Youth volunteerism is a great way of building peace and developing communities, said a high UN official, urging the youths of Bangladesh to engage more in volunteer work.
“Youth volunteerism helps youths gain more confidence in our societies, improve their skills, gives more connections to the communities. This improves their employability,” said Toily Kurbanov, deputy executive coordinator (management services) of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
He said oftentimes a mismatch between what the education system provides and what the labour market offers affects the youths and society. If youths do not see themselves useful and productive, they become disgruntled and lose skills. “Volunteerism does just the opposite,” Toily Kurbanov told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview at the UN office in Dhaka on April 2. He stayed in Bangladesh on March 31-April 3. The youths involved in volunteerism can feel that they are a part of the larger society as they provide much-needed services, including health, education, livelihood, to the people on the ground, he said. “It gives a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. It will enrich not only your life, but life of other people at the grassroots.”
During his visit to Dhaka, Toily and UNV Regional Chief for Asia-Pacific, Shalina Miah, held meetings with officials of different UN agencies and government departments to understand how they can support promotion of volunteerism in Bangladesh. He said Bangladesh is very important for them because of its exemplary development and a huge number of youth population.
“You are the future leaders of not only Bangladesh, but also of the developing world… your country is setting a strong example of…inclusive socio-economic development,” he said about the youths of Bangladesh.
Toily said it is important for different stakeholders of a country -- government, private sector, civil society, youths and women -- to come together for achieving sustainable development. “When they rally together, mobilise together, they present the necessary pre-conditions for achieving the 2030 agenda.” Toily said while the UNV is supporting promotion of volunteers at national level, there are also scopes for youths to work as volunteers under UN agencies globally.
The youths, who are interested in UN volunteering, can visit www.unv.org to learn about the opportunities for them, he said. In Bangladesh, there are a total of 34 UN volunteers working under different UN agencies.
Besides, 71 Bangladeshi UN volunteers worked abroad under different UN agencies since 2013, he said. “Follow us on social media, sign up on our database, keep an eye on any opportunities within Bangladesh or outside Bangladesh and stay in touch,” Toily advised the youths of Bangladesh.