Volunteer to bring about change

08 March 2016
Volunteerism provides me with new opportunities and experience to grow, learn about a new culture, and meet new people while being part of a bigger family where everyone works for the same cause: to better the world we live in.
UN Volunteer Nasra Islan (centre) during a meeting with a local women's council and civil society organizations, discussing strategies for women's political participation in the upcoming local elections of 2016 in the Yrys municipality of Southern Kyrgyzstan. (UNV, 2015)

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: When I was doing my degree, I volunteered with a number of local NGOs and associations whose main activities focused on women and youth, as that is where I thought I could make a contribution and bring about change.

Following the inter-ethnic conflicts in Kyrgyzstan in 2010, the United Nations started implementing a number of projects funded by the Peacebuilding Fund. My functions as UNV Gender Specialist include providing technical support on participatory and inclusive gender-responsive peacebuilding programming and management to help UN Agencies and partners ensure gender-responsive peacebuilding interventions.

Specific tasks include conducting gender analysis and monitoring of projects to ensure the integration of women’s needs and priorities in the peacebuilding interventions, and to provide expert advice to the UN and the Government of Kyrgyzstan on national law and institutional reforms related to gender-responsive peacebuilding policies and programmes.

This experience has allowed me to see things from a new and different perspective. Volunteerism provides me with new opportunities and experience to grow, learn about a new culture, and meet new people while being part of a bigger family where everyone works for the same cause: to better the world we live in.

Bio: Nasra Islan (Kenya) has an MA in Human Rights from the Central European University and a degree in Business Administration. She started her professional career with development organizations including Save the Children UK and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), and then joined UNDP Somalia in 2009 where she held different positions. Before starting her assignment as UNV Specialist in Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, she was a Gender Programme Officer with UNDP Somalia.

Sustainable Development Goal: