Everyone Wants To “Volunteer” For UN

Anjila Mul, 22, and Sujita Amatya, 22, who got Bachelors in Science (Environmental Science) degree from Biswo Niketan College a few days ago, had gone to the “exhibition” hoping to get recruited as volunteer or explore opportunities in volunteering. “The focus is in the UN of course,” said Anjila, left, “because that’s world wide.”

[Here is what I reported in today’s Kantipur about the event. This blog post was originally written for and published at WSJ. And here is a comment.]

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

I was in Basantapur (Kathmandu Durbar Square) yesterday to report about an event organized on the occasion of International Volunteer Day. Many young people from Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal had gathered there responding to advertisements that were published in some newspapers (including Kantipur where I work) that day. The advertisements that featured a statement issued by the UN General Secretary General on the occasion asked the readers to come to Basantapur. “If you want to become a volunteer, visit our exhibition at Basantapur on 5th December at 11:30,” said the adverts. Those who invited the readers were the UN Volunteers, JICA (Japan), KOICA (Korea), MS Nepal (Danish) and other organizations. Majority of the visitors were young and many of them had gone there hoping to get recruited as volunteer or get their CVs seen by the UN Volunteers officials. I met two girls and many other boys who said their main intention was to get enrolled into UNV.

There were several reasons for the the particular attraction in UNV:

1. A great way of earning experience for future job opportunities
2. World wide scope including international travels
3. You get paid (in the name of basic living allowance)
4. A cool first step to pursue a career in the UN.

international volunteers day in kathmandu nepal

The visitors were angry (they are smiling only to my camera) at the fact that there were no vacancies in the UNV and the “invitation” wasn’t for the recruitment as it appeared to be on the advertisement. “They say they don’t have any positions,” said an angry young man. “Then why they invited us?” A UNV official told me that that the day was not for recruitment but for celebration of the spirit of volunteerism. But the youths who were listening to the conversation didn’t want to agree.

There were a few foreign UN “Volunteers” wandering around and I found their presence at the venue a little bit ironic. These young foreign “volunteers” are supposed to contribute in a meaningful way in Nepali society. I wondered what experience they have for such contribution. If UN were to “employ” Nepali boys and girls as “volunteers” for jobs inside Nepal, I feel, that would be more effective. One foreign volunteer told me that he was “sacrificing him time” to “volunteer”. Oh come on, I wanted to tell him, be realistic and think about the “living allowance” that the UN provides to you. A volunteer, as defined in the dictionaries, is someone who works without payment of any kind. I firmly believe that no volunteers should be paid in any way. That’s the true spirit of volunteerism that supposed to be celebrated on the day. But how UN and other international NGOs practice with volunteerism is different from how dictionaries define the word. I asked myself would these foreign young “volunteers” come to Nepal and volunteer if the UN didn’t provide them the allowance. The answer, with some possible exception, is definitely no.

I know it’s a futile effort to talk about reforms in a UN agency but my feeling is that a Nepali “volunteer” doesn’t need the same amount of allowance that is provided to a foreigner for the same job that is done inside the country. [That is, of course, in the case that they keep paying volunteers! Even if they don’t pay, I am sure, many youths are ready to volunteer for the sake of experience and exposure to the UN systems.] And I bet the national “volunteers” will perform the job better than any foreigners (with some exception of course). Not to forget that if the local youth are “hired as volunteers” (providing the even half of what foreign volunteers get is equivalent of hiring them), that will certainly contribute in solving the growing unemployment problem in countries like Nepal.

I remember what a top Election Commission official had told me a couple of months ago about the usefulness of foreigners. “We have the fifty-year-long history of organizing and managing multiparty elections in Nepal and here some rookie foreigners who have hardly participated in the election process in their country come as election experts and lecture us how to conduct an election,” the official had told me. He was talking about the army of foreign “election experts” from the electoral department of United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), some of whom were working at that time in a building in the Election Commission complex. “They don’t know how things work in Nepal and this has become a learning experience for them rather than us benefiting from their presence.”

international volunteers day in kathmandu nepal

A group of youths assemble around a foreigner to as her about volunteering opportunities.

There is this tendency in Nepal that foreigners are everything and their mere presence solves everything. I am not against foreigners coming here and contributing but I feel there must be a limit.

