The United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office (UNRCO) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently launched a new website with support from Online Volunteers. The new platform is home to a new UN management reform initiative, which decentralizes organizational processes. Additionally, Online Volunteers are making content more accessible through translation and producing success stories featuring the country's efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The work of Online Volunteers in remote teams is creating a virtual humanitarian community that underscores the work of the United Nations.
Khaled Alyam, gladly responded to the need for translation support at the UNRCO. When he started volunteering, he was employed full time, going to school and already volunteering with two other organizations. Yet, this workload did not dissuade him.
The aspect that is most exciting about this project is language and translation – two things about which I am very passionate. It was also exciting to be trusted to take on more and to be creating content. --Online Volunteer Khaled Alyami, Online Volunteer translator with the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in UAE
Khaled represents a nascent group of youth and other volunteers who identify with the values of the UN and want to both positively impact their communities and support pandemic recovery.
In fact, over 1,000 UN Volunteers have been mobilized in the Arab region since COVID-19 started, and have been actively identifying needs, delivering services and producing creative web content.
Their creativity and interest in remote teams especially, has provided increased capacity to the UNRCO, in turn helping to localize and implement the Communication Strategy more efficiently. This strategy is focused upon building trust in communities, awareness of important issues relevant to the SDGs and commitment towards collective action.
In addition, the new UN-wide management reform initiative has further decentralized communication mechanisms and positioned the UNRCO as a major funnel for information flows. The UNRCO has subsequently more involvement in production and translation and can promote content created by and for the region's youth to a greater extent. As a result, youth are activated and encourage positive change among their peers, whilst volunteering themselves.
This work has been particularly heartwarming for Online Volunteers like Shawqi Jazem, who found meaning in the success stories he translated for the UNRCO's new Arabic website, which he finds "not only important, but inspiring".
These volunteers were part of a four-person team the UNRCO assembled for English-to-Arabic translation and to enhance the visibility of UN engagement in the UAE – with the intention to bolster critical partnerships and youth perspectives.
UN Communications and Advocacy Officer, Sara Chatila, recognizes "the impactful role of youth and volunteerism from our region" and the "responsiveness and proficiency" of Shawqi and Khaled's team in particular.
We were able to work with Online Volunteers to develop new content and stories to be translated. This has really helped in enriching our Arabic site and engaging our stakeholders. We look forward to their support with future content and similar projects. --Sara Chatila, Communications and Advocacy Officer, UN Resident Coordinator's Office
Sara's views underscore the added value of Online Volunteers to the work of the UN and specifically, its aim to become more nimble and efficient in response to the world's most significant challenges and promote an inclusive, vibrant future for the next generation.