The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development. Volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UNV volunteers, throughout the world. UNV embraces volunteerism as universal and inclusive, and recognizes volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity.
UNV engaged 7,303 UN volunteers in 2011, on a total of 7,708 assignments. With an average age of 38 years and the requisite professional skills and qualifications of some 5 to 10 years relevant experience, UN volunteers served in 132 countries in 2011 and came themselves from 162. The majority – 81 per cent – come from developing countries themselves. One third of UN volunteers served in their own countries, with the others carrying out international assignments. In addition, there are more than 16,000 online volunteering assignments offered annually by development organizations through the UNV Online Volunteering service. The financial equivalent of programme activities exceeds US$235 million annually.
The UNV organization
UNV is headquartered in Bonn, Germany and has approximately 150 staff positions – with the majority in Bonn and some positions with different UN peacekeeping and political missions, and in other Headquarters locations (e.g. New York and Tokyo). The major organizational groups within UNV are:
- Office of the Executive Coordinator (OEC);
- Evaluation Unit (EU);
- Corporate Planning and Performance Unit (CPPU);
- Volunteer Programming and Management Group (VPMG) comprising the Peace Division (PD) and the Development Division (DD), Volunteer Recruitment Resources Section (VRRS), Quality Assurance Unit (QAU), Volunteer Knowledge and Innovation Section (VKIS);
- Partnerships and Communications Division (PCD) comprising the Partnerships Section (PS) and the Communications Unit (CU);
- Management Services Division (MSD) comprising the Information and Communication Technology Section (ICTS), Finance Section (FS), Human Resources Section (HRS), and the Administration Unit (AU). Additionally the Common Services Unit (CSU) provides support to the UN presence in Bonn.
The Information & Communication Technology Section (ICTS) is the primary UNV section responsible for the management of the Information Technology resources in UNV HQ Bonn, including services to the offices in Geneva, Tokyo and New York.
Background of the work
Online Volunteering service (Project number: 00054153)
The overall objective of this project is to maximize the Online Volunteering service’s contribution to development change by ensuring a wide recognition of online volunteering as a volunteering modality for development and peace, further integrating it into development programming and improving the mobilization of online volunteers.
Project Context / Background / Rationale / Scope
The Online Volunteering service systems were redesigned in 2008 and since then have been through several cycles of functional and technical updates.
However, the organization’s capacities had to be focused on other applications in recent years resulting in delays in the deployment of identified enhancements. In addition, new, modern functionalities should be introduced to keep the service to Online Volunteering service users up-to-date.
Expected Project Output/Outcome
The emphasis of this consultancy is the improvement of the user experience while meeting the diverse functional and information demands of multiple stakeholder groups and offering a maximum of user friendliness and accessibility. This is also an opportunity to revisit or fine-tune a few of the site functionalities so that it better serves our user needs.
Our target users are peace- and development-focused organizations and online volunteers, a considerable percentage of whom (currently 60%) come from the developing countries with, frequently, low-bandwidth connections to the Internet. As they are usually task-oriented, it is important to make the accomplishment of their tasks as simple, consistent, efficient and pleasant as possible. Besides, the Web site should provide easy access to information and resources on online volunteering and collaboration, in the three languages of the service, English, French and Spanish.
Expected Result from the Complete Implementation of this Contract
The new functionalities and enhancements are designed and implemented based on the requirements defined by the Online Volunteering service team. The team is trained on the use and maintenance of the new functionalities. Complete documentation on the new functionalities is created.
Previous work done/history
Online Volunteering service systems redesigned (launch October 2008)
Other Relevant Information
The Online Volunteering service system is a PHP-based web application, using PHP, MySQL, OpenCMS technologies and tools to manage all activities related to online volunteering.
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