State of Palestine
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.
I had decided on my career path in international development during my studies in Korea and Spain. What became apparent though was that I desired to work in the field, to be closer to the lives we aim to impact. I started searching.
Bringing opportunities to all
From education to employment, the opportunities offered to men and women in Gaza are not equal. With programs implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, this is slowly changing. Together, they promote gender equality in Gaza through volunteerism and women’s participation. There are currently 60 UN Volunteers in the State of Palestine, 26 are women.
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.
Gaza, State of Palestine: Volunteers are catalysts of change and make important contributions to sustainable development – this is so aptly personified by Mona Ouda and Diana Abu Ramadan, two national UN Volunteers with UNDP’s rubble removal programme.
Engineers and workers are part of this USD $ 14 million project to facilitate the removal of debris of destroyed homes and other civic infrastructure in The Gaza Strip. Four female engineers that include Mona and Diana are also part of this programme.
Gaza, State of Palestine: Volunteerism is the path I have chosen to shape the development of my community and my own self-confidence. In my home of Gaza city, within the State of Palestine, volunteerism, as with many other things, takes its own particular shape. We volunteer to help people and to help ourselves in the context of high levels of poverty and unemployment.
Ramallah, State of Palestine: They say if you travel the world carrying the same thoughts and attitude throughout your journey, it is as if you have never left your place. Cognition and knowledge is not about how many places you have seen; sometimes it is how you can view the same place or thing in different ways and from different perspectives. Being a national UN Volunteer provided me with the opportunity to see my country, Palestine, in a different way.
Ramallah, State of Palestine: I love people, cities and towns. For that reason, I chose to be a spatial/urban planner and I plan for people. When we plan, people should be at the centre of the process; and we should aim to improve people’s lives. People, cities, towns and villages cannot be viewed separately, they are so interconnected. As long as people are there, cities always develop and never stop.