What is UNV?
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 UN 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.
Based in Bonn, Germany, UNV is active in around 130 countries. It is represented worldwide through the offices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and reports to the UNDP Executive Board.

What is UNV's mission?
Volunteering brings benefits to both society at large and the individual volunteer. It makes important contributions, economically as well as socially. It contributes to a more cohesive society by building trust and reciprocity among citizens.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers. It serves the causes of peace and development by enhancing opportunities for participation by all peoples. It is universal, inclusive and embraces volunteer action in all its diversity. It values free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity, which are the foundations of volunteerism.

Who is in charge?
Read about the UNV Executive Coordinator, Richard Dictus.

Who are UN Volunteers?
Some 7,500 qualified and experienced women and men of nearly 160 nationalities serving each year in developing countries as UN Volunteers. UN Volunteers have worked in about 130 countries. According to the Annual Report 2009, nearly 80 per cent are citizens of developing countries while the remaining 20 per cent come from the industrialized world. See the Volunteer Statistics.

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 130 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.

How does the programme operate?
It works in partnership with governments, UN Agencies, development banks and non-governmental and community-based organizations. The programmes within which UNV specialists serve are usually managed by governments; often there is technical input and supervision from one of the UN system's specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) or from the World Bank. At the request of some governments UNV itself acts as executing agent.

How is it funded?
Part of UNV's resources come from country and regional funds provided by UNDP. Other significant sources include the regular programme budgets of UN agencies, contributions from host governments, special purpose grants by donor governments, and the UNV Special Voluntary Fund. Contributions to UNV's Special Voluntary Fund and other funds exceed $17 million annually.

Am I eligible to be a UN Volunteer?
You should meet the following criteria before registering in the UNV database:
A university degree or higher technical diploma;
A minimum of two years of working experience;
Good working knowledge in at least one of the three UNV working languages: English, French and Spanish.
In addition, you should be able to demonstrate:
A strong commitment to the values and principles of volunteerism;
The ability to work in a multi-cultural environment;
The ability to adjust to difficult living conditions;
Strong interpersonal and organizational skills;
Prior volunteering and/or working experience in a developing country is an asset.

Is there an age limit for UN Volunteers?
The minimum age for UN volunteers is 25. There is no upper age limit.

How do I register to become a UN Volunteer?
You register through our web-based registration form which consists of two parts:
Part 1: You complete a short questionnaire. Upon submission, you receive a message asking you to confirm that you own the email address provided. To do so, click on the link included in the "Confirmation required" email.
Part 2: If you meet UNV's minimum requirements and have successfully confirmed your email address, you receive a login and password to access the full UNV registration form (i.e. information regarding your skills, education and experience).
Submission: Once you have filled in all the required fields, click on the "Submit" button to add your profile to the UNV database of candidates. You then receive an email with your registration number.
Both steps together can take between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the length of your experience and the speed of your internet connection.
Please note that we cannot process registrations received by email and/or postal mail.



  • I want to learn more about the UNV programme, what UN Volunteers do in the field and the volunteer recruitment policies. 
  • I wish to start registering in the UNV database of candidates
  • I have not yet completed my registration, i.e. I have not provided any detailed information on my educational qualification and work experiences.
  • I have completed both parts of the registration process and wish to update my profile and availability for UNV assignments.
  • I would like to know more about resources linked to volunteerism that can be used for campaigning, advocacy and networking
  • I want to volunteer over the Internet to provide online support to grassroot organizations, international NGOs, governments and United Nations agencies

More information on http://www.unv.org/about-us/faqs.html#15