Encouraging young volunteers to help UNICEF reach every child
Our UN Volunteers in the State of Palestine create a better world for everyone, while growing in their career to reach their potential
“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud,” said award winning cancer researcher Helen Dyer.
UNICEF takes pride in the young people who give their time and effort as UN Volunteers (UNVs). In UNICEF in the State of Palestine, there are over 10 UNVs providing their skills and experience to support the organization’s mission to realize the rights of every child. In turn, UNICEF invests in these youth by providing opportunities for them to gain experience and grow to reach their potential.
UNVs help promote the work of UNICEF and the spirit of volunteerism. Rawan Eliean is the newest UNV recruit in UNICEF in the State of Palestine, based in the Gaza Field Office. “I already gained lots of expertise and information that will help me to develop myself,” shared Rawan. “The first day I arrived at UNICEF, I was shocked by the amount of help it provides to children. It made me proud to be part of this,” she added.
Living in solidarity
While the majority of UNVs in UNICEF in the State of Palestine are nationals, there are also others from abroad. Gemma Fanjul, an international UNV from Spain is giving her time and contributing to UNICEF’s work. Leaving her home, family and friends behind, she is embracing a new life overseas, together with all the challenges that can bring. “I deeply believe that this effort brings an amazing opportunity to be part of change, growing personally and professionally. This place makes my heartbeat faster, full of enthusiasm and open to learn. In time, I am sure my heart will feel that Jerusalem is home,” shared Gemma.
Hearing about the UNV programme from a friend, Nanar Nakashian said “I immediately thought that it was a great opportunity to give back to the community, grow professionally and get introduced to the UN system.” The UNVs working with UNICEF perform many important tasks. Nanar’s work covers field monitoring activities for UNICEF supporting programmes to ensure accountability to affected populations.
Strengthening career opportunities
Volunteerism is an opportunity to grow, gain new experiences and develop your career. “I started as a national UNV with UNICEF four years ago, working on graphic design for in-house use in printing materials, videos and social media,” said Shihab Houshieh. As time went on a position opened up within UNICEF. “Based on my previous experience, I was given the opportunity to apply and now I am UNICEF –State of Palestine's resident graphic designer,” he adds.
Another former UNV, Tamer Daoudi became a Programme Assistant in UNICEF, State of Palestine. Tamer believes that volunteering had a huge impact on his work ethic and interactions with his colleagues. “When you start from the bottom up, you better comprehend the work each team member puts in to contribute to UNICEF’s mission for children,” shared Tamer.
UNICEF’s own Special Representative to the State of Palestine, Lucia Elmi, said “I started my career with UNICEF as a UNV 25 years ago, working hand in hand with UNVs from other organizations and from all walks of life. Today, I have the honor to give this opportunity to the UNVs of today for them to make change in the lives of children and become the next generation of leaders. To them, all my gratitude and respect.”
UNICEF, together with the UNV programme, encourages people to become volunteers.
“My advice for everyone is do not miss the opportunity to be part of UNICEF's amazing team where you can change people's lives for the best and develop a better version of yourself. If you are willing to learn, develop skills and contribute positively to the people around you then volunteering is for you,” shared Tamer. “Whether it’s paid or not, it doesn’t matter as long as you keep in mind of the contribution you bring to the table and the positive impact that will have on you on both personal and professional levels. You won’t regret it!”
Marking the International Youth Day on 12 August
Everyday, committed young people around the world create positive change in their communities. With resilience, resourcefulness and leadership, the world's youth contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Volunteering is only one of myriads ways that young people lead, and bring their skills and experience to create better future. Today, we join in celebrating all young people's efforts everywhere, as they remain one of our greatest hopes to achieve the SDGs and make this world a better place for all, ensuring no one is left behind.