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  Volunteers' perspectives    
Rescuing populations from the threat of statelessness in northern Benin
18 December 2014
Alioune Seck (in white shirt) UN Volunteer - Protection associate and Pépin Glélé (on the left) Head of protection at the UNHCR office in Benin, surrounded by children with undetermined nationality (UNV, 2014)
Just a few weeks after joining the protection unit for stateless persons of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) regional office, I was given the opportunity to participate in my first field mission and to reach out to people threatened by statelessness in northern Benin, at the border with Niger. The aim of this mission was to understand the causes of the situation faced by these people, analyze its impact on their daily lives, and envisage lasting solutions, together with local authorities. Read
Building trust and reciprocity among people
12 December 2014
International UN Volunteer Pren Domgjoni (right), Urban Planner at UN-Habitat, during a community visioning workshop organized by UN-Habitat. (UNV, 2014)
I strongly believe that people are at the centre of the planning process; and I try to bring more volunteers from the community to participate in planning and designing their public spaces. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to society by utilizing the knowledge and experience gained in my previous career. I am also benefiting greatly from this experience and have learnt a lot during my assignment in Palestine. Read
Mobile Legal Aid Clinics – Vehicles of Empowerment and Justice in The Gambia
08 December 2014
“Since you came, life in this village has changed.”

This is what the Seyfo (chief of the district) said to welcome us when our Mobile Legal Aid Clinics Team visited his village for the second time this year. His thanks were echoed by the Security Officer of the District Tribunal, who said that “now I know my powers and I can help the community.” The Seyfo himself had greatly benefited from our advice, and had returned for the second time with a new list of concerns.  We were astonished when he proudly referred to some of the clients that we had advised last April: “Kebbah has gotten the land back that was taken away from him illegally... Omar is now sleeping again in his house... Aminatta is divorced from the husband that abandoned her and he is now paying for the maintenance of the children that he neglected.”

Read
Countries:  Gambia  Italy
UN Volunteer helps efforts to build participatory democracy in India
01 December 2014
National UNV Communication and Coordination Associate Sugandha Nagar (right) explains the  Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Programme of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to Ms. Sellestina Anna Mbii Kiuluku, Director of Human Resource and Administration with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in Kenya, who was among international delegates visiting a polling station in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. (UNV India Field Unit, 2014)
As a national UN Volunteer, Sugandha Nagar, a UNV Communication and Coordination Associate with the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the Democratic Governance unit of UNDP, educates India's electors about exercising their universal adult franchise, their vote.  She feels that her assignment allows her to help people carry out the most fundamental of their rights and duties as citizens.  Read
More about: Governance
Countries:  India
Young Ecuadorians define the new Post-2015 development agenda
31 October 2014
International UN Youth Volunteer Lena Priesemann (centre) during discussions with children at a World Water Day event in Quito. (UNV, 2014)
During my year in Ecuador, I met a lot of people, above all young people who are committed to fighting for a better world. I started my assignment in July 2013 to support the national consultations on the definition of the Post-2015 development agenda in Ecuador. The consultations were carried out under the slogan “The World We Want beyond 2015”. Read
More about: MDGs: General  Youth
Countries:  Ecuador

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What does it mean to be a volunteer? Volunteers talk about their work in their own words, and celebrate those moments that show the spirit of volunteerism.
UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)