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United Nations Volunteers

Volunteers provide critical support to help UNHCR deliver on its mandate. They work in a variety of roles ranging from protection, refugee status determination, programme delivery, communication, information technology to administrative functions and more.

Every year, around 900 UN Volunteers support UNHCR in some 70 countries. Volunteering at UNHCR is a great chance to contribute to your local or host community and to gain work experience in the humanitarian sector. Contracts are usually for 6-12 months, with a maximum period of four years.

UNHCR volunteers share their inspirational stories:

Alina Kovalenko, National UN Volunteer, Communications and Public Information, Kyiv, Ukraine

Before joining Ukraine’s UNHCR team I spent a year in Indonesia on an exchange program. I found myself in absolutely new environment, faced with numerous challenges. It was there when I understood that I wanted to be the kind of person who supports people new to our culture, help them with their needs. I also felt that I could help displaced people to overcome the sense of fear and uncertainty in a foreign environment by giving them support and empathy. I believe, that peace begins, where stigma ends. 

Bahati Ernestine Hategekimana, Refugee UN Volunteer, Youth Activities Nairobi, Kenya

I bring something valuable to my work and that is my lived experience. I have been on the other side of humanitarian aid as a refugee and I have also had the benefit of serving as a humanitarian worker. I believe that my passion to serve those in need has made a difference and has shown that it is possible for a refugee to contribute to society. 

When I began my assignment in late February, I was so excited. I had my workplan all panned out with specific goals and outcomes. Then all of a sudden, priorities shifted and the plan had to change. I had to learn to rely on technology and think of new ways to engage youth more productively and also equip them to meet the demand in the community. Through designing a series of virtual workshops, events, seminars we were able to keep the youth positively engaged

Rediet Hirpaye, International UN Volunteer, Interpretation, Kigali, Rwanda

What inspired me to become a UNV was the fact that I will be able to merge my passion of working on the frontlines of change where I can really contribute and make a difference and my career exposure aspirations of getting wide range of experiences while working in emergency and other UN lifesaving operations.

Working in the field has developed my knowledge of development and international protection and strengthened my knowledge in reporting and external relations. The greatest reward is the fact that my contribution, amongst the incredible contributions of my colleagues, has led to the gradual restoration of the wellbeing and dignity of the persons of concern. 

Umay Atik, National UN Volunteer, Protection, Ankara, Turkey

I wanted to be a UN Volunteer to be part of a community that is working towards making a positive impact on the most vulnerable people’s lives. As a UN volunteer, I am contributing to this effort to the best of abilities in order to help the people of concern. It is a very satisfying experience to have the chance to make a positive difference in someone’s life. During the pandemic, the way we all work has changed, but still we are doing everything to adapt to the new circumstances with our team and working towards our collective goals just as before.


  • If you are at least 27-years-old and interested in serving outside your home country, you can become an International UN Volunteer. You must have a university degree, and a minimum of three years relevant working experience. 
  • If you are at least 27-years-old and would like to volunteer in your home country, please check out the local UNDP/UNV website for National UN Volunteer options.

How to apply

If you would like to support UNHCR from anywhere in the world, please look online for UN Volunteering opportunities.

Please register on UNV’s website to submit your application.