."
Marie’s assignment has further strengthened her sense of purpose. "My commitment has been shaped and reinforced by recognizing the issues that stem from inequalities, the need for structural changes and the transformative power of collective action," she shares. "As a German in Latin America, I recognize my privileges, the responsibility that comes with them, and dedicate myself to amplifying the voices of those who need it most."
Orphée and Marie's experiences as UN Volunteers are a way for them to contribute to the work of the United Nations. Whatever comes next, they know that they want to be advancing sustainable development.