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UN Volunteer Opportunities 2021
Become an international UN Volunteer
You can contribute your time, skills and knowledge through volunteering with the UN. This is an opportunity to create a positive impact and be a significant force for achieving peace and development. Make a difference to the lives of many!
Volunteer abroad with the UN
The first step to volunteer abroad with the UN is to determine whether you meet the minimum requirements (see below). If this is the case, register your profile in our Global Talent Pool. Profiles from the Talent Pool are then matched with assignments offered by UN partner agencies. Approximately 2,000 assignments become available per year. Most assignments are filled through the Global Talent Pool without being advertised. Only special calls for assignments in highly specialized areas or in high demand are advertised via this website (scroll down the page.)
Why UN volunteer
As an international UN Volunteer, you will learn about different cultures, expand your networks, study or perfect foreign languages and gain matchless professional and life experiences.
Volunteering abroad is an unbeatable opportunity to serve as a global citizen. International UN Volunteers promote peace and development in communities around the globe, while upholding the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations.
International UN Volunteers come from 160 countries, representing many cultures and backgrounds. They bring a wide variety of perspectives and approaches which lends a dynamism to the experience.
Your international UN Volunteer assignment will make a lasting impact. It can create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate results of your efforts – both for the people you serve and yourself.
Why volunteer abroad?
As an international UN Volunteer, you will learn about different cultures, expand your networks, study or perfect foreign languages and gain matchless professional and life experiences. Working in another country gives you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, to learn new approaches to tasks and problems and to operate in different environments.
You will enter the singular domain of global citizenship. Facing challenges together with community members and fellow United Nations workers often creates life-long bonds.
After working in a foreign country, you can be sure your curriculum vitae will stand out. Employers appreciate the ability to adapt, to think outside the box and to embrace diversity. The enriched professional and life experiences gained through volunteering will not go unnoticed.
Volunteering abroad is an unparalleled opportunity to do something meaningful and to support peace and development initiatives in countries that need them most. And by giving back you will gain an incredible sense of fulfilment, which will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
International UN Volunteers support local volunteer initiatives, strengthen community capacities, foster ownership and sustainability of development activities and contribute toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
You will work actively with United Nations development and peacekeeping partners and within communities, responding to development priorities and needs in countries facing poverty and socio-economic challenges, humanitarian crises, conflict and post-conflict situations and those of fragile peace. Through your expertise, you will enable the effective delivery of programmes and mandates of partner United Nations entities.
A university degree or higher technical diploma and at least two years of relevant work experience are among the minimum requirements to volunteer abroad with the UN.
Requests for assignments come from more than 140 countries and require a wide range of professional skills and competencies. We mobilize international UN Volunteers at the request of United Nations partner agencies to support their peace and development programmes.
The minimum requirements to serve as an international UN Volunteer are:
- 25 years old and older (no upper age limit)
- university degree or higher technical diploma
- at least two years of relevant work experience in a professional background
- good working knowledge of at least one of UNV’s three working languages: English, French or Spanish
- commitment to the values and principles of volunteerism
- ability to work in a multicultural environment
- willingness to work with people and local organizations to draw upon the synergies between expert solutions and local knowledge
- ability to adjust in difficult living conditions and sometimes remote locations
- strong interpersonal and organizational skills
- prior volunteering and/or working experience in a developing country is an asset
When assignments arise, we search in the Global Talent Pool for profiles that match the requirements of the job. Matching candidates are contacted and given the specific details of the assignment, after which they can confirm their interest and availability. A short-list of available candidates is drawn up and a selection process follows.
International UN Volunteers are entitled to certain allowances so they can sustain a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. Allowances are in no way to be understood as a reward or salary in exchange for the volunteer work. Below is a summary of the Conditions of Service.
Duration of the assignment
International UN Volunteer assignments are usually an initial contract of 6 to 12 months, sometimes with a possibility to extend for one to two years. Short-term assignments of three months or less are also requested from time to time by our partners.
- A person younger than the United Nations retirement age may serve for a maximum of four years under the international UN Volunteer modality, irrespective of the time served under other UN Volunteer modalities.
- If ten years have lapsed since completion of the last international UN Volunteer assignment, a person may serve again (once) for another maximum of four years.
- Those older than the United Nations retirement age and retired United Nations staff do not face any maximum service restrictions.
The purpose of allowances is to enable international UN Volunteers to sustain a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. The allowances are in no way to be understood as a compensation, reward or salary in exchange for the volunteer work.
Allowances provided are:
- Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA): a monthly allowance intended to cover basic living expenses (this is not a salary)
- Travel expenses: for travel to duty station upon appointment and for repatriation at the end of the assignment
- Settling-in-grant: a grant calculated on the duration of assignment, paid at the beginning of the assignment
- Insurances: life, health and permanent disability insurance.
- Annual leave
- Resettlement allowance: calculated based on the duration of assignment, paid upon satisfactory completion of the assignment.
Living conditions vary from stable environments to very changing and dynamic ones. Be aware that many UN Volunteers work in remote, isolated duty stations where basic comforts may be limited. Many other UN Volunteers work under routine conditions, such as capital cities, with all modern conveniences available. Our assignments are categorized as “family” or “non-family” duty stations, depending on the nature of the assignment and the security context.
IMPORTANT: UNV, as part of the United Nations System, has a no-tolerance policy towards Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA). For this reason, we adhere to all policies, procedures and training of the United Nations on The Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). UNV also has a mandatory e-learning course for all volunteers to be taken pre-deployment, whether at Headquarters or at other duty stations, on our e-learning platform. This e-learning course is composed of a set of lessons designed to raise awareness about SEA, become familiar with a range of measures to combat SEA, understand the impact on victims and the consequences for UN Personnel who commit Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.