And about the intense youth interest to join the UN I just feel that Nepali youth are not exception. [I personally feel I will not fit in the monolithic UN bureaucracy that is notorious for sluggishness and bureaucratic hassles. I feel journalism gives me tremendous amount of freedom that is dearest to me even though it doesn’t provide much money.] Even people from developed country are interested in the UN job. It is widely believed (and many UN insiders have told me in several occasions) that one needs to pulls all sorts of strings and needs play the game of power and connections to get into the UN systems or get favors inside the system. I think those views are correct given the experience of those who told me them and seeing the struggle that happens for the UN leadership. Yes, the most visible example of such shameless power struggle can be seen at the time of the election of the topmost post of the UN itself (the General Secretary).

After hearing grievances and complains from angry and dissatisfied youths in Basantapur, I talked to Stuart John Moran, the UN Volunteers Program Manager in Kathmandu. He was more philosophical and talked about material life versus spiritual and gave the example of a happy holy man without a single penny might be than the one with lots of money. He also said that the exhibition program was organized- not by the UNV he clarified- to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism, not to recruit the new “volunteers”. And he also gave a quick lecture on the “rich and long culture of volunteerism in Nepali society” and suggested the youths to start their own grassroots-level groups and get involved in the act of volunteerism.

All that sounded good in principle but how do you expect unemployed youth, who are more concerned about the job than volunteerism without payment, to listen to such philosophical advice. Philosophy doesn’t feel the stomach in real life!

international volunteers day in kathmandu nepal

UNMIN “Volunteers”: (From Left) Ngwfang Emmanuel, 32, from Cameroon, Nora Landheer, 27, from Switzerland, and Philippo Buseoni, 28, from Italy “volunteering” in United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).

“Best thing about volunteering? Oh…God!” said Philippo and started thinking about the answer. “Satisfaction,” said Nora. “You can do something without expecting anything bad,” said Philippo. “Sacrificing for others,” came the reply from Ngwfang. Nora was quick to clarify that “volunteering” on behalf of UN doesn’t mean an entry step for the lucrative UN service. “Money is not the problem,” said Philippo. “[When you volunteer that] gives an idea about the person, whether s/he is committed towards to job or not,” explained Philippo who was in Lebanon before coming to Nepal in March.

Nora also came here in March while Ngwfang arrived in Nepal in September. Nora said she recruits volunteers while Philippo works at the Public Information section. Ngwfang said he works at movement control section.

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31 thoughts on “Everyone Wants To “Volunteer” For UN”

  1. Wagleji,
    Why are you guys silent about Prachanda’s illicit relationship with Royal forces??

    Dont you think that old but underestimated theory of connection between Maoists and Royal Forces is proven now??

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  2. yes most of these volunteers would volunteer even if the UN didnt even pay a cent, what you consider a significant sum or the so called “living allowance” is a pittance when you consider the minimum wage of most of the countries from which the volunteers come from. i dont know why you guys at this site are so sceptical of the UN and its affiliates. and yes for any young person, whether he/she is planning to join the corporate world or the planning to join an NGO, a stint at the UN is a huge learning experience, and they would grab the opportunity with both hands. and you expect these voluntary jobs to solve even a part of the unemployment problem in nepal, man you got to be kidding.so get off your high horse, the UN isnt the problem with this country, its the stupid mindset that people like you have

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  3. steve, are you with UNV or UNMIN or something?

    I don’t care but how can you even type lines like “yes most of these volunteers would volunteer even if the UN didnt even pay a cent”? Where are you standing my friend? Come on Earth and face the reality. Okay, check that out: tell them to leave the paid volunteerism (yea paid volunteerism) and go to some orphanage or other institutes like government run schools in Nepali villages and see what their reaction is!

    I can’t agree more with you when you say that the “so called “living allowance” is a pittance when you consider the minimum wage of most of the countries from which the volunteers come from.” That’s correct. Now why don’t you see the fact from this angle: People in countries like Nepal are ready to leave their full time job for that “so called” allowance. That “so called living allowance” is far higher than what Nepali people (I mean educated and capable people, not the general people) earn.

    I also “dont know why” these “guys at this site are so sceptical of the UN and its affiliates” but I certainly feel that they are right when they say that hiring Nepali youths for the jobs or volunteer placements inside Nepal would be more effective than bringing in tourists who have no idea about how things work here.

