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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.

What you can do


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.

With support from Irish Aid, UNV will deploy 1 UN Volunteer in December/January, as well as 10 UN Youth Volunteers in February/March 2020 to the following assignments.

UN Youth Volunteer assignments: 

Assignment Title

Country of Assignment

UN Agency

Human Rights Associate

Palestine OPT


Governance Innovation Officer



Communications and Advocacy Officer 

Kingdom of Eswatini


Adolescent Development Officer (Nutrition and Well-Being)



Health Humanitarian Officer



Gender and Human Rights Assistant Officer



Dialogue and Peace Officer



Programme Analyst – Youth and Gender 

Sierra Leone


Women Peace and Security Officer

Congo, DR

UN Women

Inter-Agency Gender Support Officer



UN Volunteer (specialist) assignment:

Assignment Title

Country of Assignment

UN Agency

Coordination Officer in Governance




Duration of the Volunteer Assignment and Training:  UN Youth Volunteers are deployed to a UN host entity in a regional or developing country office for a period of 12 months.

Mandatory Assignment Preparation Training (APT) for selected UN Youth Volunteers is scheduled to take place in Bonn, Germany, from 3 to 6 February 2020. The travel for attending this training will be covered. Selected candidates will receive logistical information from the UNV Learning Team.

UN Youth Volunteers are provided with a lumpsum for travel (air-tickets and shipment), a volunteer living allowance and life and health insurance for the duration of their assignment. More information is available in the UNV Conditions of Service and specific Descriptions of Assignment.


To be considered for the UN Youth 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. 

Experience: Recent graduates with limited professional experience.

Preference will be given to applicants to this programme with up to two years of professional work experience.  Other levels of experience may be better suited to another UN Volunteer programme. For more information, please visit the pages Become a UN Youth Volunteer and FAQs  on the UNV website, as well as UNV’s Online Volunteering website.

Essential Criteria:

  • Respect for diversity and experience of other cultures, environments and living conditions, preferably in a developing country;
  • Experience of volunteering in Ireland or abroad;
  • Background knowledge of international development issues and an interest in a career in this field;
  • Knowledge about UNV, the host agency and country of assignment;
  • Knowledge of the work of Irish Aid and a commitment to contributing to Ireland’s international development effort.

If selected, candidates must be declared medically fit to volunteer in a developing country.


  • Work organization and planning
  • Flexibility
  • Pro-activity and self reliance
  • Presenting ideas and persuading others
  • Interpersonal sensitivity
  • Motivation and commitment

Candidates for UN Volunteer (specialist) assignments should be 25 years or older and have at least two years of professional experience. For further details, kindly refer to the Description of Assignment.


Please first register your profile at After creating your account, complete all sections of your profile and submit it. Then go to ‘My Page’ at and click on the ‘Special Calls’ hyperlink. Lastly, select the special call to which you would like to apply.

Should you wish to be considered for more than one UN Youth Volunteer assignment, you can express your interest by entering the corresponding DoA codes in the "Additional Remarks" section of your profile.

Closing date: Profiles of interested applicants must be fully registered in the UNV database of candidates no later than 24 November 2019. Applications received after this date will not be taken into consideration.

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. 

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.

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.