The KGU Programme enables youth to gain exposure to, and make an impact on, peace and sustainable development by working with UN partners and within communities in the field. These opportunities allow the university students to acquire enriching professional experience in international development and peace, helping them shape their future careers.
Hyeon-Soo Jeon, from South Korea, was interested in starting a career in international development, and just after graduation was selected for an international UN Youth Volunteer assignment, fully funded by the Republic of Korea, with the United Nations Development Programme in Kosovo (as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244).
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.
The Guatemala Peace Accords were signed in 1996, ending a 36-year-long civil war, but some challenges remain in the construction of a peaceful and inclusive society. During the last years, Guatemala has witnessed an increase in social conflicts related to land disputes, lack of access to public services and natural resource management, among others.
It was in this context that I initiated my UN Volunteer assignment as a Conflict Resolution Officer with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to World Bank data, half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 25 years of age and each year until 2035, there will be half a million more 15-year-olds than the year before.
While Africa’s youth bulge could present an opportunity for innovation and economic growth for the continent, many countries still struggle to provide sufficient perspectives for their youth. Youth unemployment continues to be a challenge for Sub-Sahara Africa with rates being as high as 60 per cent in some countries.
The Growth and Development Strategy III (2017-2022) recognizes the value of volunteerism in increasing the productivity of youth and unemployed Malawians. It envisages the establishment of a national volunteer service programme.
The Ministries of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and Finance, Economic Planning and Development will work closely with the National Youth Council of Malawi to develop a legal and regulatory framework on volunteerism, as well as an effective national coordination and implementation framework.
In Burundi, more than 68 per cent of the population is under 24 years old. This demographic structure, with a majority of motivated and ambitious youth, could fuel the economy and lead to economic growth for the small African country. However, the demographic dividend is yet to be realized. Instead, Burundi faces a major challenge of providing its youth with employment opportunities and future perspectives.
Women in South Africa give birth to 2.3 children on average translating to a population growth of 1.6 per cent. While South Africa’s fertility rate is substantially lower than those of other African countries (in Ethiopia, for example, women have an average of 4.2 children), it is also considerably higher than in countries of the Global North where most countries show rates of below two children. At the same time, teenage pregnancies are prevalent with nearly 7 per cent of 15 to 19-year old girls giving birth (in comparison, the UK rate is at just over 2 per cent).
EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT KEY IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Hassane Abdoulsalamou has been serving as a national UN Volunteer with IOM since November 2016. He supports a project for the empowerment of youth in Niger (AJPANI), which offers youth at risk of conflict opportunities to develop through socio-economic participation and mechanisms faciliting participation in decision-making and peacebuilding
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.