    And yes, I also agree when you say “and yes for any young person, whether he/she is planning to join the corporate world or the planning to join an NGO, a stint at the UN is a huge learning experience, and they would grab the opportunity with both hands.”

    Then why on Earth you are against providing that opportunity to Nepali educated boys and girls? Look at the photos above and see the crowd. They are all young, educated and aspire “to join the corporate world” as you put it or plan “to join an NGO.” They also want “a stint at the UN” so that they could learns things and “would grab the opportunity both hands.”

    But look at the reality: foreigners are coming and grabbing opportunity that should ideally go to these Nepali youths.

    Well, I don’t “expect these voluntary jobs to solve even a part of the unemployment problem in nepal,” and I am not kidding but I agree with the blogger above that such a step will certainly contribute significantly. Do you have any idea how much the UNMIN is paying to, for example, an interpreter? Around 40000 Rs. per month and that’s four times the average salary in Nepal. Why? Just to serve some ignorant foreigners who have no idea who they are talking to and what they are talking to. And think how much that person is paid for whom the interpretation is done. And also think, if you can, how many Nepal people can be hired by that money which is paid to the interpreter and the one for whom the interpreter is hired.

    Also keep this in mind that we are not talking about the living expenses in the western world. Put your crap about how much people earn in western world with yourself because the topic of conversation is the living standard here in Nepal and how much is the average salary here. Can you give any reasonable argument to me as to why an interpreter is paid Rs. 40000?

    A person can survive here in Nepal for a monthly income of as little as Rs. 5000. Tell your volunteers to return all the “pittance” that exceeds Rs. 5000 and see how do they react.

    And yes, I also don’t think “the UN” is “the problem with this country.” But I firmly believe that the exuberant sum of money that its staffs amass in the name of salary is definitely the problem. If they work in Nepal for a good and universal organization like UN that’s not for profit, don’t you think they should get paid as per the living standard of the country where they serve? I mean I don’t care if a UN employee in New York or Tokyo are paid high considering the living standard in those cities but paying people lakhs of Rupees for working in UN Nepal does sound plundering and extortion to me.

    And also the mindset of poor foreigners like you is the problem who use the UN or other INGO stints in Nepal as a mean to complete the resume so that you can flash that to your prospective employee saying “look, I have served in Nepal, the country of Mount Everest.”

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  4. well ganesh man can you tell me how does the payment of salaries to the UN staff lead to plunder and extortion, i am sure you meant the plunder of nepal. the nepal government dosnt pay for the UN staff’s salary. and what the UN wants to pay for its staffs and how many staff they want to hire is something that they decide using their own criteria. tell me are there not foreigners who actually teach in villages, work in orphanages without any pay, infact use their own money, so what if some of them want to work through the UN, just because they get paid some amount turns them and the UN into some kind of money guzzling enterprise who have no qualms about spending humungous amount hiring them while people around them are unemployed. and yes if you are thinking of employment being provided by the UN, why dont you look at the peacekeeping missions then,isnt that a form of work, paid by the UN. i just wanted to say that why on earth do you look at the UN as a source of employment, its job is not this. the main reason i have reacted so strongly is that people who write this post seems to be so ignorent about what the UN actually does, its limited authority and the condition in which it works.what if the UN suddenly decides that it dosent care what happens to Nepal. what then? the same people would be screaming blue murder that no one cares about Nepal,how India would make it another sikkim etc. think about it

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  5. Ganesh —

    “”Foreigners are coming and grabbing opportunity that should ideally go to these Nepali youths””

    Regarding your point of UN in Nepal giving away all volunteering opportunities to foreigners. Allow me to share some facts with you.

    101 Nationals of Nepal serving as international UNV volunteers in 28 countries. There are about 249 UNV’s working in Nepal out of which 44 are nationals and 205 are international. These numbers are way higher than average. UNV system picks out volunteers from its database on the basis of their interest/experience and a list of their choice of duty stations.

    You need to understand the UN and UNV system before making such under-researched frustrate ridden comments.

    UN Volunteer system provides excellent on-the-job experience to people without prior experience in the field of development on a stipend to cover for their living and food expenses. i have worked with many UNV’s and have found them very dedicated to their work. Nepal may not be a high risk environment like Darfur or Afghanistan but UNV are also expected to post at very high risk situations risking their security.

