Volunteering as a lifestyle

Posted December 5, 2021

Photo: Alen Kuspanov

My name is Alen, I am 32 years old and I am a national UN Volunteer in Kazakhstan.

I have been volunteering since I was in school and recall how I organized community works and tree planting at school, participated in plogging.

Later jointly with friends I started visiting orphanages to arrange various activities for children. We have a tradition - every new year, my friends and I organize a baking fair and gather money to buy goods for children in orphanages and arrange performances for them.

I am also fond animals and actively support shelters for homeless pets. Unfortunately, such shelters are not government-funded and exist thanks to the support of individuals. Recently, together with my colleagues from the UN, we have built dog kennels, cleaned the snow, and purchased food for the dogs in one of the shelters.

Volunteering is my way of life. Since 2011, I have been donating blood free of charge and have already 33 blood donations, 450 ml each on my account. Considering that there are only 4-5 liters of blood in an adult's body, we can say that I have donated more blood than I have 😊.

I try to take every opportunity to participate in big events as a volunteer. So, at the 7th Asian Winter Games, which took place in Kazakhstan in 2011, I helped with guiding and accompanying the guests of the event, escorted journalists to press centers.

In 2013, I was lucky to become a volunteer and trainer for the Y-PEER youth peer education network (literally "young - peer"), developed by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). Its purpose is to become a platform for the exchange of useful information and knowledge in the field of reproductive health and methods of preventing unplanned pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections among young people. In addition, Y-PEER provides trainings on gender equality, volunteering and leadership. After two years of work in this structure, I became its coordinator in Almaty  city and two years later I became a coordinator throughout Kazakhstan.

Since 2017, I have been working as a national volunteer in UNDP Kazakhstan project on achieving the 7th Sustainable Development Goal "Affordable and Clean Energy". I am glad to make my contribution to this important project, because I believe that, given the current situation with climate change and its impact on humans, the future definitely belongs to the development of alternative energy.

This year, a competition was held in Kazakhstan to determine the best volunteers. With 10 years of experience in volunteering activities, I decided to take part in it and got lucky. I and 14 other volunteers have been chosen among 180 candidates to promote the interests of Kazakhstan at the international level. The winners had the opportunity to visit Baku, Istanbul and Omsk for building partnership relations with various organizations.

Photo: Alen Kuspanov In Baku Alen visited the Institute of Vegetable Growing @teti.az, where volunteers, together with employees, are engaged in the selection of vegetables, with all the prospects for building a career as agronomists or scientists-breeders

I was lucky to visit Baku and visit a number of organizations where volunteering plays an important role. Among them, for example, the Institute of Vegetable Growing @teti.az, where volunteers, together with employees, are engaged in the selection of vegetables, with all the prospects for building a career as agronomists or scientists-breeders; DOST Center @dost.agentliyi, @konullu.dost, where volunteers and citizens use services in the field of labor, employment and social protection; and the Baku Youth Center @bakuyouthcenter, which provides opportunities for young people to develop and spend their leisure time.

On the eve of the International Volunteer Day on December 2, the award ceremony for the best volunteers took place in Pavlodar, where Alen won in the nomination "Outstanding UN Support by UN Volunteers".

UN Volunteers celebrate their 50th anniversary this year! On the eve of the International Volunteer Day on December 2, the award ceremony for the best volunteers took place in Pavlodar, where I won in the nomination "Outstanding UN Support by UN Volunteers".

I like helping people, animals, nature - I get a satisfaction from this. I think everyone can find some time for volunteering activity.