Volunteering is an essential tool for strengthening national capacities, promoting the implementation of development actions and the social inclusion of youth. In this regard, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme helps Member States to create an enabling environment for the promotion of volunteerism and the development of volunteer infrastructures.
To respond to these challenges, UNV's adoption and implementation of youth initiatives, including providing young people with the opportunity to contribute to peace and development through UN Youth Volunteer assignment, has been successful in many parts of the world, such as in West and Central Africa.
In this region, UNV continues its efforts to provide more young people with opportunities to advance peace and development and build their capacity through volunteering.
This project is particularly important as although Sri Lanka has ended a 30-year civil war, there remains unresolved issues of psychological trauma, sexual violence and misunderstanding between different ethnicities.
The project is part of the support provided by the UN in Sri Lanka towards the government's 'Peacebuilding Priority Plan (PPP) which serves as the "framework for a coordinated, government, UN, and other stakeholders response to secure lasting peace in Sri Lanka".
At the training held in Bangkok, the young women and men came from their duty stations in Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Almost 90 per cent of them are working in their countries of nationality, and for some of them, this was the first opportunity to travel outside of their countries. The participants are also working in various UN agencies, such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WFP, with different areas of responsibilities, from field monitoring, research, engineering, communications and to data analysis.
"This has been the most useful and fun training I have been to," says Edgar Kiliba, UN Youth Volunteer Web and Social Media Communications Associate for the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Tanzania. Edgar was one of 17 UN Youth Volunteers who participated in the Assignment Preparation Training in Nairobi and are being deployed to five countries on the African continent.
Women in Loja, mostly of indigenous descent, play a critical role in their economy, by managing small businesses and/or providing informal care for family members. They participate in crop production and livestock farming, and provide food and fuel for their families. However, indigenous women in Loja are disproportionally affected by poverty, gender inequalities and discrimination and do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men. For example, Ecuadorian’ women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work.
Ms Valerie Crab, Programme Specialist and Innovation Lead, has been working with two national UN Youth Volunteers and one national UN Volunteer in the twenties on innovation, such as the U-Report Indonesia, a polling system that uses social media to help deliver youth opinions to policymakers. “I think that UN Volunteers should be recruited to bring an added value to a programme that otherwise we wouldn’t have access to,” she says. On the value of having a UN Youth Volunteers in her team, she describes,
Ha Noi, Viet Nam: I am currently working as a Capacity Building and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for UNICEF in Ha Noi. I work for a programme called the Provincial Child Friendly Programme which aims to strengthen the capacities of Viet Nams provinces to tackle childrens issues. During the past years, the country has seen a huge wave of decentralization: the provinces now have more competencies, but often lack the capacity to consider children when implementing their plans and programmes.