Volunteering is an essential tool for strengthening national capacities, promoting the implementation of development actions and the social inclusion of youth. In this regard, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme helps Member States to create an enabling environment for the promotion of volunteerism and the development of volunteer infrastructures.
As a UN Volunteer with the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC) at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), I have had the chance to combine work on coordination, joint communication and planning in the office with capacity development in the field.
The Voluntary National Reviews facilitate sharing experiences, successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs. They are voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and ideally involve multiple national stakeholders. The Reports are expected to serve as a basis for the annual reviews by the HLPF.
When I was accepted for the assignment to develop content about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Colombia, I was very excited. For 17 weeks, I was expected to create social media posts about each of the 17 SDGs, share information, facts, photos, statistics and/or videos about SDGs in Colombia. Since I am Mexican, I also included content from my own country.
On 6 July 2017, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Serbia jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted in Belgrade a conference entitled Volunteerism for the Sustainable Development Goals. UNV Serbia facilitated the NGO, CSO and VIO joint-meeting to share knowledge, connect networks, and draw on best practices.
The SDGs are not business as usual for development cooperation and aid financing. The Agenda 2030 recognizes that financial institutions and national governments need to facilitate people’s engagement, especially locally, for real sustainable development for all.
The month of December was passing by and my sadness had turned into depression. At that moment, I had lived outside of Venezuela for almost two years, since I, like many other young people from my country, felt the need to look for opportunities beyond our borders. However, in my case, my stay in Colombia had become more challenging than expected: I couldn’t find a job where I could utilize my skills and professional knowledge, and I was quite far from content.
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.
Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo (Mexico) has been a UN Online Volunteer since 2011. One of her motivations to join UNV’s Online Volunteering service was the desire to help organisations in other countries carry out their work, especially in the field of gender equality.