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Developing your capacity using Volunteers

In a world that is increasingly interconnected people are finding new ways to work together and co-operate. Volunteers from all over the world can help your organization without having to travel to your country, and often without leaving the comfort of their own house or office. 

Making use of the resources offered by these volunteers means that you can enhance your capacity and/or that of your organization in many ways. You can use the knowledge and expertise of these volunteers and learn from their work, or you can ask for a volunteer to offer training for your staff. You can also ask a volunteer to work together with you on a difficult task, when your organization does not yet have the skills, knowledge or capacity to do it on its own. 

In order to find the volunteers with whom you can develop partnerships, explore the opportunities of the UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace, and/or find online volunteers through the UNV Online Volunteering  service.

The Online Volunteering service of the United Nations Volunteers programme

The UNV Online Volunteering service connects organizations working for sustainable human development with highly capable and motivated individuals who provide their support over the Internet to help organizations address development challenges.

It’s easy to use and it’s fast. Most of all, it’s effective. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments and United Nations agencies already recognize the value of online volunteering. The numbers speak for themselves. Every year, more than 10,000 online volunteers complete about 15,000 assignments. Satisfaction with those assignments runs at more than 90 percent.

Read on to find out how it works, to discover its success stories and to learn how organizations can benefit.

For example, the Chamber of Agriculture of the São Paulo State government in Brazil has tasked two online volunteers with supporting a participatory agro-ecological project in urban and peri-urban areas of the municipality Álvaro de Carvalho. Thanks to the support of online volunteers, community associations have been established that strengthen the smallholder farmers and allow them to mobilize their own resources.
All you will need to start working with online volunteers is to register your organization on UNV Online Volunteering service and provide opportunity descriptions explaining what your organization needs from online volunteers.
Volunteerism and partnerships
Using volunteerism to increase your capacity means that you can work with individuals or with organizations. Organizations large and small can offer you free services in the form of a partnership or sponsorship.  If you are looking for a partner, the Capacity Building Marketplace offers an overview of organizations that work in fields related to the fight against desertification, land degradation and drought.  But you can also write a post on the Marketplace explaining which services you are looking for. Sometimes there is a volunteer out there somewhere to help you with that service. Sometimes it can be an organization offering you the needed support. The Capacity Building Marketplace brings together the needs and possible solutions in all forms and from all corners of the globe.
Volunteering online or on-site
For the UNCCD volunteerism is an important part of the activities on the Capacity Building Marketplace, where you can place your vacancy if you are looking for a local volunteer or a partnership. Also on the Capacity Building Marketplace people who are interested in a volunteer opportunity can upload their profile online, so that organizations can contact them. So when you need a volunteer to work with you on issues related to sustainable land management and/or drought, come to the Capacity Building Marketplace.
An example of on-site volunteering that can be found on the Capacity Building Marketplace is the wwoofing platform, where organic farmers from all over the world can offer opportunities for students and others who want to spend one or two weeks abroad, and help out on an organic farm.
An example of online volunteering is the Association of African Entrepreneurs, who used the writing and business expertise, of a cross-national team of 29 online volunteers to produce a 400 page compendium of information relevant to entrepreneurship in Africa, which is available for free download on the website of this Ghana-based NGO.
Projects that are suitable for online volunteering are typically those that can be divided up in clearly defined tasks, which the volunteers can take up immediately.
Partnership with UNV and UNCCD
UNCCD and UNV work together closely on promoting and enabling volunteerism.  The UNCCD promotes volunteerism on the Capacity Building Marketplace, offering a platform for demand and supply of the same. In this regard the UNCCD also works together with UNV to promote its Online Volunteering service.
Both the online volunteers through the UNV Online Volunteering service and the volunteer opportunities promoted on the UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace can form a valuable contribution in enhancing capacity where it is most needed.
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