Reaffirming the long-standing development partnership between the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the two partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding today.
Reflecting on this partnership, Richard Dictus emphasized, UNV has mobilized specialized UN Volunteers who have supported UNFPA to deliver on its mandate for decades. These UN Volunteers have advanced gender equality, improved access to reproductive health care services and improved quality of life. This Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms the long-term development partnership between UNV and UNFPA, and paves the way for increased engagement of UN Volunteers for development.
UNFPA Deputy Executive Director of Programme, Kate Gilmore stated, UNV brings alive the best of global citizenship. It enables talent to travel. It empowers individuals, especially young people who want to make a difference. UNV is a vital partner to UNFPA. We are very excited to extend our partnership and collaboration through this agreement.
Over the past seven years more than 300 UN Volunteers have supported UNFPA in delivering on its mandate in nearly 70 countries. Specialized UN Volunteers build the capacities of health service providers and those who train them, thus contributing to the UNFPA goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health. They also work within communities, making them well-placed to support household surveys and data analysis for use in policy development and monitoring progress towards development goals. Through the development of joint programs and with their focus on inclusiveness, UN Volunteers contribute to gender equality and youth development for improved quality of life, sustainable development and poverty reduction.
In South Sudan, for example, UN Volunteers serving with UNFPA are enhancing crucial life-saving services through the training of midwives and the provision of midwifery services. In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, 29 international UNV Midwives have contributed to over 700 capacity building sessions with health care workers. Additionally, over the past 18 months, these UNV Midwives have reached over 100,000 pregnant women at antenatal clinics, conducted over 30,000 safe births and given emergency obstetric and newborn care to more than 4,500 women with complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
UNV and UNFPA share a commitment to reaching out to youth and bringing their voice to the table. Within the framework provided by this Memorandum of Understanding, UNV and UNFPA will be examining the potential for deploying UN Youth Volunteers in support of UNFPA development activities.
For more information, please read UNV partnering with UNFPA.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.
UNV engaged UN Volunteers on a total of 6,459 assignments in 2013. With an average age of 38 years and the requisite professional skills and qualifications of some 5 to 10 years relevant experience, UN Volunteers served in 129 countries in 2013 and came themselves from 152. The majority come from developing countries themselves. One fourth of UN Volunteers served in their own countries, with the others carrying out international assignments. The financial equivalent of programme activities exceeds US $235 million annually.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives. It is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.