Volunteerism enables youth engagement, leadership and participation
Within Latin America and the Caribbean, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 20 per cent of the population. This is the largest percentage of youth in this region, ever. The statistics are dire: 35 million of these young people never attended school, 39 per cent live in poverty and 25 per cent are unemployed.
Following the earthquake, the situation of women and girls was of special concern because they are more likely to become victims of violence and discrimination in a humanitarian emergency. Displacement, over-crowed camps, lack of privacy and lighting, limited and unsegregated wash facilities increase the risks.
Many of the activities developed were conducted with families affected by the earthquake, particularly women and their daughters and sons - in training opportunities for the prevention of gender-based violence, helping women and their families identify common patterns of violence, as well the protection routes that they could resort to.
The training is a way to inform and prepare the youth volunteers to better understand the role of UN Youth Volunteers in the context of the United Nations.
The Governments of Korea, Ireland, Luxembourg and China are funding the volunteer assignments of these UN Youth Volunteers. After their training, they will serve in Myanmar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kosovo, Mongolia, State of Palestine, Panama, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Zimbabwe, Viet Nam, Senegal, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Thailand.
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.