My time serving as a UN Youth Volunteer in Education for a year, between February 2017 to February 2018, was a great learning experience. Due to my proactive attitude, I participated in an array of activities that were instrumental to my contribution to the efforts of UNESCO IICBA in building a sustainable educational framework using ICT for schools in Ethiopia and other countries in the African Union.
Education plays a very important role in eradicating poverty and improving health and sanitation, leading to better economic and social development and higher living standards. On 4 November 2015 in Paris, the international education community adopted the Education 2030 Framework for Action, the foundation that will anchor global efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).
UNESCO’s Global Citizenship Education (GCED) works to instil in learners of all ages the values, attitudes and behaviours that support responsible global citizenship: creativity, innovation and commitment to peace, human rights and sustainable development. Combined with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) these interdisciplinary learning methodologies are integral to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 Goal (SDG4) which seeks to promote equality and inclusive education for all.
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.
This conference, the second of its series, highlighted the power of youth volunteering to address violent extremism and promote social inclusion. The conference offered a platform for youth volunteers to connect with and influence the broader global agenda on peace and development and foster greater international collaboration among youth volunteers.
International UN Volunteer Solomon Bekele (Ethiopia) has been serving with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in South Sudan since April 2016 as the Pastoralist Literacy and Education Specialist for the project: Enhanced Knowledge and Education for Resilient Pastoral Livelihoods in South Sudan.
The training is a way to inform and prepare the youth volunteers to better understand the role of UN Youth Volunteers in the context of the United Nations.
The Governments of Korea, Ireland, Luxembourg and China are funding the volunteer assignments of these UN Youth Volunteers. After their training, they will serve in Myanmar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kosovo, Mongolia, State of Palestine, Panama, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Zimbabwe, Viet Nam, Senegal, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Thailand.
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.
“UN Volunteers are highly-specialized professionals who work at grassroots level to empower communities to pursue learning and education to overcome development challenges, including extreme poverty,” says UNV Executive Coordinator Olivier Adam. “Leaving no one behind is at the heart of what makes UN Volunteers special, and we are looking forward to engaging more with UNESCO.”
Simon serves as the Associate Project Officer at the institute, which follows Gandhi's principles – inclusion and non-violence.
During his assignment, Simon has been working on three projects, with a focus on empowering the young generation and training their independent thinking skills by asking them to solve real, tough global issues.