The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) are signing a new full funding agreement, marking and confirming the continued strength of their longtime partnership.
For more than 20 years, UNV and AECID have built up a dynamic alliance in making a difference in peace and development in over 50 countries world-wide. They share a common vision in contributing towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by promoting and strengthening volunteerism around the world.
Between 1991 and 2013, this fruitful collaboration has mobilized more than 300 professionals as Spanish UN Volunteers fully funded by AECID to work in projects and programmes of 25 United Nations agencies in over 50 countries. Their commitment has helped tackle challenges in all aspects of peace and development.
Sixty-four percent of those Spanish UN Volunteers have been women. One of these is Yanira Santana, a Spanish UN Volunteer responsible for monitoring, evaluation and communication for the project Strengthening the capacities and coordination mechanisms of civil society organizations in Guinea-Bissau.
Yanira outlines her experiences in the following words:
Working in a key sector in the country and being able to see the response and commitment of civil society organizations increases my motivation each day. Its an exciting experience and, at the same time, a challenging one. For me as a volunteer, understanding the complexity of the fabric of civil society in Guinea-Bissau has been a wonderful learning challenge. concludes Yanira.
This long-standing partnership has taken several forms. An important example of this collaboration is the agreement between AECID and UNV to support programming initiatives in the area of volunteerism and disaster risk reduction. The Fund to strengthen the role of volunteerism in disaster risk reduction was set up to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and enhance preparedness so that local organizations and hundreds of community volunteers will be better prepared to take action and assist in times of disaster.
The programme was focussed in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region routinely hit by hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and landslides. 25 national UN Volunteers worked in projects in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru.
Thanks to the fund, more than 500 volunteers in the Dominican Republic, including civil defense volunteers, some 1,700 people in Ecuador and more than 200 community volunteers in Peru were trained to strengthen the role of volunteerism in disaster risk. In total, to date, more than 4,650 volunteers in these countries have received specialized training in disaster response.
Another fruitful example of the joint commitment of the two agencies is AECIDs contribution to UNVs Online Volunteering service. By being the third largest direct donor, AECID is a key supporter of this innovative tool that UNV uses to mobilize volunteers virtually to engage in projects for peace and sustainable development.
Support to Online Volunteering, in Spanish, helped to strengthen advocacy throughout the Spanish speaking world which has led to an increased number of organizations based in Latin America and the Caribbean that benefited from the virtual volunteering service.
UNV and AECID joined in launching the publication Inspiration Becomes Reality; AECID and UNV: Contributing to Peace and Development through Volunteerism For More Than 20 Years during todays signing event. The new publication further illustrates the commitment of both agencies to continue their collaboration.