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.
The training was meant to inform, prepare, engage and make the volunteers better understand the role of UN Youth Volunteers in the context of the United Nations.
These 30 youth volunteers were part of UNV’s Full Funding programme. They left today for their funding countries, the Czech Republic, France and Switzerland. In just a matter of days, they will start their volunteer assignments in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Their enthusiasm and desire to make a difference to the world resonated throughout the induction training.
I was especially interested in supporting local development and climate action projects.
I provided programme management support for a variety of projects that were related to renewable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable local development.
Magali Zapata, from Belgium, recounts her experience as a UN Volunteer in Morocco.
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.
For the first time, young people from across the Arab region had the opportunity to work together during a two-day forum organized by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme. This forum is part of the Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future project, which is a regional project UNV is piloting in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.
The forum took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 29-30 April 2014, with the aim of exchanging knowledge and best practices, and thus finding ways of surmounting obstacles of youth volunteering in the Arab region.
A famous Arab proverb states, "The 1,000 miles walk starts with one step." In the case of southern Morocco, local communities of the Iguiouaz oases and UN Volunteers have been making progressive strides in adapting to climate change to protect their environment. The population of this region relies mostly on farming, arboriculture and livestock farming, but fertile land is scarce when rain is infrequent. To address this situation, 600 community members have mobilized to strengthen the ecosystem's resilience to climate change and increase the adaptive capacities of the communities.