Dispatch

28 February 2014

Volunteering Talent and Experience to Deliver for Women and Girls

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) signs Memorandum of Understanding with UNFPA


UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Kate Gilmore and UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming the long-standing development partnership between the two agencies. Photo credit: UNFPA

United Nations, New York – More than 300 United Nations Volunteers have supported UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, to deliver on its mandate in nearly 70 countries over the past seven years. The two agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming this long-standing development partnership.

“United Nations Volunteers (UNV) brings alive the best of global citizenship. It enables talent to travel. It empowers individuals, especially young people who want to make a difference,” said UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Kate Gilmore at the signing. “UNV is a vital partner to UNFPA and we are very excited to extend our partnership and collaboration through this agreement.”

UNV has mobilized specialized UN Volunteers who have supported UNFPA to deliver on its mandate for decades. Their contributions have been vital and wide-ranging.

“UN Volunteers have advanced gender equality, improved access to reproductive health care services, and improved quality of life,” said UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus. “This Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms the long-term development partnership between UNV and UNFPA and paves the way for increased engagement of UN Volunteers for development.”

In South Sudan, a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, UN Volunteers serving with UNFPA are enhancing crucial life-saving services by training midwives and providing midwifery services. Nearly 30 international UNV midwives have taken part in more than 700 capacity-building sessions with health care workers. In the past 18 months alone, they have reached more than 100,000 pregnant women at antenatal clinics, delivered more than 30,000 safe births, and given emergency obstetric and newborn care to more than 4,500 women who had suffered complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

As part of UNFPA’s goal to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health, UN Volunteers build the capacities of health service providers and those who train them. They also work within communities and are well-placed to support household surveys and data analysis for policy development and monitoring progress towards development goals. Through joint programming and a focus on inclusiveness, UN Volunteers help to foster gender equality and youth development to improve quality of life, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.

In particular, UNV and UNFPA share a commitment to reaching out to youth and bringing their voice to the table. Within the framework provided by this Memorandum of Understanding, the partners will be examining the potential for deploying UN Youth Volunteers in support of UNFPA development activities.

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide.