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.
Yasmine Mohamed Mohamed Zaki El-Demerdash is a UN Volunteer Reception Coordinator with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt.
Cairo, Egypt: My name is Mohammad Abbas. I am a national UN Volunteer in Egypt. An accountant for many years, I was really unhappy with my job. I wanted out. I got my chance in 2014. I became a Community Service Intern with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Interacting with people, guiding them, answering queries were all part of my job. In January 2015, I became UN Volunteer Reception Coordinator for UNHCR in Cairo.
Given record levels of youth unemployment, and political and social instability, young people in the Arab Region and around the world need positive role models more than ever.
When young people themselves provide those role models, in those who have overcome social exclusion, underemployment and poverty to bring about positive changes in their communities and countries, the effects are even more powerful.
During the first UNV Partnerships Forum that took place in Bonn, on September 30th and October 1st 2014, eight UN Volunteers were given the floor to share their experience as UN Volunteer. In this video, National UN Volunteer Samar Wahba from Egypt tells about her volunteering in children education.
The “Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future” project is happy to announce its first Youth Volunteering Award. We are looking for inspiring and life-changing stories of young volunteers from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen, to recognize the importance of volunteering for development.
- Are 18 to 29 years old;
- Are from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia or Yemen;
- Have a demonstrated track record in volunteering for development, with a story to tell that will make an impact.
On the occasion of International Volunteer Day, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has launched a report gathering findings, perceptions and recommendations on youth volunteerism in Arab states, as part of its regional project, Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future.
The report is the fruit of twelve months of field work, focus groups, questionnaires, desk reviews and national workshops carried out in 2012 in each of the projects target countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Governments of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen are working on a regional project to facilitate youth volunteerism for positive and sustainable social change. Formalized during the project's first board meeting in Amman in April 2013, Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future is currently being implemented in the five countries, following a year-long process of national consultations with youth in the region. The regional project aims to harness the power of youth and their energy through volunteerism.
On Saturday 23 February 2013, hundreds of youth flocked from all parts of Egypt to celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD) organized by UNV Egypt, in cooperation with several UN agencies, government entities, private sector, and national and international NGOs. The theme used for IVD 2012 in Egypt was 3afer the 3 represents the Arabic guttural letter ?a, and the word is pronounced ?aafer. The word 3afer in the Egyptian connotation implies persistence and hard work.