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INSPIRATION BECOMES REALITY AECID AND UNV: CONTRIBUTING TO PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT THROUGH VOLUNTEERISM FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS
inspiration in action
“I have learned a lot from all the people in the communities who do voluntary work. I have tried to gain insight into their daily tasks as volunteers in order to understand the spirit of goodwill that sends them on their way with conviction and confidence. In short, I have enjoyed and learned a great deal from my three years as a volunteer. Now there is a long road ahead where I can continue making my contribution to paths of solidarity by adding small pebbles of goodwill.” Lola Nuñez, UN Volunteer in Quito, Ecuador
UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
CONTENTS 04 05 06 08 10 12 14 16
Forging a path A shared vision Impact in more than 50 countries Vocation for cooperation: Mobilization of experts to promote peace and development How volunteers see the world: Spotlight on gender equality Better prepared communities Online volunteering: Sharing skills and experience from anywhere in the world Their stories are our biggest success: Spotlight on the volunteer as a catalyst for development
RICHARD DICTUS Executive Coordinator United Nations Volunteers
For more than 20 years, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) have been partners in making a difference in development and peace in over 50 countries world-wide. UNV works with the conviction that volunteerism helps transform the pace and nature of development. Volunteering is a powerful channel for people to have a lasting impact on shaping the future we want. UNV forges partnerships to open opportunities at national, regional and global levels for volunteerism as a form of civic engagement. And with AECID, we have done just that, for over two decades. AECID’s invaluable partnership with UNV has allowed hundreds of Spanish professionals to be actively involved in development and peacebuilding activities around the globe as part of the United Nations family through their UN Volunteer assignments. Over 300 Spanish UN Volunteers have taken part in numerous United Nations projects and programmes tackling challenges in all aspects of peace and development. Commitment like that of Javier Cidón, assigned to UN Habitat in Mozambique, and engagement like that of Esther García, with UN Women in Sarajevo, provide the foundation for this partnership’s contribution to global peace and development. Together, AECID and UNV have demonstrated over and over again the impact of volunteerism and the values for which it stands. As development partners, we have made progress on the Millennium Development Goals and are looking forward to continuing this collaboration to implement the post-2015 development agenda.
Thanks to a special focus of this partnership - the AECID-UNV joint disaster preparedness fund - local organizations and hundreds of community volunteers are better prepared to take action and assist in times of disaster. AECID’s solidarity with communities in Latin America and the Caribbean is tangible, as this region is routinely hit by hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and landslides. To date, this fund has supported 25 national UN Volunteers who have trained over 4,650 local community volunteers in disaster preparedness in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru. In addition, AECID has been a key supporter of one of UNV’s most innovative ways of expanding exponentially the reach and scope of volunteerism -- UNV’s Online Volunteering service. In 2013, this service mobilized 11,328 people via the Internet, of whom 533 were from Spain. With this publication, we recognize the fruitful partnership between UNV and AECID. Let us be inspired by this successful partnership as we continue to strive to build the world we want.
Richard Dictus Executive Coordinator, United Nations Volunteers
GONZALO ROBLES Secretary-General for International Development Cooperation and Vice-President of AECID
At the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) we have spent more than 25 years implementing development cooperation and humanitarian action projects in more than 50 countries worldwide. Our main goal has always been poverty reduction and sustainable development in the countries where our projects are implemented, which are carried out in collaboration with a wide range of partners.
Through Spanish Cooperation we intend to continue strengthening our collaboration with the UNV, particularly in the area of UN Youth Volunteers. This new program presents an opportunity to foster the integration of young people and to recognize the potential they possess to support our projects, accelerate the achievement of the MDGs, and contribute to the consolidation of the post-2015 development agenda.
For us, partnership with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, as shown in this publication, has produced truly satisfactory results. It has created links and opportunities for AECID and UNV to mobilize Spanish experts as UN Volunteers for peace and development, through the work of all these men and women in very different professional areas such as health, communication, disaster prevention and the promotion of equality between men and women. It is also gratifying to recognize how many of these UN Volunteers have continued to be professionally linked to the United Nations agencies in which they collaborated. Many others continue to be linked to the world of development cooperation thanks to the impetus provided by AECID, which has allowed them to be key agents in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
We hope that in the future our partnership will become even stronger and we can continue working together to increase the number of programmes in which we participate.
