Last September, the Executive Coordinator of the UNV Program, Olivier Adam, made an official visit to Colombia. He was accompanied by the Regional Manager of the UNV Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, Lita Paparoni; the Deputy Chief of the Mission, Jessica Faieta; the Resident Coordinator of the UN and Resident Coordinator of UNDP Colombia, Martín Santiago; and a group of UN volunteers assigned to different cities of Colombia in peace and development programs.
His visit included an event to recognize volunteer work and its impact and contributions towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. During the ceremony, they had the opportunity to interact with Heads of Offices and volunteers from the UN Verification Mission in Colombia and the different UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes. During the recognition, the volunteers expressed the way in which volunteering benefits the whole of society and how it has transformed them into agents of change.
The most important result of this experience is that we, as professionals, acquire competences and we serve as bridges that improve relations and conditions within the communities. However, the most important thing is to raise the voice for those who are often not heard and who have a lot to say to this country. All this is possible thanks to volunteerism. --Jose Camilo Prieto, UN Volunteer Specialist, Territorial Technical Assistant of the UNDP Office in Florencia.
The Executive Coordinator also met with the representatives of the 26 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes in Colombia to continue strengthening the alliances that UNV has maintained with them.
Olivier Adam, Jessica Faieta and Lita Paparoni meet with UN Volunteers in Antoquia (UNV, 2018)
In 2018, the UNV Program in Colombia mobilized a total of 247 volunteers, inspired by the desire to make the difference in each of their duty stations.
From the total of volunteers, 138 work in the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, monitoring the process and promoting a culture of peace. The contribution of these volunteers was confirmed during the meeting held with the ex -FARC combatants, along the Heads and volunteers of the Mission and the UNV Programme, in the Territorial Area of Training and Reincorporation (ETCR) La Plancha in Anorí, Antioquia.
During the meeting, the participants shared their experiences in the field and their progress of the productive projects that the ETCR has implemented; the role of the volunteers has been important thanks to their contribution to the humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, and they are essential when supporting the operation needs of the Mission.
Volunteers are essential to ensure that the reintegration of ex-combatants can be done well; they assure the support is given, the objectives are achieved, and the agreements are fulfilled. What I see in Anorí, is an invitation to understand the dynamics with the ETCR, where the community comes together to create economic projects. For me, this has been a very important visit and I want to thank the volunteers who are working across the country with the communities, as they are contributing with their goals and ideals to make sure that the agreements are implemented.. --Olivier Adam, UNV Executive Coordinator.
Volunteers in Colombia provide exceptional support to the United Nations System. Their actions and experience contribute to a change in the pace and nature of the development of the communities in which they have a presence.