What is UNV?
The United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV) is the United Nations organisation that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilisation of volunteers. The UNV was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1970. It is unique within the UN family and as an international volunteer undertaking. It is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works through UNDP's country offices around the world. In 2001, more than 5,000 UNV representing 160 nationalities carried out 5,400 assignments in 140 countries.
UNV in the Region
United Nations Volunteers were the first fielded in the region as early as 1973, almost as soon as the UNV programme was established. As the programme has developed and matures, along with the countries of the region, UN Volunteers are often the very first resource that countries seek to draw on in their partnership with UNDP. Often UNVs have a dual role to play, acting as both line professionals and trainer. From all over the globe, volunteers have served and continue to serve, giving some of their lives to the people of the South Pacific. UNVs assist governments to achieve their development goals by providing a variety of essential services; on-the-job training for national counterparts, facilitating community based activities based on the participatory approach, improving the lives of needy people.
It is in the spirit of volunteering that UNVs take back to their own countries perhaps a new skill or new ideas, increased confidence and deeper insights. Today, UNVs are to be found in twelve Pacific territories and account for 6% of the UNV Programme worldwide. For Samoa, the earliest UNV assignment began in September, 1976. UNVs have served in Samoa in the fields of Health, Education, Administration, Social Sciences, Agriculture, Technology, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Communications and Transport, Human Settlement and Construction. So far, more than 200 UNVs have served in the Samoa parish - Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.