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UN Volunteering

Hundreds of Irish people have volunteered with the United Nations over the past few years, working with UN agencies or on humanitarian response and peacekeeping missions.  Irish Aid supports UNV in its work of deploying volunteers, promoting volunteerism, testing new and innovative approaches to volunteering as well as undertaking research and analysis.

A visit from the UNDP Associate Administrator, Rebecca Grynspan to UNDP Zambia

What you can do

Become a UNV Volunteer Specialist

UNV maintains a database of candidates interested in volunteering which it uses to fill volunteer positions with UN agencies in developing countries. Irish Aid funds a number of these Specialist positions.

Call for applicants

With support from Irish Aid, UNV will deploy a UN Volunteer in November 2017, the deadline for applications is August 4th:

Assignment Host Agency Country
Programme Specialist Youth and Gender UNFPA Sierra Leone

Duration of Volunteer Post and Training: UN Volunteers are deployed to a UN office in a regional or developing country office for a period of 12 months.

Conditions: Volunteers are provided with return air-tickets, a volunteer living allowance and life and health insurance for the duration of their placement. More information is available in the UNV Conditions of Service handbook and specific Descriptions of Assignment.


To be considered for the UN Volunteer Programme all candidates must meet the following general requirements, and should refer to the Descriptions of Assignment (DoA) in the links above for more specific requirements:

Eligible nationalities: Irish citizen or a European Economic Area national with an unrestricted right to reside in Ireland or have a declaration of refugee status from the Minister for Justice and Law Reform.

Qualifications: A postgraduate qualification.

Languages: Fluency in English. Good working knowledge of an official language of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) or Portuguese would be an asset.

Essential Criteria:

 If selected, candidates must be declared fit to volunteer in a developing country by a Medical Doctor.



If you are not a candidate in the UNV database, you must apply by registering your profile through the link provided in the corresponding Description of Assignment (DoA). The advertisement code mentioned in the DoA will appear automatically under the "Special Recruitment" tab of your UNV profile and can be changed from there if needed.

If you already are a candidate in the UNV database, you should update your profile and select the code provided in the Description of Assignment you wish to apply for, from the drop down list in the "Special Recruitment" tab of MyProfile.

Please contact if you are experiencing difficulties with the UNV database.


UNV will be responsible for the selection of successful candidates, in coordination with the host UN agencies for the assignments. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted by UNV.

United Nations Youth Volunteer Programme

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) the United Nations (UN) organization that promotes volunteerism as a means of achieving peace and development, is calling for applications to the UN Youth Volunteer programme.

The UN Youth Volunteer programme, which emerged from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Five-Year Action Agenda, aims to create enabling environments for youth engagement in global peace and sustainable human development through volunteerism.

It presents the opportunity for successful applicants to develop and apply their skills, knowledge and capacities in promoting sustainable development as volunteers within UN agencies in regional and developing country offices over a period of 12 months.

Become a UNV Online Volunteer

Irish Aid has supported UNV in establishing and running an Online Volunteering Service through which volunteers can offer their skills online to development organisations.

Through this service, development organisations advertise volunteering opportunities online and interested individuals identify suitable assignments that match their interests, expertise, and skills. They submit their applications directly to the organisations, which select the volunteers they would like to engage in their activities. 

The volunteer and the organisation then work together online to deliver a body of work, examples can be found here. Skills sought by organisations include project development and management; design; coordination and facilitation; IT development; research; writing, editing and translating; training, coaching and consulting.  The time commitment required to undertake projects start as low as 1 hour per week.

Irish Aid support for UNV Online Volunteering has contributed to a significant growth in the number of worldwide online volunteers and assignments. In 2012 alone more than 10,000 UN Online Volunteers completed assignments online, 62% of whom were from developing countries. Since 2000, 275 Irish Online volunteers have engaged in 415 online volunteering assignments.

Become a UNV Youth Volunteer

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Five-Year Action Agenda (2012) called for the creation of a Youth Volunteer Programme under the umbrella of UNV. This programme aims to facilitate the engagement of youth in global peace and sustainable human development through volunteerism, bringing the voice of youth into the development discourse and helping youth to realise their full social, economic and human potential. 

With development cooperation support from Irish Aid, UNV deploys a number of UN Youth Volunteers each year to a UN office in a developing country for a period of 12 months, with the opportunity to develop and apply their skills, knowledge and capacities in favour of sustainable peace and development.

UN Youth Volunteer assignments are advertised in August/September and are also posted on the Irish Aid website. Please visit the UNV volunteer page for more information on this and other UNV volunteering programmes.