Have you been thinking about becoming a United Nations Volunteer? Then you are thinking of a noble and beneficial deed. In this article, we will tell about what the UNV program is, where UN volunteers work, what they do, the requirements of becoming a UN volunteer, the benefits of becoming a UN volunteer, and how to apply to become one.
What is the United Nations Volunteer Program?
The United Nations Volunteer program is organized and overseen by the United Nations to use highly qualified, supported, and motivated volunteers to carry out works of peace and development around the world. The works of peace and development are better and clearly outlined in their 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-Being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequalities
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Where can United Nations volunteers work?
United nations volunteers have worked in more than 130 countries around the world. More so, tens of thousands of volunteers are currently serving online in more than 185 countries each year. However, there are some popular areas where volunteers are frequently needed:
- Latin America
- Australasia and
- The Caribbean
Typically UN volunteers can carry out assignments in 3 types of locations:
- UN volunteers can work online
- UN volunteers can work on-site in their home country, and
- UN volunteers can work abroad.
What can UN volunteers do?
In the UNV program, volunteers are generally assigned tasks according to their education and experience. For example, if you have an educational background in agricultural engineering, you may be shortlisted for assignments in the Central African Republic or in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
If you have experience working in Brazil, you can be deployed to work there as your experience makes you better for assignments there than someone who has never been to Brazil before.
If you are interested in online volunteering, there are teaching, translating, web development, research, arts and design, project management, and many more assignments available in the UNV program.
What are the requirements to do United Nations volunteer jobs?
All UN volunteering jobs need these prior requirements:
- The belief in the values of volunteerism
- Commitment to ethics and integrity
- Ability to adapt to new living conditions
- Strong communication, learning, and organisations skills
- Solutions-oriented spirit
- Ability to stick to the job and not give up before the contract expires
- Ability to work with multicultural teams
However, there are minimum requirements you must meet to be assigned to any of the United Nations volunteering roles.
UN volunteering requirements for onsite roles in your home country
To volunteer for onsite roles in your home country, you should:
- Have a university degree or a higher technical diploma or at least 2 years of relevant working experience. There are cases where some onsite un volunteering jobs have only required a secondary school education.
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be fluent in one of the UN working languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish)
- or the local language
UN online volunteering requirements
Generally, it is important to read the requirements of the role to get a detailed idea as to the requirements for online volunteering. However, as of minimum requirements of becoming a United Nations volunteer need you to:
- Have a university degree or a technical diploma or some relevant working experience in the relevant field
- Be able to carry out such online tasks as the role requires e.g. you may be able to instruct on some arts and design classes but can you do it online?
Requirements for UN volunteering for roles abroad
- You must possess a university degree or a higher technical diploma
- Be fluent in one of the UN working languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish)
- Be at least 25 years old
- Have a minimum of 2 years of work experience
More on UN online volunteering
Benefits of becoming a UN volunteer
As a UN Volunteer, you benefit from a wide range of opportunities.
- You will learn about different cultures both from team members and the place where you work
- Meet new people and expand your networks
- Study or perfect foreign languages
- Gain matchless professional and life experiences.
- You get the unbeatable opportunity to serve as a global citizen, providing solutions to people who need them most.
- UN Volunteers promote peace and development in communities around the globe while upholding the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations.
- Your international UN Volunteer assignment will make a lasting impact.
- It gives you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, to learn new approaches to tasks and problems, and operate in different environments.
- After volunteering and working abroad, you can be sure your curriculum vitae will stand out. It will give you skills like adaptability, thinking outside the box that Employers appreciate.
How much does a UN volunteer get paid?
United Nations volunteers do not get paid salaries. They are provided with allowances to ensure a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. These allowances should not be understood as compensation, reward, or wages. UN volunteers get:
- Pre-Assignment Grant. This is a one-time paid contribution to your expenses prior to your deployment like gathering documents requested, medical fees, etc.
- Settling-in, moving, and travel entitlements. This is paid to the volunteers who are far from home to help them travel to the duty station.
- Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA). This is a monthly basic living cost allowance that all national and international UN volunteers are entitled to, they and their families where applicable.
- Resettlement allowance. Upon completion of their service, volunteers are given this allowance to help them reintegrate into the society they left to go to or UN voluntary service.
- Well-Being Differential. This is an allowance given to UN volunteers who live in areas where the living standards are way below the allowed UN threshold.
Other benefits of UN volunteers
Annual leave: UN Volunteers are entitled to annual leave of the rate 2.5 working days per completed month of assignment.
Maternity leave: Female UN Volunteers are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave per pregnancy during their service as national UN Volunteers.
Paternity leave: A UN Volunteer with a contract of at least 3 months shall receive 10 working days of Paternity Leave for the birth of their recognized newborn child.
Learning and Training Leave: In every 12 months of consecutive UN volunteering service, the volunteers are entitled to a maximum of 10 working days of Learning and Training Leave.
Special leave: During exceptional cases of emergency or for humanitarian reasons, the UN volunteer may demand this leave for a time period as the UNV program may prescribe.
Medical and life insurance
Medical insurance: UN Volunteers and their families are covered by a medical insurance scheme for the duration of their service.
Post-Service Medical Coverage: Health insurance of UN Volunteers and their families extends one month after the last day of the national UN Volunteer Contract date.
Life Insurance: UN Volunteers are covered by life insurance for the duration of the assignment. In the event that a UN Volunteer dies during the UNV assignment, the designated beneficiaries will be entitled to receive the life insurance lump sum.
How do I apply for volunteer work?
You must complete all the following steps before your profile is considered for assignments.
After checking that you meet the minimum requirements, you are invited to register your profile in the UNV Global Talent Pool (see the link below). The registration process should take about 45 minutes. You can access your account at any time to add information and keep your profile up to date.
- First, submit some basic information to create an account in the UNV Global Talent Pool. You will receive an automated message with a link to verify your email address and activate your account.
- After you follow the link and activate your account, you will receive a second message with a link to your profile. Click on the MY PROFILE link to enter more information like skills, educational qualifications, and experience.
- After completing all the required fields, click on the SUBMIT MY PROFILE tab.
- You will receive an email confirming your successful registration. The email will include a registration number and other practical information for potential candidates.
Important points to note:
- You can create your profile in English, French, or Spanish. However, be aware that profiles in French or Spanish will be considered primarily for our assignments in French- or Spanish-speaking countries. If you are fluent in English, we recommend that you fill out the profile in English.
- Bear in mind that the details provided in your profile are the only source of information for UNV when initially identifying suitable candidates for assignments. It is in your best interest to complete the PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE section as thoroughly as possible, including describing the main tasks and responsibilities of past work in a clear manner and making full use of the space available.
- Make sure you enter and save all relevant information in each section as you complete your profile.
- You may copy and paste information from your electronic CV, but you can neither upload nor send your CV by email.
You can update your UNV profile at any time by logging in to the Volunteer Management Application Modules. You must access your profile at least once per year to keep it active.