Gonzalo Robles Secretary-General for International Development Cooperation and Vice-President of AECID
FORGING A PATH
Volunteerism is a powerful way to involve citizens in endeavours to reduce poverty and to promote peace and sustainable human development.
A DYNAMIC ALLIANCE TACKLES CHALLENGES THROUGH THREE LINES OF SUPPORT MOBILIZING SPANISH PROFESSIONALS AS UNITED NATIONS VOLUNTEERS. PROMOTING ONLINE VOLUNTEERING THROUGH THE ONLINE VOLUNTEERING SERVICE WEBSITE WWW. ONLINEVOLUNTEERING.ORG. SUPPORTING A FUND TO REDUCE VULNERABILITY TO NATURAL DISASTERS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN.
For more than two decades, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme have joined forces to advance social change through volunteerism. This partnership has enabled experts from Spain and developing countries to use their knowledge and skills to support the mandates of a large number of United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations and local public institutions. Channelled through UNV, the work of these experts has contributed - and continues to contribute - towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The AECID-UNV partnership is a dynamic one that has the capacity to respond swiftly and effectively in the face of complex challenges. For over 20 years, the partnership has successfully supported peace and development by following three primary courses of action: · mobilization of Spanish professionals as UN Volunteers; · promotion of online volunteering; and · establishment of a fund to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters. Between 1991 and 2013, more than 300 Spanish experts were mobilized as UN Volunteers who worked with 25 United Nations agencies in over 50 countries. The joint commitment of AECID and UNV to online volunteering has seen rapid results; the number of Spanish volunteers via the Internet now exceeds 1,700 and there has been a sharp increase in the number of organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean receiving help from these online volunteers. In the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru - countries that frequently face natural disasters - the natural disaster fund created by the AECIDUNV partnership has helped strengthen the response capacities of local volunteer organizations. To date, more than 4,650 volunteers in these countries have received specialized training in disaster response.
“The experience has been very enriching, at both a professional and a personal level. UNV is a brilliant mechanism which offers people the opportunity to make a contribution to the developing world. As a result of such a positive and rewarding experience, Timor-Leste will always mean something special to me.” Beatriz Marciel, UN Volunteer on a UNDP rural development project in Timor-Leste
A SHARED VISION
AECID and UNV have a shared vision: to contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by promoting and strengthening volunteerism throughout the world.
The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) is a key player in the development, management and execution of Spain’s public policies on international cooperation in the fight against poverty and for sustainable human development. AECID provides support on a daily basis in more than 50 countries. The agency strives for continual progress in tackling social exclusion, protecting the environment, dealing with conflicts and natural disasters, peacekeeping and promoting basic human rights such as food, education, health and culture.
“Working as a volunteer in Morocco enabled me to see first-hand - and really understand - the development challenges that the country faces. As a result of all the meetings, conferences and in particular the field expeditions, I gained a comprehensive understanding of Morocco’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”
This work is defined by a commitment to the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs, which set out an agenda and a common methodology in the fight against poverty. UNV
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the United Nations organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development. Volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UN Volunteers, throughout the world. UNV embraces volunteerism as universal and inclusive, and recognizes volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.
Anton Landaburu, UN Volunteer on a UNDP project promoting youth employment in Morocco
THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
MILLENNIUM SUMMIT IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS AND ERADICATE POVERTY.
THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS) ARE EIGHT GOALS AIMED AT IMPROVING THE LIVES OF THE WORLD’S POOREST PEOPLE. IN 2000, THE LEADERS OF 189 COUNTRIES SIGNED THE HISTORIC MILLENNIUM DECLARATION AT THE 1
THE MDGS HAVE MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES AND CLEARLY DEFINED TIMEFRAMES. THE GOALS, RANGING FROM PROVIDING UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION TO REDUCING INFANT MORTALITY AND IMPROVING MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH, AIM TO BE REACHED BY 2015. 5
IMPACT IN MORE THAN 50 COUNTRIES UN Volunteers funded by AECID from 1998-2013
2 Bosnia and H 2
Haiti 4 12 Honduras
Guatemala 12 El Salvador 7 14 Nicaragua Costa Rica 4
13 Dominican Republic 7
3 Senegal 1 Nigeria
4 Mauritania Cape Verde 4
Côte d'Ivoire 2
1 Central Afri
Ecuador 4 18
Dem. Rep. of the Congo
14 9 7 Brazil
8 Bolivia 4 Paraguay
1 Uruguay Chile
223 SPANISH UN VOLUNTEERS WERE DEPLOYED IN 52 COUNTRIES OVER
25 NATIONAL UN VOLUNTEERS WORKED IN PROJECTS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR AND PERU SUPPORTED BY THE FUND SET UP BY AECID AND UNV IN 2008 TO REDUCE VULNERABILITY TO NATURAL DISASTERS.
