Welcome to UNV Zimbabwe
‘And so the end is near…’ A little less than a year ago we all embarked on the adventure and opportunity of a lifetime, as UNV Interns posted all over the world. I’m sure we have all had our ups and our downs and as my contract draws to a close I have been reflecting on some of my own highlights and achievements that the past 12 months have brought. As a Documentation and Report Writing Officer with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Zimbabwe I have acquired a passion for working on Millennium Development Goal 5 – improving maternal mortality and the thirst for knowledge on the issue. This is something that I will surely take away from this experience and will hopefully continue to work in this area. So it is with great appreciation and fond memories that I recall one of my highlights…
Emma Mulhern with the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin,
In late November 2012 young people from around the African continent who are leaders, influencers and actors in the field of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and the issue of maternal mortality in their respective countries and beyond came together at a workshop entitled ‘Young People & Social Media Online Campaign for the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA)’, held by the UNFPA Africa Regional Office. Simultaneously, selected young people also participated in and contributed to the workshop from their homes around Africa via the ‘Live Minutes’ on line platform.
UNFPA and the African Union Commission officially launched CARMMA in May 2009 in recognition of the daunting challenge of reducing maternal mortality in African countries by 75 per cent compared to figures for 1990, by 2015, as recommended in Millennium Development Goal 5. Over 287,000 women die each year globally from pregnancy and delivery-related complications, more than half of these deaths occur in Africa. This workshop sought to create a mechanism to engage young people with CARMMA.
UN Establishes Trust Fund to Support Youth Volunteerism
New York and Bonn:
A dedicated trust fund has been set up by the United Nations to boost youth volunteerism and harness the energy of young people around the world to contribute to achieving development goals while enhancing their own lives.
Announced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the new youth trust fund is an important milestone in developing the inspirational UN Youth Volunteers Programme.
The announcement comes on the first anniversary of the launch by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his Five-Year Action Agenda which includes a specific measure to “create a UN youth volunteers programme under the umbrella of UN Volunteers.”
Long-supported by the UN system, volunteerism is widely recognized as a powerful means of transforming the pace and nature of development and draws upon the inherent core values of self-help, solidarity and social cohesion.
“Through volunteering, young people gain a strong sense of civic engagement to bring about transformational change in their communities,” “Youth participation and volunteering are critical for achieving sustainable human development and UNDP will continue to attach high importance to the youth agenda, including through the UN Youth Volunteers Programme,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said.
The trust fund will provide the financial basis for the further design and implementation of the youth volunteering modality, which is expected to be launched later this year and will ultimately each year involve thousands of young people supporting peace and development activities worldwide.
It will also enable UNV to support youth volunteering initiatives which directly enhance the engagement of youth in voluntary activities and strengthen the capacity of governments to develop their own national and regional youth volunteer schemes.
“We are looking for an initial contribution of at least five million dollars for the design and roll out of the programme including the youth volunteer modality. In this regard, we welcome the commitment of 1.5 million dollars from the Government of Germany as the first to support youth volunteering through the trust fund. We look forward to building on further support from other development partners as the programme expands and will require more financial resources. This will enable us to reach as many youth around the world as possible”, said UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus.
As part of its ongoing support to youth volunteering, UNV is currently deploying 87 international youth volunteers to 50 developing countries. This initiative is supported by the governments of Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland and with foundations or universities in the Republic of Korea, Japan and Spain and it calls on other donors to join the trust fund.
New UNV Executive Coordinator
Bonn, Germany: On 2 January 2013, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme welcomes incoming Executive Coordinator Mr. Richard Dictus, appointed by the UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark on 16 October 2012. He succeeds the former UNV Executive Coordinator, Ms. Flavia Pansieri.
Richard is joining UNV from Malawi, where he has served as UN Resident Coordinator / UNDP Resident Representative since 2009. He is bringing over 25 years of experience, in increasingly responsible positions, with various agencies in the United Nations system.
His own achievements notwithstanding, UNV’s incoming Executive Coordinator seems impressed by the organization he will now head, stating recently, “I am a bit in awe of the organization that I am joining. UNV has 7,300 UN Volunteers at the forefront of peace and development in some of the most difficult working environments in the world. More than 150 top professionals support them from the UNV headquarters in Bonn, offices in Tokyo and New York and Field Units in 86 countries across the globe.”
In Malawi, Richard gained plenty of firsthand experience with UN Volunteers, their services and their various areas of expertise. There, the largest contingent of UN Volunteers consists of more than 50 UNV Doctors placed in district and central hospitals to help improve the health care of Malawians and transfer knowledge and skills to Malawian doctors. In his editorial in UNV Malawi’s August newsletter, he wrote about how UNV Doctors “…are saving lives… across the country and transmitting the volunteer spirit for the sustainable development of the country.”
In May, Richard presided over the handover of medical equipment, donated by a hospital in Germany through the initiative of one of the UNV Doctors, to the Intensive Care Unit of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. “The doctor appealed to her friends and well-wishers in Germany for the equipment, having noticed acute lack of basic medical equipment especially in the Intensive Care Unit,” he said. “During the handover ceremony, it was touching to see a young boy… being treated using one of the donated ventilators.”
In his editorial, Richard also commended the role UN Volunteers in Malawi are playing to combat climate change. “UN Volunteers mobilized communities in seven disaster prone districts to plant… over 70,000 trees. Additionally, rainwater harvesting dams were constructed and river gauge stations were established to prevent flooding.”
Before Malawi, Richard worked with the United Nations in Yemen, Sudan, Lesotho, Bangladesh, Pakistan, UNDP Headquarters in New York, and Fiji.
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