The first UNV African Regional Retreat for UN Volunteers was held from 5 to 8 November, 2014 at the Maanzoni Lodge, Lukenya, in Kenya. More than 150 people from UNV teams in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda gathered to share their knowledge and network. Tapiwa Kamuruko, who was recently installed in Nairobi in the new post of UNV Regional Manager for Africa, opened the retreat. Maria–Threase Keating, UNDP Kenya Country Director, and David Akopyan, UNDP Somalia Deputy Country Director (Programmes), also attended.
The retreat’s overarching theme of “Vision, Voice, and Volunteerism”, encapsulated the organizers’ aim to convey UNV’s Vision to promulgate inclusive participation in peace and development; amplify the Voice of UN Volunteers through knowledge sharing and networking and to stoke participants’ enthusiasm and dedication to Volunteerism by providing opportunities to share each other’s own stories of providing Voluntary Service to nations and communities.
The event provided a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer learning through knowledge sharing not only among the UN Volunteers, but with the senior managers attending from the UNV Headquarters, UNDP Kenya and UNDP Somalia.
Maria-Threase Keating, Tapiwa Kamuruko and David Akopyan shared their personal volunteer experiences and career development journey to motivate and inspire the UN Volunteers.
The retreat also provided a platform to discuss the development priorities in the regional context and how better collaboration among the teams will be for the benefit of the hosting agencies.
In an online session, Rosemary Kalapurakal, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator, offered warm greetings from UNV Headquarters in Bonn and briefed the UN Volunteers about the UNV Strategic Framework from 2014–2017.
Annika Diederich, who works for the UNV Online Volunteering service, gave her presentation in person and encouraged the UN Volunteers to collaborate with online volunteers, and to tell colleagues and friends about the possibilities of getting support from online volunteers as well as volunteering online. She also mentioned that Kenya is one of the most active countries in Africa for online volunteering, with the highest number of organizations and volunteers in the region.
The retreat ended with an awards ceremony to recognize substantive contributions by UN Volunteers in the promotion of peace and development. Volunteers who had achieved the best practices and results were given awards for their outstanding service and contribution.
For more information on the retreat, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org