United Nations Volunteers

Volunteering doesn't sound attractive or professional to you? This initiative will prove you wrong! The UN Volunteers programme offers a wealth of opportunities for highly skilled professionals and young talents to gain direct exposure to the UN's work and contribute to sustainable development.

UNVUN Volunteers supports peace and development through the promotion of volunteerism and the mobilization of volunteers worldwide. It hires professionals to work as UN Volunteers alongside UN staff for over 30 other other UN organisations, such as DPKOUN Department of Peacekeeping or UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme , in over 100 professional areas.

Besides being a plus for your CV,  [as UNV] you gain field experience, get to know other cultures and learn to live in unfamiliar circumstances.

Swiss UN Youth Volunteer, 2013

Types of opportunities

UNV specialists

UNV specialists - or simply UNVs - are professionals with several years of experience in their field of expertise who are selected from the UNVUN Volunteers database for specific assignments lasting from 3 months to 4 years.

UNVs receive a monthly allowance, medical insurance, and imbursement of travel and other costs.

Many current UN staff started off as UNVs, so a UNV assignment is considered an excellent entry point for qualified professionals without previous UN experience.

Next: UN Youth Volunteers
UN Youth Volunteers

The UN Youth Volunteer (UNYV) modality provides young graduates an opportunity to gain initial field experience with the UN during 6-12 months.

Similar to UNVUN Volunteers specialists, UNYVs receive a monthly allowance and other reimbursements.

Some UNYVUN Youth Volunteers positions are only open for candidates from specific countries or graduates of specific universities as they are funded by these entities.

The Swiss Confederation funds around 20 UNYV positions each year.

Next: Online Volunteering
Online volunteering

The UNV Online Volunteering Service allows motivated individuals to work for peace and development at a distance.

Assignments may comprise research, translations, project management, IT development, coaching and training, or other tasks in support of UN organisations, NGOs, governments, universities or other institutions.

They are part-time and can last between one week up to several months.

Upon completion, UN online volunteers receive a certificate of appreciation.

Next: Internships

UNVUN Volunteers offers a limited number of unpaid internships each year at its headquarters in Bonn.

Internships are designed to provide students interested in development cooperation and UNV with practical experience and direct exposure to UNV's work.

On mission as a UN Volunteer – a success story!

In the framework of cinfo's collaboration with the Swiss Government and UNVUN Volunteers aimed at attracting more Swiss professionals for UNV assignments, cinfo conducted a survey in 2014 that evaluates the effect of a first UNV assignment on career perspectives and further employment in international cooperation (IC).

The results are overwhelming: 2 years after their first mission as a UNV, 87% of Swiss UN Volunteers work in IC, with more than 30% in the UN. For this reason, Switzerland continues to fund UN Youth Volunteer assignments and outreach activities for UNV specialists through cinfo.

Read the full report or a summary here.

Are you Swiss?

cinfo offers additional information and services exclusively for Swiss nationals.

A glimpse of Swiss nationals' work at UNV

Geraldine Becchi is working as a Partnership Development Specialist at UNV. 

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