Jainarayan Singh is a 31-year old Medical Doctor from India, currently on a two-year UN Volunteer assignment with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia. In his role as Health Manager ad interim and Medical Doctor, Dr. Singh is responsible for overseeing medical care and health support for the 1,050 UN staff (and 4,000 dependents) in-country, ensuring that humanitarian workers and other staff are fit and able to continue delivering essential services.
According to UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring Programme data from 2015, only 16 per cent of the population in Eritrea have access to basic sanitation facilities and 76 per cent practice open defecation.
I support my team in achieving SDG 6 through planning and monitoring of programme activities and enhancing the capacity of government partners to enhance their monitoring and reporting.
When I decided to move to Kabul as an international UN Volunteer, I did not know that I was stepping into an environment where I had much more in common with my colleagues than I had ever imagined.
The majestic mountains of Kabul and the post-conflict reality of Afghanistan were not the only evident similarity to my home country of Nepal. The fragility of life and an everyday commitment to positive mind-set made me feel right at home.
Following Nepal's recent constitutional transition to a federal structure and many new provincial offices being established to foster Nepal’s process to E-Governance and transparency, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme supported the LGCDP II project under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration by deploying national UN Volunteer ICT Experts to the different provinces.
Volunteer programmes are frequently not well integrated into their own country’s broader overseas national development programming, with potential partnerships with official mechanisms, national strategies and development actors (including the government, the private sector and the third sector) limited by a lack of trust and experience.
What images come to mind when you think of a disaster? Search and rescue teams pulling people from the rubble? Relief camps filled with displaced families receiving aid from international organizations? These are the typical images we see in the media. However, they misrepresent the reality that the vast majority of people are rescued and helped by their fellow community members after a disaster.
Mr. Dominic Allen, Chief of the UNV Office in New York, opened the event welcoming the over 100 participants from Member States, UN entities and other interested partners, including serving and former volunteers. Mr. Allen acknowledged the immense contribution of volunteers and the significant role that volunteers play as first responders in the aftermath of crisis and as mobilizers and campaigners in crisis prevention and preparedness.
What was once an informal network of helpers to people in need, many volunteers are now highly organized and play a fundamental role in humanitarian and development initiatives through organizations, clubs and groups that span the world. In recognition of the contributions they make, governments have taken steps to promote volunteer action by strengthening policies and institutions, and by increasing funding to support volunteer infrastructure.
The event, under the title “Volunteers as First Responders in Times of Crisis: Volunteers for resilience and solidarity,” kicked off International Volunteer Day (also called IVD) worldwide.
The event aligned with the IVD global campaign to promote volunteers as first responders in times of crisis and instability, helping people to rebuild their lives in the immediate aftershock of tragic events.
UNV Executive Coordinator Mr. Olivier Adam acknowledged the efforts of the Nepali people after the devastating 2015 earthquake:
The earthquake, which hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 with multiple aftershocks, brought about widespread destruction across the country and resulted in 8,790 deaths, 22,300 injuries and 755,549 houses that were either damaged or completely destroyed.
In coordination with UNDP experts on demolition, UN Volunteers undertook the structural assessment of public and private buildings damaged by the earthquake, including schools, health posts and monasteries.