Volunteers are on the frontlines of the global refugee response, fostering social cohesion and protecting and assisting the forcibly displaced men, women and children in their midst.
In Mali, more than 200 UN Volunteers are advancing peace and development with the various United Nations entities, including more than 140 in MINUSMA.
'The Voices of Courage' photo exhibition paid special tribute to women volunteers in Mali: 10 women agreed to share their volunteer experience in this West African country. Their stories are illustrated by 10 portrait photos of women volunteers in action in their work environments.
A public affairs specialist, Tommaso was working with the UN Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) in Brussels – after stints in The Hague and Rome – when he decided to upload his profile into the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) database. One night, while walking home with a colleague, he received an email asking if he was interested in joining OCHA’s sub-office in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). "I wasn’t convinced I could make it to the end of the selection process," Tommaso shares.
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.
South Sudan has been at civil war since December 2013, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and forcing more than four million people to flee their homes. The United Nations hosts about 200,000 of those who have been displaced in Protection of Civilians sites across the country.
According to the National Employment and Income Survey (ENEI), in Guatemala, 58.6 per cent of women live in poverty and 22.8 per cent in extreme poverty.
Poverty is greater in the rural population, particularly in the Maya, Xinca and Garífuna peoples, communities that live under a constant condition of injustice and deprivation of their basic rights, affecting their women, girls and adolescents with greater ferocity.
There are more than 240,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently registered with UNHCR Egypt. Many are women and children.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) provides registration, refugee status determination, and protection assistance to refugees and asylum seekers from 58 nationalities, in coordination with national and international NGOs.
For Firmin Sindaye, a native of Burundi, his motivation to serve as a UN Volunteer was fuelled by his desire to serve the cause of human rights wherever he is. Holder of a Master’s Degree in international and European human rights, Firmin has 15 years of national and international experience with local human rights organizations and the United Nations in the area of human rights protection, reporting and advocacy.
Millions of Yemenis are affected by a terrible armed conflict, an impending famine and one of the world's largest cholera outbreaks in recent history. In May 2018, over 7,5 million people were receiving emergency food assistance — more than twice the number of people reached over a year ago.
It is on the ground, in their local communities, that we really see the unique impact of volunteers.
For example, UN Volunteers are facilitating the local integration of Syrian asylum-seekers in Armenia, including those who themselves have escaped the conflict.
While in Afghanistan, UN Volunteers have brought together youth and religious leaders in dialogue on gender equality, exemplifying the power of volunteerism in bringing communities together, giving voice to marginalized groups and weaving a stronger social fabric.