What is UNV?
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Based in Bonn, Germany, UNV is active in 140 countries. It is represented worldwide through the offices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and reports to the UNDP Executive Board.
What is UNV’s mission?
UNV works under a dual mandate – to mobilize volunteers for the United Nations System and to advocate for the importance of volunteerism in development worldwide.
Who are the UN Volunteers?
Every year, close to 8,000 qualified and experienced women and men of 160 nationalities serve as UNV volunteers in 130 countries. Currently, nearly 70 per cent are citizens of developing countries while the remaining 30 per cent come from the industrialized world.
What do they do?
They work in technical cooperation with governments, with community-based initiatives, in humanitarian relief and rehabilitation and in support of human rights, electoral and peace-building processes. They are professionals who work on a peer basis. They listen and discuss; teach and train; encourage and facilitate. Volunteers also share and exchange ideas, skills and experience.
In which sectors do they work?
The UNV programme involves a wide spread of sectors: it maintains a roster covering 115 professional categories. Agriculture, health and education feature prominently, as do human rights promotion, information and communication technology, community development, vocational training, industry and population.
Where are they working?
Over the years, they have served in about 140 countries. Today 40 per cent are at work in Africa, 26 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, and 15 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe; the remainder are to be found in the Arab States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Thirty per cent serve in the world’s poorest nations — the least developed. Half work outside capital cities, frequently in remote towns and villages. This is in response to expressed needs, and it reflects the commitment which volunteers bring. Included here are the field workers serving at the grassroots level in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. These are practitioners with excellent track records in village-level community work; they exchange skills and knowledge among countries of those regions.
How does the programme operate?
It works in partnership with governments, UN Agencies, development banks and non-governmental and community-based organizations. The programmes within which UNV specialists serve are usually managed by governments; often there is technical input and supervision from one of the UN system’s specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) or from the World Bank. At the request of some governments UNV itselfs acts as executing agent.
How is it funded?
Part of UNV’s resources comes from country and regional funds provided by UNDP. Other significant sources include the regular programme budgets of UN agencies, contributions from host governments, special purpose grants by donor governments, and the UNV Special Voluntary Fund.
Do UN Volunteers receive any financial and/or other benefits?
The key benefit of being a UN Volunteer is the personal satisfaction the volunteer assignment brings to you as you make a positive impact on peace and development. However, we support you during your assignment in several ways, e.g. through a monthly volunteer living allowance, annual leave, or medical insurance. For more details go to qualifications and conditions of service.
How do I become a UN Volunteer?
Visit our How to become a UN Volunteer section to read all about it.