20 January 2014
I was sent to Tajikistan as a UN Youth Volunteer Communication Officer with the UN Resident Coordinator's office, which is in charge of leading the reform process of operational activities. My role was to help bring all the UN agencies together to agree on joint activities and to participate actively in the monthly meetings. In 2013, UNCG members managed to cooperate on three events: the International Day of the Girl Child, UN Day, and Human Rights Day.
UN Youth Volunteer Laura Gees (centre), who's assignment is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, gave questions to participants during a Human Rights Quiz at an awareness-raising event organized by UNV in December 2013. (UNV, 2013)

Dushanbe, Tajikistan: I was sent to Tajikistan as a UN Youth Volunteer Communication Officer with the UN Resident Coordinator's (UNRC) office. The UNRC office is in charge of leading the reform process of operational activities. Within this reform falls the effort to consolidate the communication work of all UN agencies. For this purpose, the UN Communication Group (UNCG) was created for all those who are in charge of communications at one of the country’s 21 UN agencies to meet regularly.

During my assignment, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, my role was to help bring all the UN agencies together to agree on joint activities and to participate actively in the monthly meetings. In 2013, UNCG members managed to cooperate on three events: the International Day of the Girl Child, UN Day, and Human Rights Day.

On UN Day we organized an exhibition of all UN agencies and a small film festival, where about 300 students participated. I was in charge of coordinating the event.

It was quite a task to keep an overview over so many different people and issues. But in the end, despite some hick-ups, it was a great experience. I also helped produce a UN Leaflet and the first UN Bulletin. We created joint UN binders and banners, and started on a media survey in Tajikistan. Furthermore, I renewed the website of the country office with the aim to make it more user friendly, and to make information more accessible.

At times it was a frustrating task, as internal coordination of communications work is not always a priority and sometimes gets pushed to the back of the pile. Despite this, I learnt a lot during my year as a UN Volunteer in Tajikistan and I felt the great appreciation for my work from many of my colleagues.

The additional volunteering activities of my year had some highlights as well: during the Career Fair on International Youth Day, about 40 very attentive young Tajiks were sitting in the room and listening to me explain how to prepare for a job interview at the UN. And on International Volunteer Day, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme organized a Fundraising Fair outside the capital. I was amazed how well our student volunteers and the people with disabilities worked together to make the event a success, and I am very grateful to have witnessed it.

Europe and the CIS