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.
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.
How do you see the partnership between UN Women and UN Volunteers and why is this important?
UN Volunteers and other volunteers are advancing gender issues and impacting on women's lives in rural and urban settings. In line with Sustainable Development Goal 5, they are volunteering to safeguard the basic rights of women and girls, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination, and avail opportunities for women and girls to learn, engage and lead.
In the process of finding a right programming partner, I was able to get in touch with UNLIREC- the Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development for Latin America and the Caribbean, part of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. UNV was investing in programming under its five Global Programmes, and together with UNLIREC, we assessed the possibility of submitting a proposal that would align with our respective mandates under the UNV Global Peacebuilding Programme.
The initiatives awarded under the Youth Volunteering Innovation Challenge featured youth engaging volunteers to address social issues with the help of private sector volunteering – the SAP staff members who provided mentorships were also volunteers. The three-month mentorships enabled grantees to scale up their projects in the areas of environment, people with disabilities, and women’s economic empowerment within urban contexts, with a focus on leveraging volunteering for the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UN Climate Change Conference COP 23 is taking place in Bonn, Germany, between 6 and 17 November. UNV is also present in different ways to make sure volunteerism is part of the conversation around the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change.
On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the UN pays homage to the victims of hunger and social exclusion to encourage multilateral partnerships that are based on solid, compassionate responses to their struggles. Poverty has numerous repercussions: hunger and food insecurity, increased crime and child mortality rates, political instability, corruption and dysfunctional governance. We are seeing now that poverty is a prime driver of violent extremism, breeding and intensifying conflicts worldwide.
The Young Person’s Guide: Changing the World Edition combines inputs from youth leaders and young people worldwide with expertise coming from 13 partner organizations in the private sector, civil society and international financial institutions.
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.