VARYING PERIODS OF 12 TO 36 MONTHS. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THESE UN VOLUNTEERS WAS AS FOLLOWS: 59% IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, 21% IN AFRICA, 11% IN ASIA PACIFIC, 7% IN ARAB COUNTRIES AND 2% IN EUROPE.
2 Lebanon 4
Occupied Palestinian Territory
1 Laos Myanmar
1 1 Vietnam 4 Cambodia 7
VOCATION FOR COOPERATION
Mobilization of experts to promote peace and development Since 1991, AECID has provided technical support to UNV by mobilizing Spanish experts who serve as volunteers in the development cooperation tasks carried out by the various agencies, organizations and funds of the United Nations system.
“I consider myself privileged to be able to form part of a team made up of specialists in economics, politics, history, anthropology, geography and statistics. Professionals of the highest level but, above all, men and women who have a commitment to others. Because human development isn’t about an increase in GDP or infrastructures. It’s the development of people, by people and for people.” Laura Cárdenas, UN Volunteer for UNDP in the Dominican Republic
Moreover, these professionals have been expected to show a vocation for and commitment to development cooperation. Their responsibilities included encouraging and supporting volunteerism throughout the world, getting involved in actions for human rights or of a humanitarian nature, strengthening democracy and peacekeeping or other task which support development in sectors such as agriculture, health and the environment. Over the past decades, more than 300 volunteers have been mobilized to contribute to projects and programmes of 25 United Nations agencies. Agencies with the most Spanish volunteers assigned were: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The destination countries were selected on the basis of development needs and programme priorities of AECID and UNV. To date, some 50 countries have received Spanish UN Volunteers. Of the Spanish volunteers funded by AECID, 64 percent have been women and 36 percent men. The proportion of women has increased considerably in recent years and the United Nations’ approved target of 50 percent representation by women has been exceeded. Following on from these unique experiences, a large proportion of these volunteers maintain professional links with the United Nations agencies in which they were assigned or do voluntary work in their spare time.
MORE THAN 300 SPANISH UN VOLUNTEERS FUNDED BY AECID HAVE WORKED IN PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES OF 25 UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES IN OVER 50 COUNTRIES. OF THESE SPANISH UN VOLUNTEERS, 64% ARE WOMEN.
In Nicaragua, UN Volunteer María Oset engages with youth on volunteerism. Photo: UNV 2012
CHANGING PEOPLE’S LIVES
María Ángeles Oset has been a UNV Programme Officer in Nicaragua since 2009. Her responsibilities include advocating for volunteerism, integrating volunteerism into development programmes and projects and mobilizing volunteers. “When I arrived I had to make an effort to quickly find out what was going on in Nicaragua. We had around 60 volunteers stationed in remote communities. I had to visit them all, get to know them and also learn about their work. I hung a map in my office and attached their photos to their assigned locations so that I could remember who they were and who they represented.”
the UN agencies and other relevant national and international partners to achieve the United Nations system’s goals.” María says she felt the most satisfaction when people thanked her for coming to their communities or when they confirmed that the knowledge she shared was something new to them, and information they planned to use. “I believe I have been an agent of change and empowerment,” notes María. “I have changed people’s lives, hopefully for the better!”
