UNDP Barbados and the OECS welcomes the first International UNV in 10 years

Feb 11, 2013

International Volunteer Day 2013

For the first time in ten years, UNDP Barbados and the OECS welcomed a new international UN Volunteer. The long-awaited volunteer is Mr. Wonjae Lee from the Republic of Korea, and now he serves as an UNV Institutional Capacity Development Officer in the Governance Team. During his twelve months assignment, he will promote volunteerism in the region and provide capacity development support to civil society organizations.

This assignment opened the gate of renewed UNV support to the Eastern Caribbean for promoting volunteerism to address challenges of the region. The UNV withdrew its presence from the Eastern Caribbean when the region successfully graduated out of the low-income category a few years ago. However, change of status doesn’t necessarily bring solutions to every problem, and volunteerism is still considered a crucial tool to address remaining challenges. In this regard, it is encouraging that the UNV resumed its support to the region in order to promote volunteerism and follow up on the challenges that remain unresolved.

The assignment made it possible to initiate consultation with civil society for capacity development support. Capacity development has long been identified by the UNDP Barbados and the OECS as a challenge for civil society organizations in the region. It had preliminary discussions on this issue with the Non State Actors Advisory Panel of Barbados, the representative body of civil society organizations in Barbados, but it wasn’t very successful. Now, however, the new international UN Volunteer is here with a specific responsibility to engage with the Panel to provide support for capacity development, which allows us to expect much progress in this critical area.