A call for Haitians to volunteer with the UN

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has recently launched a call for diverse Haitian professionals to serve as UN Volunteers and contribute to the UN's humanitarian response to the recent earthquake in the country.

UNV calls on Haitians (or official residents) who are older than 22 years and willing to offer their skills and capacity to support an inclusive and sustainable response and recovery to the recent earthquake that devastated the country. 

UNV is looking for a wide range of professional profiles: Information Managers, Field Assistants, Midwives, Communication Officers, Emergency Medical Technicians, Nutrition Specialists, Shelter Specialists, Logistic Operations Specialists and WASH Specialists, among others. 

From the State of Palestine to Mali – the tale of a woman peacekeeper

What motivated a 34-year-old Palestinian woman to join a peacekeeping mission and settle in Mopti, a region of Mali prone to regular attacks from jihadists? When asked, Shirin Abufannouneh answered that this was the field experience she was looking for. Shirin serves as a UN Volunteer Judicial Affairs Officer with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Reading her story below, one feels that she was predestined to be a UN Volunteer. 

I didn’t know much about Mali. But after eight years spent between legal research and advocacy in different countries, I needed to be more in the field, closer to people, to understand how to implement the law. 

Volunteers and Volunteerism, reflections of Brenda McSweeney, former UNV Executive Coordinator

Dr Brenda Gael McSweeney (United States) served as Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, from 1988-1997.  She led UNV at a time when nearly 4,000 UNV specialists were serving annually in technical cooperation in the economic and social fields, community-based initiatives for self-reliance, humanitarian relief and rehabilitation, and UN peacekeeping operations. On 24 October 1997, Dr McSweeney was awarded, on behalf of the UN Volunteers, the Médaille de Chevalier de l’Ordre National from the Government of Burkina Faso in tribute to this meaningful and innovative work. As UNV turns 50, we feature an interview (1995) conducted by Frank Fremerey, CEO of HOME, and a video interview, conducted by Michael Littlejohns for the UN World Chronicle series, with our former Executive Coordinator. Find out more about Brenda's reflections on our mandate, work and partners 30 years ago. 

Volunteers and Volunteerism

Protecting the ocean and livelihoods off Kenya's coast

The ocean covers over 70 per cent of our planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. However, 90 per cent of big fish populations are already depleted, and 50 per cent of coral reefs have been destroyed. Mohamed Ahmed Hussein, 33, has been serving with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a national UN Volunteer for over two years now. With a background in marine science and management, he is working on coastal marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses. He shares with us his experience in ocean conservation.

What are your key responsibilities in this assignment?

UNV and Etihad Airways join forces to boost global volunteering

The agreement was signed remotely by Dr Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services, Corporate Social Responsibility, Etihad Aviation Group, and Mr Toily Kurbanov, Executive Coordinator, UNV. The collaboration between the two entities will strengthen volunteering globally and expand the reach to customers of Etihad.

UNV supports volunteering globally and in the Arab countries and aims to engage Etihad volunteers in advocacy events, increase awareness of volunteering opportunities, and accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind.

Volunteer-based solutions to guarantee peaceful, transparent and inclusive elections in Bolivia

"Being a UN Volunteer is an exciting role and it is a source of pride for me to work for the good of humanity." These are the words of Carlos del Castillo, a Peruvian UN Volunteer assigned to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Bolivia. Carlos is a Field Public Outreach Voter Education Expert and Electoral Advisor to the Departmental Courts in Chuquisaca and Potosi in Bolivia. "I’m 66 years old and if given the opportunity, I will continue serving as a volunteer until I am 70."

Carlos started his first assignment as a UN Volunteer in 1992 with elections in Cambodia. He is one of 28 UN Volunteers who served under the UNDP-implemented Electoral Assistance Project of the United Nations in Bolivia, a project that sought to re-establish trust in the electoral body, as part of the UN’s peacebuilding efforts in the country.

Thirteen years of sowing peace in Darfur

This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers comes five months after the United Nations Security  Council – through UNSC Resolution 2559 – ended the mandate of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as of 31 December 2020. Full withdrawal is to be completed by 30 June 2021, followed by a liquidation phase.

For UN Volunteers, many of whom have served with UNAMID for years, this is an emotional period, particularly as they bid farewell to local communities in Darfur.

Many UN Volunteers hope that their work and peace dividends gained in this peacekeeping operation over the last thirteen years can be sustained, at least for the sake of the vulnerable people who have endured suffering for far too long.

Laying the ground for sustainable peace in Sudan

UN Volunteers in peacekeeping missions in Sudan have for over a decade supported the country in navigating the difficult path from conflict to peace. Contributions made by young peacekeepers such as the UN Volunteers featured in this story help Sudan build resilience. They support peace missions in delivering their mandates and laying the groundwork to sustain long-term peace.

Since the establishment of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2007, 696 UN Volunteers have served with the mission.  These have included specialists in human rights, civil affairs, protection and electoral support, alongside technical and administrative experts as well. This year, UNAMID is closing down and is being replaced with a new mission, the United Nations Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS)

"I constantly remind myself to focus on small successes that contribute to lasting peace"

27-year-old Kirti Kler has travelled a long way from India to serve for peace in the world’s largest United Nations Peacekeeping mission, UNMISS. Deployed to Lakes state of South Sudan, Kirti is a committed Civil Affairs Officer, working all hours to convene and connect local communities in this deep field location. Read her interview and be inspired.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Restoring the wellbeing and dignity of beneficiaries through volunteer engagement

Hope Nanungi is one of 204 UN Volunteers serving in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).  On the occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, the 29-year-old Ugandan shares her volunteer journey.

To me, volunteerism is a very fascinating journey of exploring myself, diverse cultures, communities and the world at large. In January 2016, I felt I should pass on my skills further to a more global community. Having acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Procurement and Logistics Management with CIPS, I decided to register for Online Volunteer opportunities with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.