United Nations Volunteers


The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organisation 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 mobilising an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UNV volunteers, throughout the world.

UNV and Volunteerism in China


UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Mr Ahmad Alhendawi (front middle) with Mr. Patrick Haverman, UNDP China Deputy Country Director (rear, third from left), UNV China Field Unit staff as well as serving national UN Volunteers during the UN Youth Envoy’s visit to Beijing (UNV China, 2016)

UNV began its operations in China in 1981 in support of the UN system. Under the administration of UNDP, it has been contributing to development results through volunteerism. As of today over 250 international and national UN Volunteers have served in United Nations programmes in China, and nearly 200 Chinese volunteers have supported poverty alleviation, micro finance, environmental protection, cultural heritage protection, HIV and AIDS prevention, migration and NGO development in over 35 countries as international UN Volunteers.

Volunteerism is embedded in traditional Chinese culture. With a strong emphasis on family and community, traditional Chinese culture has a far-reaching influence on volunteers. Ancient Chinese philosophers from the time of Mencius in the 4th century BC advocated ideas of “benevolence”, “neighbourhood” and “social ideals”. There is a direct link between these and the concepts of modern volunteerism. After the founding of the PRC in 1949, the ideas of “serving the people” and “learning from Lei Feng and doing good deeds” were precursors to the idea of modern volunteerism. With government support volunteerism is steadily growing and The 2008 Beijing Olympics were a proud recognition of the spirit of public service in China, mobilising more than 1.7 million volunteers to ensure the games ran smoothly.

Moving into the second decade of the 21st century, China faces new opportunities for greater social and economic development. As volunteerism continues to grow in popularity and efficacy, UNV will continue to play what it hopes will be an ever-increasing role in China’s development.

UNV Advocacy and Events


Participants at the 2015 UNV-Beijing Volunteer Federation International Volunteer Service Exchange Conference (Beijing Volunteer Federation, 2015)

UNV China has been utilizing social media platforms such as Weibo to increase public awareness about the contribution of volunteers to peace and social development, calling for aspiring action to volunteerism through the promotion of national UN Volunteer opportunities, as well as of  project cooperation and events relevant to  the work of the UN Volunteers China Country Office. For more information, please visit our official Weibo Page.

The International Volunteer Service Exchange Conference was held by UNV  and the Beijing Volunteer Service Federation at the China National Convention Center from October 12th-13th 2015. The conference convened 95 participants from 27 countries on all five continents. It was the first multilateral international conference in recent history on volunteer service in and from middle-income countries. The conference also provided an opportunity to explore China's international strategic role and foreign aid, and represents a significant step for the development of international and Chinese volunteering.

UNV Project Cooperation


Signing ceremony for the Project of Strengthening Beijing Voluntary Service Development through Civic Participation and Regional and International Cooperation (UNV China, 2012)

In China, UNV (administered by UNDP) is the key UN organisation working on volunteerism for development.  As a member of the UN China Sub-Group on Youth, it liaises with other UN agencies to advance youth development in China. In partnership with the Beijing Municipal Government, UNV China also played a key role in training over 1.5 million sport-for-development event management volunteers during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

UNV/UNDP China has also implemented 2 volunteer infrastructure capacity-building projects with the Beijing and Shanghai Municipal Governments. As an example: Oone component of the Umbrella Programme on Strengthening Civic Engagement and Social Innovations through Volunteerism for Development in China initiated in 2011, Project of Strengthening Beijing Voluntary Service Development through Civic Participation and Regional and International Cooperation is a cooperation between the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE), Beijing Youth League (BYL), Beijing Volunteer Service Federation (BVF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV).

The overall aim of this project is to improve the volunteer infrastructure and volunteer management capacity in Beijing to promote the development of volunteerism in Beijing towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the goal of the Chinese Government to eliminate poverty and strengthen a moderately well-off (Xiao Kang) Society. For more information please download the BVF Project final report.

Serving as an International Volunteer Specialist


International UN Volunteer Ms. Liu Fengwei (right) before departing to begin her assignment at WFP Myanmar. With Mrs. Zhang Xiaodan, UNV China Country Programme Assistant (UNV China, 2016)

International UNV volunteers serve in countries other than their own. They are recruited for specialised inputs to development programmes, and increasingly, in the areas of peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and UN-supported electoral processes.

The UNV programme maintains a roster of candidates with relevant experience in these sectors. It covers more than 100 professional categories including, for example, programme/project development, administration, communications, community development, demobilisation and reintegration, disaster prevention, humanitarian and civil affairs, engineering, environment, HIV/AIDS, medicine, human rights, logistics and election support.    

                                                                                                                                                                                                       For more information please visit: http://www.unv.org/how-to-volunteer

What is provided to a International UN Volunteer?

  • Settling-in-Grant calculated on the duration of assignment which is paid at the beginning of the assignment;
  • Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) intended to cover basic living expenses, which is paid each month;
  • Travel on appointment and at the end of assignment, if different than home location;
  • Life, health and permanent disability insurance;
    Annual leave;
  • Resettlement allowance calculated based on the duration of assignment which is paid upon satisfactory completion of the assignment.

Requirements

  • University degree or higher technical diplomas;
  • Several years of relevant working experience;
  • At least age 25 (no maximum age limit);
  • Good working knowledge in at least one of the three working UN languages: English, French and Spanish;
  • Strong commitment to values and principles of volunteerism;
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment;
  • Ability to adjust in difficult living conditions;
  • Strong interpersonal and organisational skills;
  • Prior volunteering and/or working experience in a developing country is an asset.