One of her major successes was to achieve full recognition of the “added value of UNV and volunteerism in assisting
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Esther García, UN Volunteer, raises awareness to prevent violence against women amongst youth during the 2010 Sarajevo film festival. Photo: UNV 2010
HOW VOLUNTEERS SEE THE WORLD Spotlight on gender equality
AN END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
When Esther García arrived in Sarajevo in 2009, she had images of a city still besieged etched in her mind. To her surprise, she found that the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina was a place full of life. Esther joined the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) – a small office - to develop projects on youth and gender equality aimed at preventing violence against women. The job was engaging and powerful. What started as one year as a UN Volunteer soon became three years. Esther served as the focal point in the UN Women office for matters relating to violence against women. She collaborated with women’s and youth associations and with civil society and government organizations, as well as coordinating the office’s projects. Her favourite task has been creating awareness campaigns to prevent violence against women among youth. For instance, Esther adapted the United Nations SecretaryGeneral’s global campaign UNiTE to end violence against women to the Bosnian situation. “During these three years I have spent with the United Nations, I have watched how the traditional, patriarchal
Bosnian society is gradually moving away from the idea that domestic violence is a private matter.” And Esther can feel proud that her work at UN Women has been a part of this transformation. PROMOTING THE ECONOMIC RIGHTS OF WOMEN
María Verdú is part of the UN Women team in Rabat, Morocco, supporting various initiatives in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. She is principally involved with gender-sensitive budgeting and the promotion of economic independence for women. The Gender Sensitive Budgeting programme supports initiatives of public institutions and local associations that integrate gender into planning and budgeting processes. María works closely with local associations to develop projects that encourage women entrepreneurship and create income-generating activities led by women who have been victims of gender-based violence. María finds these labours satisfying and enriching, both professionally and personally. “UNV has allowed me to deepen my understanding of gender differences and the human rights perspective,” she says.
Gemma Aguado is assigned to UNDP’s Articulating Territorial Networks for Human Development (ART) programme in Bolivia. The programme champions networking between members of the public and private sector to make development cooperation more efficient. Gemma is convinced that individual contributions, no matter how small, can help improve the lives of others. “I didn’t just discover Bolivia; I also fell in love with the richness of its culture and people, through listening, conversing with and learning from them, and being a witness to their daily struggle to achieve Vivir Bien [president Evo Morales’ development model of ‘living well’] for everyone. In Mozambique, UN Volunteer Javier Cidon delivers training on building emergency shelters to staff of the Mozambican Red Cross. Photo: UNV 2011
As a UN Volunteer, Macarena Olazábal del Villar was in charge of fundraising for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Mexico. One of her favourite assignments was organizing 5km and 15km road races to raise money for UNHCR. The first year, 300 people ran; the second year saw double the number of runners.
In Bolivia, UN Volunteer Gemma Aguado supports the training of community member in Oruro. This activity is part of the UNDP programme Articulating Territorial Networks for Human Development (ART). Photo: UNV 2011
I have seen for myself the need to work hard to achieve mutual understanding and tolerance, even when cultural differences make it difficult. And I have had the opportunity to get to know other value systems and other ways of looking at the world. What I have learned is of enormous value to me and perhaps I would not have had this learning opportunity had I not been a volunteer.”
For Macarena, one of the most important lessons of her volunteer experience has been to understand that, “No one chooses to be a refugee. In Mexico, the refugees arrive in mixed flows, using the same routes as migrants. Along the way they suffer appalling abuse. It’s hard to imagine how a person, or a child, or a family, who once had an education, a career and a house, can lose everything because of persecution and escape with just a rucksack on their back. No one is exempt.” BRAZIL
Leticia Barrios arrived at the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Brazil in February 2011. As a Coordination Associate, she was able to attend significant international events and experience first-hand Brazil’s importance in the global arena.
Architect Javier Cidón left Madrid at the end of 2009 to join UN Habitat as a UN Volunteer in Mozambique. During his three-year stint he assisted the Mozambican Red Cross and the Mozambican government to coordinate the Emergency Shelter Cluster in the country. When his volunteer assignment ended, Javier joined Oxfam in Mozambique as a regular staff member. In his spare time, Javier continues to volunteer for the Mozambican Red Cross.
“The opportunity to attend the Río+20 Conference marks a turning point in my professional career,” explains Leticia. “My job was to provide logistical support to the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations. Being able to soak up the atmosphere of such an important forum was an unforgettable experience and one which I will probably only get once in my lifetime.”
