Marina Feher, a national UN Volunteer with the Blue Dot initiative of UNICEF and UNHCR in Romania, during a field visit. Working with women and youth refugees from Ukraine, Marina is seen here preparing protection products for distribution.
Marina Feher, a national UN Volunteer with the Blue Dot initiative of UNICEF and UNHCR in Romania, during a field visit. Working with women and youth refugees from Ukraine, Marina is seen here preparing protection products for distribution.

UN Volunteers in safe spaces: helping refugee women and youth on the move

In the months since the start of the war in Ukraine, UN Volunteers have provided mental health, psychosocial support, first aid and access to health care to those affected. These volunteers serve with UN partners in countries neighbouring Ukraine. In Romania and Moldova, UN Volunteers support the safe space initiatives of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

UNICEF and UNHCR, in partnership with governments and civil society organizations, have set up 26 Blue Dot safe spaces for children and women in bordering countries, each able to provide relief for 3,000-5,000 people per day. They are also mobilizing to treat the mental and emotional damage caused by the conflict.

In Romania, Marina Feher became a national UN Volunteer with UNICEF to help the Blue Dot initiative, focusing on refugees in Isaccea, Tulcea and Galati areas.

Day-by-day, I help to make the new Blue Dot initiative fully functional to provide critical support to the refugees crossing Romanian border points. I gather key issues from Ukrainian refugees and help Ukrainian refugee students access education here in Romania, giving them hope for proper inclusion. --Marina Feher, UN Volunteer Blue Dot Operations Officer with UNICEF in Romania

With UN Volunteers, the Blue Dot initiative gained more capacity to be on the frontline, close to the refugees, to better understand their needs and ensure that the appropriate response measures are put in place.

UN Volunteers provide us with a dynamic new point of view, to have a direct link and understanding with the field-based staff of our partners and to reinforce UNICEF’s legitimacy and visibility, not only in the field, but also at the regional and national level. --Diana Schirca, Human Resources Officer with UNICEF Romania

In Moldova, three UN Volunteers serve as Psychosocial Support Officers with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). They support sexual and reproductive health outside Chisinau at the refugee placements, including the border point of Palanca.

Orange spaces are safe and friendly venues that provide a physically, emotionally and socially protective environment for youth and women. They are dedicated to adolescents and youth aged 10 to 24 years and women of all ages. These orange spaces offer a combination of protection, psychosocial, referral and recreation services, as well as activities aiming at developing life skills, building emotional resilience and preventing gender-based violence.

The UN is grateful for the compassion and solidarity of Ukraine’s neighbours, who are taking in those seeking safety. In support of its partners, UNV is continuing the recruitment of national and Refugee UN Volunteers in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

WHO Romania
World Health Organization (WHO) field visit to Botosani, Romania, together with UNHCR and UNICEF, checking out a possible field site for contingency accommodation. ©UNV, 2022.

For onsite UN Volunteer assignments, UNV is looking for a wide range of professional profiles, including Information Managers, Risk Communication and Digital Communications Specialists, Field Assistants, Emergency Medical Technicians, Logistic Operations Specialists, among others. Check out available assignments on the dedicated page for the war in Ukraine.

We invite you to join our national talent pool by creating an account on our UN Volunteer Management Platform. Once registered, individuals are requested to include key information, including personal data, qualifications and skills, professional experience and references, among other things. Check here for a step-by-step video guide.

UNV will contact candidates whose profiles match the specific requirements of available UN Volunteer opportunities upon application, which are updated daily and published through our dedicated webpage.

UN Volunteers are entitled to a monthly living allowance and insurance, so they can sustain a modest and secure standard of living, according to the Unified Conditions of Service, during their assignment.

UNV also offers Online Volunteer assignments to provide individuals with a platform to support UN Ukraine emergency response programmes virtually, in their spare time. You can become an Online Volunteer without the need to travel or make a full-time or long-term commitment. Refer to these pages for further information on Online Volunteering in general and UNV's Online Volunteering offer for Ukraine specifically. 

UN Volunteers are at the forefront of the response to the war in Ukraine. Often refugees themselves, they are serving in the country and in neighboring countries, sharing the perspective of those on the ground.

Do you want to support the UN's response to the war in Ukraine? Volunteer.