UN Volunteers


United Nations Volunteers (UNV) is the nodal UN agency that contributes to peace and development worldwide through volunteerism. UNV believes in ‘Volunteerism for Development’. The concept of volunteerism for development centers on optimizing volunteerism’s impact on peace and development. Achieving this, requires the cooperation and commitment of the public sector, civil society and the private sector with support from the United Nations system and the world community. Individual citizens also have an important role to play through volunteering. Every day, individuals are engaged in development initiatives through volunteer actions, both large and small, in an effort to improve conditions for others and themselves. Volunteerism by many millions of people is critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Our Goal

UNV is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development, and by the idea that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards peace and development. Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and in transforming the pace and nature of development

Stories of Change

  • Empowering Grassroots Governance

    In the village of Kamagada, young men and women toil in the sun on a water system that will help beat erosion and fertilize the land. These and similar projects in rural Orissa help empower the poor to take more ownership over achieving the Millennium Development Goals. more

  • Chakradhar Patra has become a crucial link between the displaced families and the district officials

    Volunteering to Help Resettle Families: A Young Man Supports Displaced

    Twenty-six-year-old Chakradhar Patra from Mayurbhani in Orissa supports people who have been displaced for their villages due to development projects such as dams, new upcoming industries and railways. more

Projects and Initiatives

International Year of Volunteers (IYV) +10 India Campaign

2001 was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Volunteers. The year was dedicated to increasing awareness of the achievements and further potential of volunteerism for economic and social development. The 2008 resolution reaffirms the significance of volunteerism for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and calls for the marking of the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers or 'IYV+10' in 2011. more

In the News

State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2011

The State of the World’s Volunteerism Report promotes a better understanding of volunteerism. It demonstrates the universality, scope and reach of volunteerism along with new trends in the twenty-first century. The report examines important contributions in diverse fields such as sustainable livelihoods, social inclusion, social cohesion and disaster risk reduction. By suggesting how volunteerism can be taken forward, the SWVR also provides an alternative vision of a better society.

Volunteering in India: Contexts, Perspectives and Discourses

The publication presents the viewpoints and experiences of eminent people and volunteers from different disciplines on the ethos, tradition and diversity of volunteering in the Indian context. It reflects on the challenges and opportunities to volunteering such as changing social structures and new complexities in the social structure; increasing individualization; increasing episodic volunteering; motivations to volunteering, especially amongst youth; and opportunities to volunteering due to conflicts in different parts of the society and growing inequalities.

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Volunteering – The Life Skill for Change

The Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) Institute for Vocational Education & Training Shillong, with support from the Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Foundation and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) has launched a three–month academic programme on Volunteerism. 

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