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Your guide to becoming an International UN Volunteer

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by Henrik Rydén
COO and Co-founder of Impactpool

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme brings global volunteerism to new dimensions. Impactpool has studied UNV’s strategic plan – and we are happy to share what we think are the types of volunteer assignments you might be considered for.

Volunteering with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program is a great opportunity to build, exercise and apply skills in the areas of peace, development, and human rights. UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Both organizations are reporting to the same executive board. The headquarters of UNV is located in Bonn, close to the river Rhine and with an impressive view of the neighboring city of Cologne.

UNV offers four main types of volunteer assignments, 1) international UN Volunteers; 2) National UN Volunteers; 3) UN Youth Volunteers and 4) UN Online Volunteers. 

How do I become an International UN Volunteer?

International UN Volunteers are mainly recruited through the UNV website, applicants go to this page and register their profiles in UNV’s global talent pool. International UN Volunteers serve outside their own country of nationality. UN Volunteers are recruited to fill positions detailed by respective descriptions of assignment drafted by the organizations hosting the volunteers. The legal foundation of the relationship between UNV and the UN Volunteer is set out in the Conditions of Service for International UN Volunteers. Volunteers are not considered staff members of the UN.
The demand for International UN Volunteers is driven by other UN organizations and peacekeeping missions requesting volunteers in support of their (in most cases) field missions. On average, UNV recruits about 2,000 new UN Volunteers yearly. 
International UN Volunteers are generally assigned for 6-12 months, often on extendable contracts. About 20 % of UN Volunteers with strong performance are deployed on other UNV assignments. An international UN Volunteer can serve for a maximum period of four years.

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