The UNMIL-UNV Programme began to be operational in October 2003. Since then, eight hundred and fifty-nine (859) UNV volunteers have provided support to the mission in Liberia. There are currently two hundred and eighteen (212) UNV Volunteers serving with the UNMIL, both in substantive functions areas such as Civil Affairs and Human Rights and in technical support areas (Logistics, Finance, Engineering and Information and Communications).
Over the past seven years, the UNV volunteers assigned to UNMIL have significantly contributed to:
- Facilitate the transfer of skills and knowledge in the areas of Transport, HIV/AIDS, Finance, Engineering, Public Information, etc.
- Promote volunteerism through the creation of a platform for community participation at the community levels
- Support institutional strengthening programmes that enhance the promotion of good governance and provide support to local Government, NGOs, bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies in Liberia
- Organized the successful implementation of the last national election in Liberia that led to the inauguration of the first African female head of state
- Take a lead role in the mobilization of volunteers to undertake teaching programmes at national universities
The UNV volunteers with UNMIL represent 59 different nationalities and 80.60% originate from developing countries. The female UNVs account for 29.36% of the total. The average age is 39 years.
What is UNV's mission?
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV volunteers contribute to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.
Volunteers are inspired by the conviction that volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges worldwide. Everyone can contribute their time, skills and knowledge through volunteer action and their combined efforts can be a significant force for achieving peace and development.
Volunteering makes important economic and social contributions, contributing to a more cohesive society by building trust and reciprocity among citizens. It can be both challenging and rewarding and require you to use your skills in a new context. You can also transfer useful knowledge while gaining a greater understanding of the issues affecting other people.
Promotion of Volunteerism in Liberia
UNV volunteers have been the catalyst for the development of volunteerism in Liberia, The UNV/UNDP supported National Youth Volunteer Service (NYVS), the Volunteers for Peace Programme (VPP) and the recently launched ECOWAS Volunteers Programme have emerged as a direct result of the influence of UNV volunteers here in Liberia. Liberians are have and are embracing the idea of volunteerism as a tool for the maintenance of sustainable peace and development.
Volunteers’ Voices- UNV Radio Programme in collaboration with UNMIL Radio
The Radio Programme Volunteers’ Voices is aimed at building public awareness and promoting the impact of volunteerism in the realization of Peace and Development for sustainable hollistic development. It was first aired in February 2007 and focuses on the role of volunteers and their motivations and distinctive contributions to social, economic and humanitarian programmes in Liberia. Since it first aired over 230 volunteers have been showcased on the programme including UNV volunteers, National Youth Volunteer Service (NYVS) volunteers and Volunteers for Peace (VPP) volunteers.
UNV Photo of the Week
Brings global visibility to the work of volunteers through photographs that showcase the work and experiences. Since 2006 photos capturing volunteers at work have been shared among mission staff, UN agencies funds and programmes in Liberia, UNV HQ, Bonn HQ and UNV programmes around the world.
One Vision is a publication of UNV Support Office in collaboration with the UNV COT UNDP as of January 2010. The newsletter captures the work of volunteers across Liberia and in many different areas of endeavor. It encourages volunteers to share their work-related activities with a wider audience. One Vision emphasizes the volunteers’ importance to sustained peace and development of Liberia.
International Volunteer Day
In recognition of the collective efforts of volunteers globally, the International Volunteer Day (IVD) for economic and social development was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1985. Since then, governments, the UN System and civil society organizations have successfully joined volunteers around the world to celebrate this day. The focus of last year’s celebration was “Harnessing the potential of today’s youth for peace and development through Volunteerism”. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Volunteering for our Planet”.
The activities commenced with a Run/Walk for Peace, Development and The Environment followed by a Beach Clean-up Campaign- PHP Beach in which over 1500+ volunteers from different organizations, government, Liberian military, civil society, UN agencies joined UNV Volunteers. The official speeches and messages were read after which a select few persons went to the School for the Blind in Virginia for the official hand over of the fence recently built by PAK RAM6.
Since 2006, several events have been organized for the best interests of UNVs’ welfare and recreation. These events are aimed at strengthening the unity of the UNV family. Events include the much anticipated quarterly UNV Party.
Most Recent Accomplished Advocacy Projects in 2009-2010
As part of our internal advocacy programme to promote the vital role of UNVs in the collective peace building efforts, the UNV Support Unit initiated beginning February 2008 several activities to give visibility and a voice to the work of UNVs in Liberia. In 2009-2010
- School for the Blind- As early as in 2004, UNVs has begun to volunteer in the School for the Blind in Monrovia. Regular activities include Sunday Feeding Programme, Drop-off Box for donation of relief items, fund-raising, etc. Besides, a music band project, a vegetable garden, printing of the school wall, etc have been accomplished by UNVs and supporters.
- Hot meal Project- Started since 2008 this project is ongoing and provides critical food support for the students of the SFTB
- Volunteer Action Day May 31st 2009- Volunteers gathered at the SFTB to clean, paint and make minor repairs to the school. The spirit of volunteerism could be felt throughout the day which was a huge success.
- Fence Project- In August 2009 a fence was build at the SFTB using QIP funds. The UNV Support Unit was able to access the funds through the targeted intervention of the SRSG Madam Margrethe Ellen Løj.
- The Garden Project- December 2009
- UNV, NYVS And VPP Volunteers in Zwedru City, led by Human Rights Officer, UNV Emmanuel Bryma Momoh, and in consultation with the National Union of Disability (NUD)-Grand Gedeh Branch, in an effort to participate in poverty reduction and provide livelihood opportunities for people with physical challenges agreed to undertake the planting of vegetable gardens. The project’s first harvest- cabbage and pepper- was at the end of December 2009.
- Project Expansion, January 2010- The project has been so successful that it has been expanded by the addition of two additional larger gardens just outside Zwedru City.
- The Human Rights and disability Task Force are interested in developing a livelihoods pilot project for Liberia based on the Garden Project.
- The Lue Klanyene Orphanage Harper, Maryland county
- UNV volunteers in Harper joined hands in the spirit of volunteerism in mid 2006 and decided to come up with various projects that would strengthen their solidarity. They endeavoured to have a running project and have concentrated their efforts on Lue Klanyene Orphanage in Harper, Maryland County.
- The volunteers make regular visits, have donated food stuffs, beds & bedding and have constructed bathrooms and a septic tank among other things. Currently, they have been focusing their efforts on the construction of a modern kitchen for the orphanage. This will improve hygiene in the handling of food for the children’s meals. The UNV volunteers in Harper have mobilized the USD$2200 needed through donation and the kithchen is due for completion at the end of August 2010.
- The United Youth Movement Against Violence (UYMAV)
- School Development Project – The UNV Support Unit has decided to support advocacy with a hollistic development focus in 2010. To this end the UNV office has decided to support the group’s school building development project in the Fendell Community in Paynesville just outside Monrovia. UYMAV saw the need to start the school because many of the children in the area were not attending school as the nearest school is quite some distance away.
The school is currently housed in a large shed with the outer walls and classroom dividers made out of traditional Liberian mats. UYMAV has already secured land for construction of a new school building. So far UNV has assisted their efforts by finding an architect who will design the school pro bono. However, funds will need to be raised to actually build the school.