The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme promotes voluntary service to support peace and development worldwide. UNV is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and by the idea that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards peace and development. With partners such as the UN refugee agency, UNV advocates for voluntary service, integrates it into development planning and mobilizes volunteers.
Based in Bonn, Germany and established in 1970, UNV is administered by the UN Development Programme. Every year, UNV mobilizes more than 7,500 volunteers for development projects and it operates a special service (see below) to connect development organizations with volunteers worldwide through the internet. Volunteers are skilled professionals with at least two years of working experience. They work in more than 130 countries and 80 per cent come from developing countries.
Around 1,000 UN Volunteers now work with UNHCR every year. Volunteers have worked as part of the UNHCR team in numerous operations, including Afghanistan, the Balkans, Colombia, Ecuador, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.
In 2011, UNV is marking the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, a chance to reinvigorate and promote the spirit of volunteerism. UNV will also use the year to highlight the vital role played by all volunteers and the contribution they make to helping UNHCR achieve its mandate.
In December 2000, UNHCR’s 50th anniversary year, former High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata presented the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award to UNV in recognition of services to refugees.
For information on serving in countries other than your own as an international UN Volunteer, go to register to be a UN Volunteer. For information about how to become an online volunteer and about the UNV Online Volunteering service, visit the Online Volunteering service website.