UN Youth Volunteer Nour Hamayel is 26-years-old and has just completed a two-year assignment with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in her home country, the State of Palestine.
As national UN Youth Volunteer, Nour’s primarily role was Y-PEER coordinator – facilitating conversations and activities in the State of Palestine on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention on behalf of the UNFPA-funded Youth Peer Education Network.
The idea that UN Volunteers work only in humanitarian or relief fields is far from the truth. Julie – a 28-year-old volunteer – has been supporting a UNODC project aimed at developing forensic services in Palestine.
The “Support Programme for Palestinian University Students Under Conditions of Severe Poverty” was started by the UNESCO Ramallah Office, funded by the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian people, implemented by the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), a Palestinian NGO, and supported by Sarah El Attar, from Belgium, an international UN Volunteer with UNESCO who spent almost three years working on the project through UNESCO’s Education Unit.
In Lebanon, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) delivers education services to Palestinian youth who, despite their refugee status, deserve the opportunity to be students.
Witnessing the current context from a close perspective has brought up many feelings going from fascination, frustration but also inspiration. It inspires me to excel further in my assignment and beyond, in order to give my small contribution towards more sustainable peace and development, because at the end of the day, that is the underlying essence of why we do what we do.
My assignment as an international UN Volunteer began in May 2015 as Education Officer with UNESCO Ramallah Office in Palestine. Looking back it has truly been an amazing rollercoaster on all levels.
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.
An international meeting of United Nations representatives is underway today and tomorrow, January 23-24, in Helsinki to discuss and agree on a comprehensive relief plan to provide aid in strife-torn Syria. UN Volunteers are an essential part of the response to this humanitarian crisis. Highly qualified and largely from developing countries themselves, they provide relief and ensure the delivery of basic social services to refugees, as well as their host communities, and promote peace-building.
Ramallah, State of Palestine: "Adolescents can be powerful agents of change in communities," says Chizuru Iwata, an international UN Volunteer from Japan, who worked with UNICEF as a UNV Adolescent Participation Officer in the State of Palestine.
Her volunteer assignment was by no means in an easy environment. A 51-day Israeli military operation in July and August 2014, according to United Nations reports, left several thousand people dead, many of whom were children, and over 10,000 injured. It destroyed and damaged homes, leaving tens of thousands homeless.