Around the world, people volunteer in different ways to achieve diverse impacts, both planned and unplanned. Most volunteering takes place through informal engagement between individuals, with only an estimated 30 per cent of volunteering taking place formally, through organizations. Much of this volunteerism – both informal and formal – takes place at the community level.
Having been raised in a socially conservative environment, Natalie explains that she was one of the lucky ones. Empowered to pursue her education, she obtained a Master’s degree in Media and Development from the United Kingdom.
Perhaps this is why joining UN Women as a volunteer after she settled in Jordan seemed like a natural move. Though she acknowledges that gender inequality is a worldwide issue, she says, "It’s hard to be a woman from the Middle East and not be affected by the issues around women’s rights."
Bringing opportunities to all
From education to employment, the opportunities offered to men and women in Gaza are not equal. With programs implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, this is slowly changing. Together, they promote gender equality in Gaza through volunteerism and women’s participation. There are currently 60 UN Volunteers in the State of Palestine, 26 are women.
Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo (Mexico) has been a UN Online Volunteer since 2011. One of her motivations to join UNV’s Online Volunteering service was the desire to help organisations in other countries carry out their work, especially in the field of gender equality.
UNV works to ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women from both an institutional and a programmatic perspective. We wish to use this occasion to feature the rich variety of ways UN Volunteers around the world contribute to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
UN Volunteers Roselyn Owour, Epher Welavunuka, Petronila Khagai, Anne Munene and Jennifer Kibicho held a sensitization session with school girls to raise awareness about gender equality, the importance of going to school and not missing classes, and the challenges facing girls around the world.
The school - World Hope Academy in the Kawangware slum in Nairobi - has a total student capacity of 400 children, most of them coming from poor families that live in the slums.
Dakar, Senegal: In my assignment as an international UN Volunteer for the Regional Humanitarian Program for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for West and Central Africa in Dakar, one of my duty is to make sure that humanitarian actions incorporate issues of gender and diversity.
This process aims at ensuring that the needs of women, girls, men and boys of all ages are taken into consideration during Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the actual execution phase itself.
Peshawar, Pakistan: My name is Hina Yousafzai and I am from Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in Pakistan. I am currently working as a UN Volunteer supporting the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Recovery Project carried out by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the capacity of Reporting & Monitoring Associate based in Peshawar.
Since early childhood, my life has been driven by two factors: my love for knowledge instilled in me by my parents, and my efforts at being understood and appreciated.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: When I was doing my degree, I volunteered with a number of local NGOs and associations whose main activities focused on women and youth, as that is where I thought I could make a contribution and bring about change.