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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.

The call for applicants is currently closed.

Duration of Volunteer Post and Training: UN Youth 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 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 page “How to volunteer” on the UNV website and 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 fit to volunteer in a developing country by a Medical Doctor.


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


*Not yet registered in the UNV Talent Pool?

Please first register your profile at Important: 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. 

* Already registered in the UNV Talent Pool?

Please first update your profile at Then go to ‘My Page’ at and click on the ‘Special Calls’ hyperlink to select the special call to which you would like to apply.

In case of technical problems when registering/updating your profile, please contact


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted by the UNV programme and invited to do an initial digital video interview. The final selection will be done by the UN Host Agency at the level of the country of assignment. Some UN Agencies base their selection on a review of the profiles of the shortlisted candidates including the video interview, some conduct competency based Skype or phone interviews.

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.

New Assignment

UNV are currently accepting new applications for a Nutrition Officer with UNICEF in Somalia. The UNV will be based in Nairobi for the first six months.  Closing date for applications is 29th July 2018. Details of the role, job requirements, conditions of employment and the application process are available in this Description of Assignment.

Specialist Volunteers are normally placed on assignments of 12 months with a possibility of an extension within a UN agency in a developing country, where they contribute their professional expertise. They work in a range of sectors including:

  • Agriculture
  • Health
  • Education
  • Human rights
  • ICT
  • Community development
  • Vocational training
  • Industry
  • Population

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.