Meet Taka – an UN Youth Volunteer working hard in Vietnam
Originally from Japan but now based in Vietnam, Taka is a youth volunteering specialist working hard with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme Field Unit to analyse the youth volunteerism situation in Vietnam.
Please give us a short description on what your agency does?
UNV Field Unit promotes volunteerism for peace and sustainable development. The Field Unit is responsible for providing support to the UN Volunteers, identifying areas for the placement of new UNVs, and to promote volunteerism for development.
What are your main responsibilities?
I analyze the situation of youth volunteerism in Vietnam to contribute to the global UNV Youth Volunteering Strategy. The strategy reflects the rising population of youth in the world, and aims to involve more youth volunteers in development, as well as improving their volunteer experience. I meet with international and national Volunteering Involving Organizations through out Vietnam to identify the specific characteristics of young volunteers involved in development work in a local context. I am also responsible for promoting volunteerism for development, identifying organizations to place UN Volunteers, and in my free time I try to work on the website and Facebook so everything can be updated.
Why did you become a UN Volunteer?
To work within a UN agency and also to work in a foreign environment was my initial motivation. It is a great learning opportunity and will help develop my career. I also wanted to do something good. Having a background in business I had never been involved in any voluntary activities. I thought it would be a good chance to learn how to contribute to society with your skills and also to create a better understanding of what problems the world faces.
What are some of the fun moments of your work?
Everyday is a fun day for me as everything is new and there are many things to learn. There are great colleagues who are very experienced and give me advice when I am stuck. I can learn from them and apply to my work that makes my work so much more interesting. I also enjoy when I meet the local volunteers. Their enthusiasm and pro activeness towards Vietnam’s development are very inspiring.
What are some challenges you face for your work?
As a university student and no background in volunteering or in development it was very difficult for me to understand the concept of volunteerism for development in the first month. It is also challenging sometimes to continue my work in a professional manner, as I have no professional experience.
What is your career plan?
Upon finishing my assignment, I will work in the private sector when I am back home in Japan. However I hope I can develop a career within the UN System in the future as I enjoy every moment of my time here as a UN Volunteer.
Please give your opinion on volunteerism and development?
Volunteerism is an open door for everybody to engage in development. It is a 2 way street, as the volunteers are able to learn, and also an opportunity to contribute to society.