The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has been engaging young people in global peace and sustainable development for nearly 50 years. Recognizing that volunteerism has the potential to bring the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of young people to development processes while at the same time building their skills and experience, UNV has been working with partners around the world to advocate for youth volunteerism, support national and regional volunteering initiatives, and directly mobilize youth volunteers.
In 2014, UNV brought together all of its work on youth under the Global UN Youth Volunteers Programme. The programme scales-up and replicates best practices, and supports new initiatives that best nurture the power and potential of youth while bringing their voices into global peace and development processes. Under the programme, regional UNV projects like Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future are already working to empower youth and strengthen their capacities as active participants in development of their countries.
As you will see in the following pages, UNV has rich experience in this area. Our initiatives span a wide range: the ability to support the creation of West Africa’s first law on volunteerism, train and mobilize youth volunteers from Brazil to respond to a devastating tropical storm in El Salvador, or help disabled Uzbek girls to become more self-reliant through handicrafts and knitting. All of these were the result of strong partnerships that called into play a range of complementary skills, resources, and knowledge. UNV and our partners are helping young people to overcome their historic exclusion, instilling a sense of empowerment and agency by engaging them as volunteers for peace and development while at the same time building their personal and professional skills.