My work as UN staff member has been incredibly important in helping me develop new skills and qualities through peacekeeping missions, but the most valuable learning experiences came from my time as a UN Volunteer. This was challenging, inspiring, rewarding and demanding all at the same time and I’m sure will continue to influence my work for the rest of my life.
Currently, 40 UN Volunteers are deployed with the UN Support Office for Somalia (UNSOS) and 12 UN Volunteers with the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). They serve from different locations in Somalia and Kenya. This is a significant increase over the years from 18 UN Volunteers in 2015.
With an average age of 42 years and a gender ratio of 30 per cent women, UNSOS is making significant progress towards achieving gender parity among UN Volunteers.
In 2008, 50 UN Volunteers were deployed to support UNAMA; in 2019, the number of volunteers had increased to 109. This year, 90 UN Volunteers (60 international and 30 national) serve in different functions to support UNAMA’s mandate. These support peace and reconciliation, human rights monitoring, strategic communications, political and judicial affairs, as well as the service delivery, supply chain and operations/resource management pillars of the mission.
UN Volunteer Sitara Khatiwada plays a vital role in mentoring midwives within the Government health facilities as well as the Rohingya Refugee Community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She is serving as a Midwife Specialist in Emergency with UNFPA, and is responsible for the direct supervision, training and mentoring of national midwives employed by UNFPA through the project “Partners under Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR)”.
As a young woman, I have always been motivated to create spaces for women to participate in decision making and take on leadership roles. I want to help eliminate barriers to gender equality in my country and region and accelerate achieving 50-50 by 2030 globally. --Ekin Su Yilmaz, UN Youth Volunteer with UN Women, Turkey
African countries and WHO are redoubling their efforts to strengthen people’s health and well-being in a region with some of the highest rates of disease in the world. With the Africa Women Health Champions, UNV and WHO will recruit early-career women professionals to promote health across the 47 countries where WHO is present on the continent.
Q. What is your take on gender equality in the region?
Being volunteer gave me, as an indigenous woman, the opportunity to be an agent of change, coherent with my community’s cosmovision. Volunteering is an ancestral treasure that should be transmitted from generation to generation. This guarantees good living, with respect and harmony between humanity and nature. Let’s boost our communities to gain awareness of gender equality, as a pre-condition to progress towards sustainable development. --Ingrid Sierra, UN Volunteer with UN Women
Having survived a long journey of struggles and hard work, UN Volunteer Asma Halimi is enthusiastic to be contributing to the development of Afghanistan. She is a passionate advocate for women in her community to obtain a proper education.
For the first time in the history of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 30 Afghan women are engaged as national UN Youth Volunteers – supporting people and institutions in achieving peace and stability, across the country.