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Mutual learning, action and enthusiasm
Amanda Eyer (left), UN Youth Volunteer with UN-Habitat Ecuador, during a workshop about urban planning with the community of Puerto La Cruz in the Gulf of Guayaquil. (UNV, 2014)
Among this year’s many enriching experiences as a UN Youth Volunteer, two particularly stand out. Participating in the organization of the first National Urban Forum in Ecuador was one of them. The other was learning about the most immediate needs of communities living under very poor conditions in the Gulf of Guayaquil. In many ways, I equate these experiences with the essence of the mission of a volunteer. Read
More about: Poverty  Youth
Countries:  Ecuador
What it means to be a UN Volunteer
UNV volunteer Fanta Nifaboum demonstrates that life in Chad requires resilience and ingenuity. (UNV)
The decision to serve as a UN Volunteer, at home or abroad, is based on a commitment to the United Nations and to the UN’s contribution to peace, development and human rights in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

As a UN Volunteer you have the extraordinary opportunity to create beneficial change and have a positive impact on people's lives. Even if your UNV assignment is fairly short, it can have a long-term impact and achieve a ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate beneficiaries of your efforts.

Your role as a UN Volunteer is that of both facilitator and catalyst. UNV encourages you to be creative and entrepreneurial in finding ways to develop capacity and to promote and foster volunteerism for peace and development - both within and beyond the formal framework of your assignment.

Ultimately, if development is to be effective and sustainable, the people affected by it must take ownership of its processes and drive them forward. Indeed, the MDGs can only be reached if millions of people around the world voluntarily mobilize to achieve them. Your actions as a UN Volunteer can also inspire others to volunteer and to believe that they too can make a contribution towards peace and development.

UN Volunteers come from around 160 countries and many more cultural backgrounds, and thanks to this wide variety of perspectives they bring a range of experiences, expectations and approaches. This diversity gives their work a particular dynamism.

UN Volunteers are thus part of a global, cumulative effort that integrates volunteerism as a core contribution to peace and development: and the concept of volunteerism for peace and development  is at the core of UNV’s mission.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)