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.
Blanca is a Spanish UN Youth Volunteer; assigned in a UN Joint Programme led by UNDP in Guatemala, empowering isolated communities in San Marcos.
Blanca de la Cruz (española), Joven Voluntaria ONU internacional, presta servicio en un Programa Conjunto del PNUD en Guatemala que trabaja para empoderar a comunidades remotas de San Marcos.
Guatemala city, Guatemala: While serving as a UN Volunteer Finance Officer with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Guatemala, I had the opportunity to participate in pilot projects in the area of Finance. The whole financial framework of the WFP is in a process of transition towards higher transparency, cost efficiency and accountability. I was excited to contribute to this transformation.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: After my master’s degree in economics, I decided to change my career perspective to work in the humanitarian sector, in cooperation and development. I had two objectives: to fulfil the dream of knowing new cultures and countries, and to contribute, even in a small part, to improving the living conditions of people in developing countries.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: Guatemala is a young country. According to data provided by the National Statistical Institute, one fourth of the Guatemalan population is younger than 18 years old and one half is between 10 to 30 years of age. Most Guatemalan adolescents live in rural areas, and belonging to one of the ethnic indigenous groups makes them even more vulnerable given the discriminatory practices still existing in the country.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: I have been working as a UNV Nutritionist with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Guatemala since February 2009. I fell in love with Guatemala - its people and extraordinarily beautiful landscapes - already 16 years ago, and I have been living here since then.
I am very grateful to my home country, Finland, for funding my assignment as a UN Volunteer. I feel privileged to be able to share all the knowledge I acquired in Finland and to help other people have more opportunities in life.
UNV highlights the work of two online volunteers and their important contributions to communities far away from their own: One woman in Malaysia assists with the design and production of a brochure for an agricultural association (ADICTA) in one of the poorest regions of Guatemala. Another online volunteer, located in Oxford, England, has been offering free post-secondary education courses and tutoring to Ugandan, Afghani and Nepalese refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) through Respect University.