|Meeting the Humanitarian Challenge - UNV's Work Between Conflict and Development (United Nations Volunteers, 44 p.)|
|Current concerns and future perspectives|
When UNV specialists are introduced into a UN Agency's humanitarian programme or field administration for the first time, it greatly helps their integration if the Agency Headquarters concerned communicates to its field management personnel, that:
(a) UNV specialists are seasoned professionals in their own right (on average in mid-career), whose unique characteristic is a blend of altruistic motivation with a willingness to serve on non-salaried terms for a limited duration;
(b) UNV specialists seek to provide support complementary to the roles of other UN agency personnel, with a special niche to service the outreach of the programme to beneficiaries;
(c) UNV specialists are contracted for specific assignments with detailed job descriptions and duty stations: if circumstances warrant important modifications, these should be discussed between the UNV specialist and his/her supervisor, on arrival or later, and referred to UNV/HQ for approval before alteration (except in situations where extenuating emergency or security conditions warrant otherwise - where in any event UNV/HQ should be immediately informed);
(d) upon arrival at the duty station, supervisors and UNV specialists should draw-up a work-plan for the UNV specialist, which should be regularly revised;
(e) a comprehensive period of orientation should be arranged for each newly-arrived UNV specialist, if necessary including a period of local language training;
(f) a schedule of UNV periodic reports is established for each UNV specialist, and the cooperation of the UN Agency supervisor is essential in maintaining the frequency and timeliness of reporting.
Levels of overall support to UNV specialists must be ascertained before deployment: including for supervision, accommodation, equipment, transport, and the volunteer should be advised of the level of support to expect from the start of the assignment. Obviously, UNV specialist assignments need verifiable objectives and realistic expectations of success - they must also be sufficiently resourced. All UNVs going to the field need comprehensive country orientation material.
Adequacy and frequency of communication with outposted UNVs is an important factor in maintaining morale and facilitating success Communication facilities (radios, etc.) and guidelines on procedures should be provided systematically to UNV specialists in isolated postings. Additionally where security is concerned UNVs in high risk duty stations, should only be deployed with protective clothing and equipment (flak-jackets, helmets, radios).
In the course of their assignments, some UNVs may be delegated as agency authorities for petty cash, issuance of Travel Authorisations for other staff, procurement, inventory, management of sub-offices, organisation of convoys, etc. Such delegations of authority should be clearly specified and detailed in revised job descriptions.