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Volunteer abroad with the UN

Volunteering abroad is an unbeatable opportunity to serve as a global citizen. International UN Volunteers promote peace and development in communities around the globe while upholding the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations.

International UN Volunteers come from 160 countries, representing many cultures and backgrounds. They bring a wide variety of perspectives and approaches which lends a dynamism to the experience.

Your international UN Volunteer assignment will make a lasting impact. It can create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate results of your efforts – both for the people you serve and yourself.

Why volunteer abroad?

  • As an international UN Volunteer, you will learn about different cultures, expand your networks, study or perfect foreign languages and gain matchless professional and life experiences. Working in another country gives you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, to learn new approaches to tasks and problems and to operate in different environments.

  • You will enter the singular domain of global citizenship. Facing challenges together with community members and fellow United Nations workers often creates life-long bonds.

  • After working in a foreign country, you can be sure your curriculum vitae will stand out. Employers appreciate the ability to adapt, to think outside the box and to embrace diversity. The enriched professional and life experiences gained through volunteering will not go unnoticed.

  • Volunteering abroad is an unparalleled opportunity to do something meaningful and to support peace and development initiatives in countries that need them most. And by giving back you will gain an incredible sense of fulfilment, which will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

  • International UN Volunteers support local volunteer initiatives, strengthen community capacities, foster ownership and sustainability of development activities and contribute toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • You will work actively with United Nations development and peacekeeping partners and within communities, responding to development priorities and needs in countries facing poverty and socio-economic challenges, humanitarian crises, conflict and post-conflict situations and those of fragile peace. Through your expertise, you will enable the effective delivery of programmes and mandates of partner United Nations entities.


A university degree or a higher technical diploma and at least two years of relevant work experience are among the minimum requirements to volunteer abroad with the UN.

The minimum requirements to serve as an international UN Volunteer are:

  • 25 years old and older (no upper age limit)

  • university degree or higher technical diploma

  • at least two years of relevant work experience in a professional background

  • good working knowledge of at least one of UNV’s three working languages: English, French or Spanish

  • commitment to the values and principles of volunteerism

  • ability to work in a multicultural environment

  • willingness to work with people and local organizations to draw upon the synergies between expert solutions and local knowledge

  • ability to adjust in difficult living conditions and sometimes remote locations

  • strong interpersonal and organizational skills

  • prior volunteering and/or working experience in a developing country is an asset


Duration of the assignment

  • International UN Volunteer assignments are usually an initial contract of 6 to 12 months, sometimes with a possibility to extend for one to two years. Short-term assignments of three months or less are also requested from time to time by our partners.

  • A person younger than the United Nations retirement age may serve for a maximum of four years under the international UN Volunteer modality, irrespective of the time served under other UN Volunteer modalities.

  • If ten years have elapsed since completion of the last international UN Volunteer assignment, a person may serve again (once) for another maximum of four years.

  • Those older than the United Nations retirement age and retired United Nations staff do not face any maximum service restrictions.


International UN Volunteers are entitled to certain allowances so they can sustain a modest and secure standard of living at the duty station. Allowances are in no way to be understood as a reward or salary in exchange for the volunteer work.

Allowances provided are:

  • volunteer living allowance: a monthly allowance intended to cover basic living expenses (this is not a salary)

  • travel expenses: for travel to duty station upon appointment and for repatriation at the end of the assignment

  • settling-in-grant: a grant calculated on the duration of the assignment, paid at the beginning of the assignment

  • insurances: life, health and permanent disability insurance.

  • annual leave

  • resettlement allowance: calculated based on the duration of the assignment, paid upon satisfactory completion of the assignment.

Living conditions

  • Living conditions vary from stable environments to very changing and dynamic ones. Be aware that many UN Volunteers work in remote, isolated duty stations where basic comforts may be limited. Many other UN Volunteers work under routine conditions, such as capital cities, with all modern conveniences available. Assignments are categorized as “family” or “non-family” duty stations, depending on the nature of the assignment and the security context.

International UN Volunteer Handbook

Conditions of Service

UNV Conditions of Service

for international UN Volunteers OVERVIEW


PROTECTION (Refugee Protection, Child Protection, Human Rights Protection)

Minimum requirements: University Degree in Law, International Law, Human Rights, International Relations, Social Sciences or related fields. Two to three 3 years of experience with refugees, and/or other people of concern in a protection capacity required (e.g. Children affected by armed conflict).


Minimum requirements: University Degree in Information Systems, GIS, Social Sciences, Statistics, Economics or related field. Two to three years of experience in Information Management (preferably with governmental organizations, NGOs, international organizations) in development or humanitarian assistance. Good reporting skills, preferably with experience in website and /or database maintenance, production of information products (infographics, maps, etc.), knowledge of mapping applications (e.g. ArcGIS, etc.).


Minimum requirements: University Degree in Business Administration, Engineering, Logistics, Mathematics or related field. Two to three years of relevant professional experience in the field of logistics. (e.g. supply chain, surface transport, warehousing, port operations, air transport, etc.).

WASH (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene)

Minimum requirements: University Degree in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Sanitation Engineering, Geology, Hydrology, Environmental Public Health or related field. Two to three years of relevant professional experience in water supply, water purification systems, pump installations and associated works. Preferably with knowledge of cross-sectoral programming, community-based interventions, health systems.


Minimum requirements: University Degree in Economics, Statistics, Project Planning and Management, Development Studies, Social Science, or related field. Three years of relevant professional experience and a proven track record in Project Monitoring and Evaluation in a development or humanitarian context. Knowledge of Results-Based Management, monitoring and evaluation methods and tools and statistical software.



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DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that thriveopportunities  is not in any way affiliated with any of the opportunity providers featured in this website. The information shared here is solely to help “bridge opportunity gaps” between providers and applicants. We  suggest you visit the opportunity’s official page for detailed information.