UNDP Deputy Country Director Patrick Haverman (front, 4th from left), UNV Country Programme Officer Eirene Chen (front, 3rd from right) and UNV China Country Programme Assistant Zhang Xiaodan (front, 2rd from left) at UNV China Retreat with UN Volunteers (UNV China, 2013)

Serving as a National UN Volunteer Specialist


National UNVs and UN staff celebrate 2015 International Volunteering Day in Beijing (UNV China, 2015)

National UN Volunteers are Chinese nationals (including Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR permanent residents) who serve inside mainland China. They are recruited for specialised inputs to development programmes administered by UN and partner Chinese Government agencies in China. The UNV programme  recruits candidates with relevant experience in these sectors locally. Popular assignment categories include programme/project development, administration, communications, community development, education, environmental protection, disaster prevention, public health, HIV/AIDS and poverty reduction.


What is provided to a national UN volunteer?

  • Settling-in-Grant calculated on the duration of assignment which is paid at the beginning of the assignment;
  • Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) intended to cover basic living expenses, which is paid each month;
  • Travel on appointment and at the end of assignment, if different than home location;
  • Life, health and permanent disability insurance;
  • Annual leave;
  • Resettlement allowance calculated based on the duration of assignment which is paid upon satisfactory completion of the assignment.

Requirements

  • A university degree or higher technical diplomas in a relevant field;
  • 2 years of relevant working experience;
  • At least age 22 (no maximum age limit);
  • Good working knowledge of both English and Mandarin Chinese,
  • Strong commitment to values and principles of volunteerism;
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment;
  • Ability to adjust in difficult living conditions;
  • Strong interpersonal and organisational skills;
  • Prior volunteering and/or working experience in a developing country is an asset.

UN Youth University Volunteers


Larissa Ho Ching Tang, on assignment at UNFPA Cambodia, was among the first group of Hong Kong youth to serve as international UN University Volunteers (UNV Cambodia, 2015)

The UN Youth Volunteers Programme is a new initiative which aims to facilitate the engagement of university students in global peace and sustainable human development through volunteerism, bringing the voice of youth into the development discourse and helping young people to realize their full social, economic and human potential. UN Youth University Volunteers contribute in a meaningful way to the work of the United Nations, supporting field offices and headquarters on a range of programmes and projects related to food security, peacebuilding, women’s rights, climate change adaptation, and other global issues.

Since 2004, 67 student volunteers from Japan and 277 student volunteers from Spain have participated.Since 2015, 23 student volunteers from Hong Kong SAR have served on 6-month assignments throughout SE Asia.

For more information about UNV HongKong Universities Volunteer Programme, please visit http://www.avs.org.hk/en/unv

Key Points:                                         

  • 6-month assignments for undergraduate students and 12-month assignments for graduate students.
  • UN Youth University Volunteers are aged 18 to 29.
  • One partner university in a country acts as a focal point, recruiting students from their own institution, as well as from a range of other universities, and providing pre-departure training.
  • Assignments take place in UN programme countries and at headquarters and UN Youth University Volunteers are hosted by UN entities.
  • Specific posts are identified in consultation with various UN agencies within the frameworks of the UNDAF in a given country and UNV’s Strategic Framework 2014-2017.
  • UN Youth Volunteers engage in support, knowledge management, communications, programme support and other activities, gaining valuable work skills in a UN setting.

UNV China Country Programme Officer Eirene Chen (front, 2nd from right) at the 2015 Launch of the UNV-Hong Kong Universities Volunteer Programme. Also pictured (front, left to right): Ms Helen Liu, Chairman of Hong Kong Volunteers Association; Ms Daniela Bosioc, UNV Field Unit Capacity Building Specialist; Ms Florence Hui, Undersecretary of the Home Affairs Bureau at the Government of Hong Kong SAR; Mr JP Lee, Chairman of the Agency for Volunteer Service; Ms Flora Chung; CEO of the Agency for Volunteer Service (UNV China, 2015)

Online Volunteers


“Being able to make use of the talents of UNV on-line proofreaders has been crucial in ensuring that our team is able to deliver high-quality policy reports in a timely way. We really appreciate the support!” —Ms. Samantha Anderson, UNDP Senior Adviser (UNV China, 2016)

UNV’s Online Volunteering service connects development organizations and volunteers over the Internet and supports their effective online collaboration. It gives development organizations access to a broader pool of knowledge and resources to enhance their capacities, while it offers individuals worldwide additional opportunities to volunteer for development and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

If you are interested in volunteering online, your first stop should be UNV's Online Volunteering service at http://www.onlinevolunteering.org

The Online Volunteering service has enabled more than 1,000 non-profit development organisations (including CSOs, government institutions, academic institutions and United Nations agencies) to benefit from the support of more than 12,000 individuals from 182 countries (60% women, 40% from developing countries in 2007) who:

  • Provide technical expertise (e.g. advice on waste disposal, contract drafting)
  • Support project and resources management (e.g. project planning, volunteer management)
  • Contribute to knowledge management (e.g. data collection, database development)
  • Facilitate communication and networking (e.g. newsletters production and translation,  moderation of online discussion groups)

There have been 25 organizations based in China, collaborating with 1981  online volunteers to enhance development work in China.

UNV Snapshots

UNV Executive Coordinator- Mission to China 2014
Download Documents
Contact UNV in China

Phone: +8610 85320800
Email: unv.china@undp.org 
Fax: +8610 85320900

Address:
No.2 LiangMaHe NanLu
100600,Beijing,China

Contact UNDP in China

Phone: +8610 85320800
Email: registry.cn@undp.org
Fax: +8610 85320900

Address:
No.2 LiangMaHe NanLu
100600,Beijing,China