UNV involvement in this area is based on the premise that strengthening the delivery of basic services can impact different priority areas at the same time with multiplier effects on the achievement of the SDGs. Volunteering efforts increase the efficiency and outreach as well as ownership and sustainability of government and civil society programmes at the local level.
UNV has long-standing experience working with community organisations, particularly in the context of poverty alleviation. Over time, UNV has developed solid knowledge and has learnt lessons about the role and application of volunteerism in local governance and service delivery. An internal review of projects financed by UNV-administered funds between 2006 and 2008 revealed that almost 41% of these projects supported volunteerism for delivery of basic services and local governance initiatives.
The delivery of basic services is at the heart of many UN agencies, funds and programme mandates and activities. UNV will also work very closely with national governments, sub-national partners and civil society organisations to enhance the quality and delivery of basic services. Initiatives to improve the use and delivery of basic services through volunteerism will encompass two capacity development aims: i) build the skills of communities and service users; and ii) develop the capacities of local, institutional, and national authorities to improve accountability and inclusive citizen participation in the planning and provision of social services.
Within this priority area, UNV will concentrate its efforts on supporting gender-sensitive primary health care including water and sanitation hygiene, HIV/AIDS and non-formal education. It will enhance its effectiveness in these two focus areas through strengthening local governance.
UNV’s emphasis on primary health care and HIV/AIDS is critical as three of the seven-teen(17) SDGs focus on health issues and it is likely that many countries, especially in West Africa, will not meet their SDG targets in these areas.
Because most primary health care takes place at the community and household levels, mobilizing volunteer community health workers forms the basis of any successful primary health effort. UNV’s past and present community-level experience therefore becomes pivotal to the success of SDG targets for health. Some 36% of ongoing UNV projects are supporting volunteer activities related to primary health care and HIV/AIDS.
In close collaboration with local governments, NGOs and civil society, UNV will work with UN agencies and government authorities that have a mandate in primary health care and HIV/AIDS. Specifically, UNV will assist in building local capacity to deliver services and work with local authorities to establish sustainable volunteer networks and organisations that they can mobilize for ongoing public health campaigns. UNV supported programmes will focus on: provision of basic health care; mobilization of volunteers for various health-related services; linking communities with available public services; and raising awareness and promoting behavior change through the training of community volunteers in health education and promotion. Special attention will also address disparity in service coverage and promote the participation of marginalized groups in basic service delivery.
Non-formal education, such as literacy and vocational training, has been identified as one of the major tools for poverty alleviation. UNV has documented the contributions volunteerism brings to non-formal education in many countries. Based on these experiences and lessons learned, UNV will support the provision of literacy and basic education services by trained volunteer facilitators. UNV will facilitate youth, women, and marginalized groups to act as providers as well as recipients of non-formal education services. UNV will organize and manage community volunteer literacy and life-skills education services and provide training-of-trainer programmes to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of non-formal education facilitators.