European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

United Nations Volunteers – Volunteering for peace and development

A picture
© - YanLev
Are you interested in development, humanitarian action and peacekeeping? Why not become one of 8,000 UN volunteers helping to tackle development challenges worldwide?

UNV (United Nations Volunteers) is active in around 130 countries.


Can you apply?

To be eligible to be a UN Volunteer, you must be at least 25 years old and have:

  • a university degree or higher technical diploma
  • at least 2 years' working experience
  • good working knowledge of at least one of the three UNV working languages: English, French and Spanish
  • a strong commitment to the values and principles of volunteerism
  • the ability to work in a multi-cultural environment
  • the ability to adjust to difficult living conditions
  • strong interpersonal and organisational skills
  • prior volunteering and/or work experience in a developing country is an asset.


"Now I look back and feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve as a UN Volunteer with the GEF-SGP in Nicaragua. Helping local communities face challenges in their everyday lives through the implementation of projects determined by them is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to learn and gather lessons from community-level experiences. It also allows for the sharing of best practices among development aid actors, making an impact on a regional or global scale."
Antonia Cermak Terzian (Switzerland) collaborated as an UN Volunteer Intern in Nicaragua between February 2011 and February 2012.


How to apply?

If you meet all the requirements, go straight to the UNV registration form.  Bear in mind that you might not have a choice of duty station: this will depend on operational requirements, and you might not find out where you will be posted until after you have been recruited.

There is no way of knowing exactly how long you will have to wait between registering in the database and receiving a call to a possible volunteer opportunity. Registration in the database does not guarantee that you will receive an assignment as a UN Volunteer.


What are the main assignment conditions?

The vast majority of UNV assignments are based on 6-12 month renewable contracts.

UN Volunteers receive support during their assignment in several ways, e.g. through a monthly volunteer living allowance, annual leave, and medical insurance.


Finally, there are many ways for former UN Volunteers to keep in touch with each other and stay involved, to advocate for volunteerism for peace and development or mobilise others to volunteer.


Published: Thu, 14/03/2013 - 12:37

Tweet Button: 

Info for young people in the western balkans

Need expert help or advice?

Ask us!