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The United Nations Volunteers programme

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the volunteer arm of the United Nations. Created by the UN General Assembly in 1970 to serve as an operational partner in development cooperation at the request of UN member states, it mobilizes qualified UNV volunteers and encourages people to become active in volunteering in their countries. It is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works through UNDP's country offices around the world.

Who are the UNV volunteers?
Some 7,000 qualified and experienced women and men of nearly 160 nationalities serve each year in developing countries as UNV volunteers. Since 1971, some 30,000 UNV volunteers have worked in about 140 countries. Currently, nearly 70 per cent are citizens of developing countries while the remaining 30 per cent come from the industrialized world.

What do they do?
They work in technical cooperation with governments, with community-based initiatives, in humanitarian relief and rehabilitation and in support of human rights, electoral and peace-building processes. They are professionals who work on a peer basis. They listen and discuss; teach and train; encourage and facilitate. Volunteers also share and exchange ideas, skills and experience.

In which sectors do they work?
The UNV programme involves a wide spread of sectors: it maintains a roster covering 115 professional categories. Agriculture, health and education feature prominently, as do human rights promotion, information and communication technology, community development, vocational training, industry and population.

Where are they working?
Over the years, they have served in about 140 countries. Today 40 per cent are at work in Africa, 26 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, and 15 per cent in Central and Eastern Europe; the remainder are to be found in the Arab States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Thirty per cent serve in the world's poorest nations -- the least developed. Half work outside capital cities, frequently in remote towns and villages. This is in response to expressed needs, and it reflects the commitment which volunteers bring. Included here are the field workers serving at the grassroots level in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. These are practitioners with excellent track records in village-level community work; they exchange skills and knowledge among countries of those regions.

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