My name is Isabela, I am 23 years old, and I am of American and Ecuadorian nationality. I left the United States in July of 2016 to join the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to explore how youth are contributing to the development of my second home, Ecuador.
This is how I got to participate in the First Regional Meeting of Youth Volunteer Networks in Cuenca, where I had the opportunity to interact with young volunteers from Latin America and learn how volunteering contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.
This week, Habitat III, the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development is taking place in Quito, Ecuador, to establish a sustainable Urban Agenda for cities as we work towards achieving the Global Goals.
In August 2016, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Ecuador organized the first Regional Meeting of Youth Volunteer Networks, in collaboration with the Municipality of Cuenca. The event brought together 155 participants from Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Bolivia, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru and Guatemala. It aimed to promote the exchange of experiences and best practices among youth volunteer organizations and networks in Latin America that work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Pedernales, Ecuador: Since April 2015, I worked as a UN Volunteer Public Policy Specialist in the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN) country office in Quito. However, one day my responsibilities shifted in a totally unexpected way.
Quito, Ecuador: Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. They lack access to decent work, face gender gaps and are often denied access to basic education and health care. UN WOMEN is trying to address these global challenges.
I am serving as a UN Volunteer Specialist in Democracy, Civil Society and Public Administration in the UN WOMEN country office in Quito, Ecuador, where I work in the area of women's leadership and political participation.
Quito, Ecuador: Around one thousand young people from Quito, but also other parts of Ecuador and even Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Venezuela, gathered on an August 2013 weekend to celebrate the largest alternative music festival in Ecuador. It was a great start into my year as a UN Youth Volunteer and provided an excellent opportunity to discuss development challenges with young people that hold the future in their hands.
Quito, Ecuador: As a UN Youth Volunteer in Gender Analysis, assigned to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office of the Resident Coordinator in Quito, Ecuador, I support and advise the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations Country Team on gender-related advocacy, communications and resource mobilization.