By signing this partnership, ISM, a leader in francophone Africa, becomes the first university in Africa to integrate the UN University Volunteer category in the academic curriculum and offer its students the opportunity to promote volunteerism as a key asset for sustainable peace and development in Africa.
ISM students will be deployed in UN agencies in Senegal as UN University Volunteers, to leverage their knowledge and skills in several areas of expertise and dedicate their creativity and energy to peace and development in their six-month assignments.
This project is particularly important as although Sri Lanka has ended a 30-year civil war, there remains unresolved issues of psychological trauma, sexual violence and misunderstanding between different ethnicities.
The project is part of the support provided by the UN in Sri Lanka towards the government's 'Peacebuilding Priority Plan (PPP) which serves as the "framework for a coordinated, government, UN, and other stakeholders response to secure lasting peace in Sri Lanka".
During the meeting, UNV presented its new UNV Strategic Framework 2018-2021 (SF). The SF is a targeted strategy, focusing on support to UN Member States and placing volunteers across the UN system. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed great interest in the new SF and particularly in UNV’s Online Volunteering system as a potential pathway for early entry to the UN for Japanese citizens.
The UN University Volunteer scheme enables young students enrolled in a University to broaden their personal and professional skills and gain experience in the field of international development and peace, while contributing to the work of the UN. In 2017, 98 UN University Volunteers served with 16 UN host entities in 34 countries, 75 per cent of them women.
"This has been the most useful and fun training I have been to," says Edgar Kiliba, UN Youth Volunteer Web and Social Media Communications Associate for the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Tanzania. Edgar was one of 17 UN Youth Volunteers who participated in the Assignment Preparation Training in Nairobi and are being deployed to five countries on the African continent.
"Youth Impact for the SDGs in Côte d'Ivoire" is a US $118,500 project partially funded by Microsoft and implemented in collaboration with AIESEC, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNV. The project was developed following a workshop of the UNV Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROWCA) in Dakar, Senegal, in September 2016 on harnessing the potential of young people to achieve the SDGs through volunteering.
In the pursuit of its mandate to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, UNICEF recognizes that youth over 18 years old have proven to be key advocates and change makers. UNICEF has historically engaged modest numbers of youth volunteers in their advocacy and programmatic work. The organization is now looking to strengthen this by engaging youth in a systematic and formalized programme to deliver results for children.
Ms Valerie Crab, Programme Specialist and Innovation Lead, has been working with two national UN Youth Volunteers and one national UN Volunteer in the twenties on innovation, such as the U-Report Indonesia, a polling system that uses social media to help deliver youth opinions to policymakers. “I think that UN Volunteers should be recruited to bring an added value to a programme that otherwise we wouldn’t have access to,” she says. On the value of having a UN Youth Volunteers in her team, she describes,
Some 103 UN Volunteers served with UNAIDS in 38 countries over the past 10 years. Supporting the mandate of UNAIDS, they have been working towards stopping new HIV infections, ensuring that everyone living with HIV has access to treatment, protecting and promoting human rights and producing data for decision-making.