BETTER PREPARED COMMUNITIES Organized groups of volunteers are vital to quick responses to humanitarian emergencies caused by natural disasters and essential when the clean-up and rebuilding work begins. With this in mind, AECID and UNV set up a Fund to strengthen the role of volunteerism in disaster risk reduction in 2008. The Fund aims to reduce community vulnerability to natural disasters, support local volunteering and facilitate early recovery. The Fund was launched with an initial contribution of 1.5 million US dollars from AECID. The Fund is primarily aimed at initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region which is routinely hit by hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and landslides. The Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru are the first three countries where the Fund has been applied. Through the financing of 25 national United Nations Volunteers, cooperation projects have been carried out in each of the three countries and have already produced impressive results. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Improving the performance of the Civil Defence · More than 230 volunteers in Civil Defence and around 300 volunteers from the Nordestana Catholic University were trained in first aid, risk management, disaster response, GPS use and management of volunteers in emergency situations. · An emergency drill was successfully held at the Nordestana Catholic University and a handbook was developed on risk management and the management
In the Dominican Republic, volunteers in Civil Defence are taking part in a training in first aid, risk management, disaster response, GPS use and volunteer management in emergency situations. Photo: UNV 2009
of volunteers responding to natural disasters. This handbook incorporated a focus on gender equality. · The Civil Defence took an active role as one of the group of organizations that prepared a draft Bill on Volunteerism in the Dominican Republic, which was approved in December 2012 by the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic. ECUADOR: Communities better prepared to deal with climate change in the provinces of Chimborazo, Guayas and Manabí
· Training was provided for communities on disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. Training included identifying risks like landslides and drought, as well as joint development of solutions such as forestation and reforestation. · Training was also given to volunteers and volunteer organizations (1,770 individuals) and educational materials on the prevention and management of risks were developed. · Six pilot projects were carried out on disaster risk reduction. · A knowledge management workshop was held for the project in Chimborazo Province that involved community and volunteer organizations, the National Secretariat for Risk Management, UNDP, the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, UNV and local governments.
In Ecuador, members of a local community during a clean-up activity. Photo: UNV 2007
THE DISASTER RISK REDUCTION FUND WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY A DONATION OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS FROM AECID. PERU: volunteers involved in rebuilding the Ica region
after the 2007 earthquake · The social fabric of the Ica region, which was seriously damaged after the earthquake, was strengthened by training 351 community leaders in technical, legal and construction matters, risk management and socioproductive enterprises. These community leaders in turn replicated the training in their own communities, resulting in more than 2,000 community volunteers. · Seven community volunteer networks, a volunteer association and four offices for community participation were established. · More than 90 percent of the participants were women, which went far to address gender vulnerability in the area. Training these women on technical matters traditionally associated with men was an empowering step and helped boost their self-esteem and social role in the communities. The women and other volunteers are recognized by authorities as agents of local development. · At the institutional level, the authorities and local government officials supported the volunteers’ plans and altered local government management structures so that formal volunteer action could be accommodated. DESIGNING PROJECTS WITH IMPACT
Rafael Martínez works in UNV headquarters in Bonn, Germany, as manager of the East Asia and the Pacific portfolio. This follows three years serving as a programme analyst with UNV’s Partnerships Section and Development Division, where he was responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean. However, Rafael began with a good grounding in the field, as a programme coordinator in the Dominican Republic. In his field role, Rafael developed projects, advocated for volunteerism and helped United Nations agencies, the government and civil society organizations to mobilize UN Volunteers and incorporate volunteerism into their agendas. While in the Dominican Republic, Rafael successfully set up three projects, one of which was run in collaboration with the Dominican Civil Defence to strengthen the management of its volunteers for disaster risk prevention. Another project supported the creation of a university volunteer network, while a third project, in collaboration with civil society and the Sirve Quisqueya volunteer network, produced a draft bill on volunteerism for the Dominican Republic, which was eventually approved in 2013. “Patience and perseverance are essential. Even if things don’t happen according to plan or in the proposed time scale, this doesn’t mean they are not going to happen,” explains Rafael. “We have to adapt to each culture and each country, to their own pace and way of doing things, at the same time as introducing our own contributions and innovations.”
MORE THAN 4,650 LOCAL VOLUNTEERS HAVE BEEN TRAINED USING THE FUND.
UN Volunteers fill a ditch as part of a sustainable reconstruction project of UNDP and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) after an earthquake hit the south of Peru. Photo: Enrique Fernandez Muñoz, 2009
UNV Programme Officer Rafael Martínez promotes volunteerism in the Dominican Republic during the national youth volunteering fair. Photo: UNV 2009
Teachers in Guadalupe, San Vincente, El Salvador are drawing up the concept of an ideal school. This is part of the activities of a Disaster Risk Reduction workshop held twice a month in the school with teachers and community members. Photo: Etel Matielo, 2011
ONLINE VOLUNTEERING Sharing skills and experience from anywhere in the world
The Online Volunteering service (www.onlinevolunteering. org) is one of the most innovative tools UNV uses to mobilize volunteers to engage in projects for peace and sustainable human development. This service puts volunteers in contact with nongovernmental and civil society organizations, United Nations agencies and intergovernmental or public bodies so that they can exchange knowledge, skills and ideas via the Internet. This collaborative work has the double benefit of improving the operational capacity and success of the organizations that benefit from online volunteer support, while at the same time extending the reach of volunteerism in an increasingly globalized world.
