The Coronavirus global health emergency is challenging the world, and each of us. For UN Volunteers, while we must prioritize security and safety for ourselves and our loved ones, it is also critical that we continue to do our best to support the important work we are doing with our partner agencies and the countries we serve. At UNV in Bonn and in our regional and country offices, we are working around the clock to provide UN Volunteers and host entities with support and solutions when challenges arise.
Giving clarity and certainty to UN Volunteers and their host agencies, is vital. UNV has put measures and guidelines in place to ensure duty of care for its currently serving 6,000 UN Volunteers who are deployed with over 50 UN entity partners worldwide.
Available in English, French and Spanish, the guidelines are intended for UN Volunteer management practitioners and UN Host Entities, during the COVID-19 operational response. An extension of the applicable conditions of service for UN Volunteers, they provide clarity on operational measures for effective management of national and international volunteers during the pandemic.
We are committed to updating the administrative guidelines and providing information as the situation evolves. We also support partner organizations, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO), by disseminating further information and training on COVID-19. It is important to get facts from reliable sources, and UN field missions, agencies, funds and programmes are providing new information as it becomes available.
In times of adversity, like those we are experiencing now, the strength and resilience of our committed and passionate volunteers shine. This week, a UN Volunteer mobilized with UNICEF in Wuhan, China shared her recent experience – despite the lockdown in Wuhan, Yuqing Xiong adapted to telecommuting and became a vital support and inspiration to others.
Yuqing’s experience in Wuhan embodies the values of volunteering and demonstrates whole heartedly our combined sense of purpose and desire to serve, even despite personal unpredictable and uncertain circumstances.
I encourage all those involved in UN Volunteer management and UN host entities to regularly connect with UNV and check back for further updates.
Let us stand side by side, while staying at a safe distance from each other.
This blog was written with the kind support of Online Volunteer Helen Maccan.