United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme

 A girl from Gaza participating in the activities organized during the renovation of a playground at the Jabalia Co-ed School for Deaf Children in Gaza

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development. Volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation.

UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UNV volunteers, throughout the world. UNV embraces volunteerism as universal and inclusive, and recognizes volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.

UNV in the occupied Palestinian territory

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, with its headquarters in Bonn, Germany, is represented around the world through the UNV Field Units that are incorporated into the UNDP country offices. In the occupied Palestinian territory, the first Field Unit was established in 1994. It is based in East Jerusalem and hosted by UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. Since its inception, UNV in the occupied Palestinian territory has been instrumental in responding to the needs and encouraging the enhancement of the Palestinian society. By contributing their skills and knowledge, national and international UN Volunteers have helped the capacities of many government ministries as well as non-governmental organizations. Contemporaneously, UN Volunteers have encouraged the spirit of volunteerism throughout the occupied Palestinian territory. UNV programme has also been present to provide critical assistance during times of emergency and adversity.

Over the years, more than 500 international and national UN Volunteers have joined efforts to improve Palestinian communities, many of which are in great need of rehabilitation. In addition, UNV has given fair opportunity for both women and men to contribute their talents for the betterment of the Palestinian society.

Up to date, about 30 UN Volunteers are assigned in all regions of the occupied Palestinian territory – East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – and with a variety of UN entities and governmental authorities. The UNV areas of interventions in the occupied Palestinians mainly revolve around institutional capacity development, youth and women empowerment, peace building and social cohesion, humanitarian relief, delivery basic services, working towards poverty reduction, community resilience, environmental challenges and climate. Approximately 20 of them are national UN Volunteers.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in the occupied Palestinian territory is grounded in the notion of “Al-Auneh” or “Assistance”. “Al-Auneh” is the popular shape of the voluntary work. It expresses itself through the shapes of social solidarity which still extensively exist particularly in the Palestinian countryside, refugee camps and poor quarters of the towns.