AECID is the third largest direct donor to the Online Volunteering service. Their contributions during 2012 and 2013 sustained advocacy throughout the Spanish-speaking world and increased the number of organizations based in Latin America and the Caribbean that benefited from the support channelled through the service. This has produced significant results, with a 100 percent increase in the allocation of support for activities benefitting that region, compared with 2011. The number of Spanish nationals and Spanish-speaking volunteers who choose to contribute their experience and knowledge through the Internet is noteworthy. From the start of the service in 2000 up to the end of 2013, 1,709 Spanish nationals have participated. Currently, Spain is ranked ninth as a source of online volunteers, with 533 volunteers in 2013 alone.
WIDE AND EFFICIENT COVERAGE: 10,000 ONLINE VOLUNTEERS CARRY OUT 15,000 TASKS EVERY YEAR THROUGH THE ONLINE VOLUNTEERING SERVICE. THE VOLUNTEERS COME FROM 187 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. 55 PERCENT ARE WOMEN AND THE AGE RANGE IS BETWEEN 18 TO 76.
Online volunteers share their time and skills to support development organizations from home, via the Internet. Photo: UNV 2010
1,709 SPANISH NATIONALS HAVE CONTRIBUTED THEIR SKILLS THROUGH THE ONLINE VOLUNTEERING SERVICE. 533 JOINED THIS INITIATIVE IN 2013 ALONE.
MAKING VOLUNTEERISM INCLUSIVE AND DIVERSE
In 2011, the Colombian Red Cross started engaging online volunteers in their work through UNV’s Online Volunteering service. “We wanted to open up new fields for action, be more inclusive and diverse and move with the times,” recalls Fabio Betancur, the Red Cross National Director for Volunteerism. Today, online volunteers are an integral part of the organization. Their contributions range from designing strategies and promotional material for various campaigns, advising on the use of social media for internal communication, to translating fact sheets from English to Spanish. Youth volunteering is one of the areas which benefits most from this collaboration. The online volunteers bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of ideas to attract young people who want to get involved in volunteering. Guillermo Fuentes, a Mexican graphic designer and communications expert, devised a campaign targeting university students. The campaign had a modern image and included novel volunteering opportunities. After its successful implementation in Bogota, the campaign will be repeated in other parts of the country. Argentinian online volunteer Vicky Brunori develops strategies to attract young people to social and community work. She aims to change the image of the Colombian Red Cross among young people through her creative designs, such as a series of characters she titled “Like you and me.” Vicky is also an active on-site volunteer and says she appreciates the opportunity to “share with young Colombians how wonderful it is to have an active role in society and engage in the spirit of volunteerism and humanity.”
contact with UNV’s Online Volunteering service.” During the last five years of her professional life she did translations for international organizations including the United Nations, where her interests lie. Today, Luisa spends several hours each week translating news items for the web pages of various international organizations. She finds that the collaboration has always been excellent. “I found a way of continuing to spend time doing what I really enjoy while also working with organizations who provide essential services to those who need them,” Luisa notes. “I feel enormous satisfaction when I see the results of my work on the websites of UNHCR and other organizations.” “Although I know my contribution is very small, and it’s almost worthless if you compare it with the work done by ‘on-site’ volunteers, anything I can do to support the work of this organization fills me with pride and satisfaction.” ONLINE VOLUNTEERING AWARD 2013
Diego López is a development practitioner and member of a global team of 48 online volunteers who carried out research on the entrepreneurial environment in African countries and produced an e-book and articles for the Association of African Entrepreneurs (AAE). The final product, entitled Hopes and Mirages, is intended to serve as a guide for anyone who wishes to embark on a business enterprise in the region. The team is one of the 10 winners of the Online Volunteering Award 2013.
