SDG 4: Quality education
Around 150 young people and potential volunteers met UN agencies and local NGOs during the Volunteer Fair in Pristina. The event also allowed participants to register on the Kosovo Volunteer Platform designed by the UNICEF Innovations Lab. The aim of this platform is to connect non-profit organizations and passionate volunteers for future collaborations.
The meeting provided a unique opportunity to share and discuss best practices in supporting capacity development for young professionals with disabilities, to identify areas for collaboration and to exchange ideas on creating disability-sensitive and inclusive workplaces. Fruitful discussion among the 70 participants also generated practical tips to ensure the successful implementation of the UNDP/UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities.
UN Volunteers represent well over a third of the international personnel within the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Despite this important component of personnel, the Mission remains a highly-militarized peacekeeping operation.
The presence of the UN Mission since 2014 has helped save many lives and greatly improved conditions for the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic (CAR), a country where approximately 40% of the population is dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive, according to OCHA.
There are different interpretations of the concept of volunteering across cultures and regions, and this is equally true within Arab countries. When a wealthy citizen reacts to a natural disaster by offering to contribute money, or makes donations of blankets and food to the people affected by the disaster, this is often seen as voluntary and therefore volunteerism. Charity is a vital component of humanitarian assistance, but it is not volunteerism.
In Lebanon, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) delivers education services to Palestinian youth who, despite their refugee status, deserve the opportunity to be students.
Bringing opportunities to all
From education to employment, the opportunities offered to men and women in Gaza are not equal. With programs implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, this is slowly changing. Together, they promote gender equality in Gaza through volunteerism and women’s participation. There are currently 60 UN Volunteers in the State of Palestine, 26 are women.
Witnessing the current context from a close perspective has brought up many feelings going from fascination, frustration but also inspiration. It inspires me to excel further in my assignment and beyond, in order to give my small contribution towards more sustainable peace and development, because at the end of the day, that is the underlying essence of why we do what we do.
My assignment as an international UN Volunteer began in May 2015 as Education Officer with UNESCO Ramallah Office in Palestine. Looking back it has truly been an amazing rollercoaster on all levels.
“UN Volunteers are highly-specialized professionals who work at grassroots level to empower communities to pursue learning and education to overcome development challenges, including extreme poverty,” says UNV Executive Coordinator Olivier Adam. “Leaving no one behind is at the heart of what makes UN Volunteers special, and we are looking forward to engaging more with UNESCO.”
Simon serves as the Associate Project Officer at the institute, which follows Gandhi's principles – inclusion and non-violence.
During his assignment, Simon has been working on three projects, with a focus on empowering the young generation and training their independent thinking skills by asking them to solve real, tough global issues.