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Joining the ranks of the one billion

"Volunteering is all about helping – it’s about making a difference, no matter how small." New to the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, 30 UN Youth Volunteers were in Bonn this week to attend the Assignment Preparation Training. 

The training was meant to inform, prepare, engage and make the volunteers better understand the role of UN Youth Volunteers in the context of the United Nations.

These 30 youth volunteers were part of UNV’s Full Funding programme. They left today for their funding countries, the Czech Republic, France and Switzerland. In just a matter of days, they will start their volunteer assignments in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Their enthusiasm and desire to make a difference to the world resonated throughout the induction training. 

Volunteering is all about helping – it’s about making a difference, no matter how small.

Before they took off from Bonn, Germany, home of UNV Headquarters and also their induction training, some of them shared a few words of why they were selected for their volunteer assignments.

Katia Andrea Grütter’s volunteer assignment is funded by Switzerland. She is assigned to Lao as UN Youth Volunteer in Communications and Aid Effectiveness with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “It was a combination of my academic background and previous work experience. I studied English Literature and International Law. I worked at the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC. This coupled with my social skills helped me get chosen for this assignment.â€

“My previous experience with the UN’s Democracy Fund in New York helped me get selected.†Funded by France, Clément Dubayle’s volunteer assignment takes him to Morocco as UN Youth Volunteer in Democratic Governance with UNDP. “I have tried to learn a little bit of Arabic so I can engage with the local community in Morocco. Only knowing French might not take me that far and I really want to work at the grassroots level. I am looking forward to learning more about the country of my assignment and making my volunteer work count.â€

Funded by Switzerland, Patricia Madeleine Ringger’s volunteer assignment takes her to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where she will be serving as UN Youth Volunteer in Protection with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “I think it’s pretty much my motivation that got me selected for this volunteer assignment. Additionally, I have project management experience in humanitarian aid work.â€

The Czech Republic funds Blanka Caletkova’s volunteer assignment. She goes to Mongolia as UN Youth Volunteer in Economic Development and Trade with UNDP. “I have been very passionate about economics and development. My bachelor’s was in economics and my master’s in development. I like how this assignment is focused on Mongolia, where what I have learnt can really make a difference.â€

Julie Astoul’s volunteer assignment is funded by France. She is going to the State of Palestine as UN Youth Volunteer in Reporting and Project Development with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “I know the cultural context of Jerusalem. I have already traveled to the area, also to Lebanon and Egypt. I know the Middle East and therefore I think it will be easy for me to adapt to the area of my assignment.â€

As they leave for their deployment to developing countries, their UN Youth Volunteer assignments are an opportunity to make direct contributions to support transformative change at the national and local levels. Upholding the values and global recognition of volunteering, and with a desire to make a difference, these 30 volunteers join the ranks of the billion around the world who make peace and sustainable development a reality.