AN ACTIVE RETIREMENT
Luisa Merchán is a Spanish translator and has a degree in philology from the Complutense University of Madrid. “When I retired I really didn’t know what to do with my life because I didn’t know how to channel my energy and my desire to do something worthwhile. Fortunately, I got in
THEIR STORIES ARE OUR BIGGEST SUCCESS Spotlight on the volunteer as a catalyst for development RAISING THE PROFILE OF VOLUNTEERISM
Upon arriving in Guinea-Bissau as a UN Volunteer in April 2012, Yanira Santana became responsible for monitoring, evaluation and communication for the project: “Strengthening the capacities and coordination mechanisms of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Guinea-Bissau.” CSOs comprise a sector of continuous and rapid change due to the country’s political and social context, which was exacerbated by a change of government that same month. “Working in a key sector in the country and being able to see the response and commitment of civil society organizations increases my motivation each day. It’s an exciting experience and, at the same time, a challenging one.” Yanira works to help partner CSOs improve their planning and actions. She also helped to raise the profile of CSO action and volunteerism at the national level.
“Associations are well rooted and volunteerism has been one of the pillars of the country’s development.” “Associations are well rooted and volunteerism has been one of the pillars of the country’s development,” says Yanira.
Yanira Santana, UN Volunteer in Guinea Bissau, leads a workshop on volunteer management for civil society organizations. Photo: UNV 2012
For this volunteer, understanding the complexity of the fabric of civil society in Guinea-Bissau has been a “wonderful learning challenge.” YOUTH CULTURAL AMBASSADORS
Juanjo Leal has been the UNV Programme Officer in Nicaragua since 2013, which followed his assignment as the UNV PO in Bolivia from 2011to 2013. Before that, he had been a UN Volunteer in Honduras on the UNDP project “Creativity and cultural identity for local development,” funded by AECID. “My time in Honduras was great,” says Juanjo. “It gave me the opportunity to work with the United Nations and learn many processes with various agencies: the way they work, their relationships with public and private partners and civil society, how to negotiate and the whole project management process - from planning, to monitoring, through to evaluation.” For Juanjo, the biggest challenge during his time in Honduras was setting up networks of cultural volunteers throughout the country. He worked together with eight field experts, who were national UN Volunteers, to launch diverse networks consisting mainly of young people who conducted cultural activities in their local areas. A young women who performed traditional folk dances paints a banner in Siguatepeque, Comayagua, Honduras. An artistic fair, ‘Celebrating our culture of volunteersim’ was organized with the region’s cultural volunteers. Photo: Julia Raudales / UNV, 2010
As a UN Volunteer, Ruth Fernández dealt with HIV/AIDS issues with UNDP in the Dominican Republic. According to her, it was “a privilege” which allowed her to contribute towards improving the efficacy of programmes to combat HIV/AIDS.
Amalia Alarcón was a UN Volunteer in the UNDP office in Colombia. She served as a gender officer in three programme areas. This allowed her to learn about UNDP’s work throughout the country. Amalia provided support to projects in poverty reduction, peace building and climate change, to name a few.
She supported social protection policies for people living with HIV/AIDS and the creation of sensitization activities. “The objective was to work with civil society to protect the human rights of the most at-risk groups, such as transsexuals, homosexuals, sex workers and drug users.”
“I had a unique overview of UNDP’s institutional support to Colombia in its entirety,” says Amalia. “The office let me be involved from planning right through to implementation.” PERU
Javier Maroto is a monitoring and evaluation officer in the UNDP office in Peru. He finds his job “extremely interesting.” Javier has the challenging task of developing a monitoring and evaluation strategy for UNDP in Peru for the period 2012-2016. He notes that the strategy must emphasize the importance of monitoring to demonstrate evidence-based results.
UN Volunteer Ruth Fernández raises awareness about HIV/AIDS during World Aids Day 2011 in the Dominican Republic. Photo: UNV 2012
Berta Acero’s assignment as a UN Volunteer in the Cairo Regional Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction started barely a month after the ‘Egyptian Revolution’ began. She was in charge of communications and information management for the United Nations agency, with the task of raising awareness of the risks of natural disasters and helping promote disaster prevention policies. “One of the main challenges we faced was to convince the governments of the region that a poorly managed natural disaster would not only cause a loss of livelihoods but could also set a country’s development back by years in just a few seconds.”
In Egypt, UN Volunteer Berta Acero is preparing a stand to raise awareness to the risks of natural disasters and to inform people about disaster prevention policies. Photo: Levon Farajiani, 2013