    Ganesh …By the way – If an interpreter is paid 40,000rs a month in Nepal by the Un system. – believe me its much lesser than what an official interpreter should be paid in many other countries. Also, UN salaries are adjusted according to duty stations. a person serving UN in New York will definitely earn more than one in Katmandu. Also, how many people in Nepal do you know who are advanced degree holders in any of the official languages of the UN? Also, i think it is ridiculous to compare the salary of a highly skilled interpreter to average salary in Nepal. Interpreter is not paid by Nepalese Govt – he/she is paid by the UN system.

    And finally to you and the author of this blog — if you are doubtful that the volunteers will not work if they are not paid any salaries. I am surprised at this remark. Instead of appreciating that the UN system provides reasonable salary to volunteers you are actually criticizing them.

    UN internship programme doesn’t pay a cent to its interns who work hard to gain useful experience without any money and any promise of employment with the UN.

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  6. Steve, the exuberant payment of salaries to the UN staff is no different than stealing or plundering. Let’s say a UN employee gets Rs. 100,000 for the same job is done by a Nepalese organization with a Nepalese staff for Rs. 11,000. Now think small, not big and fancy. Even Rs. 10 thousand matters to millions of poor rural Nepalese. If you provide them Rs. 20 thousand to a poor family as a micro credit, that will have huge impact in alleviating poverty. If the same job is done for Rs. 11,000, why can’t the UN, the international organization whose aim is to establish social equity and pursue economic development, channelise the rest of the money via UNDP for the benefit of the rural poor?

    The idea of UN is great and fascinating but keep this in mind the very presence of the UN in countries like Nepal is a great satire. Be local when you want to serve in local community. Don’t talk like a New Yorker while discussing about, say, a poor village in Palpa. Employing locals will be far more effective and cost effective than brining in foreigners. Why do you need those fancy vehicles or those expensive logistics when you can perform the same job without them if you employ the locals? Why do you need to pay as per the New York life standard to those who are working in Kathmandu? Again I will suggest you to look at the photo above and see those youth who are willing to do the same work, if not more, on less.

    Of course steve we are not rich like you but what we feel is that larger part of the money that the UN pays to you should go to the betterment of poor people and the rest to the local staff. So that you can stay in your own home and earn far far better than the UN pays you.

    You are wrong when you say “what the UN wants to pay for its staffs and how many staff they want to hire is something that they decide using their own criteria.” You can’t differentiae the UN from where it is based or located. Understand this fact that UN is not here for them, it’s for us, Nepalese. Their sole intention should be how can they serve Nepal better. The starting point could be by taking less from UN and giving more to the Nepalese society.

    Did I say there are no “foreigners” volunteering without money in Nepali villages? I didn’t say that and don’t try to put your words in my mouth. Actually those paid volunteers should follow the path of those unpaid volunteers.

    Okay, you “just wanted to say that why on earth do” I “look at the UN as a source of employment, its job is not this.” My reply is: how on this universe, you thought that was looking at the UN as job source? I am not saying UN should create jobs so as to employ Nepalese youths. What I am saying is UN shouldn’t pay exuberant salaries to its staffs for that money can be used for the development work. What I am saying is UN shouldn’t employ the expensive foreigners (or should employ the locals of that country where it is based) when the same job could be done by locals in less. Do you get me steve?

    And you say “the main reason i have reacted so strongly is that people who write this post seems to be so ignorent about what the UN actually does, its limited authority and the condition in which it works.” You sound like Ian Martin to me steve, who is hell bent on expanding his mandate in Nepal for the sole benefit of his career. Who has talked about “limited authority and the condition in which it works”? Did I? No. Read the previous paragraph. My sole point is why hire those expensive foreigners when the same work could be done by a national for less and the remaining money could be spent on the real project?

    Now you are actually showing your ignorance by saying “what if the UN suddenly decides that it dosent care what happens to Nepal. what then?” Do you even know UN is not an organization like Coca Cola where its boss decide on where to invest and where not to? There is something called Security Council. And do you have any idea who are the members of SC? Member STATES!

    The problem is not with the idea or concept of the UN, steve. It’s with the damn mentality of the UN Systems staffs who, once they enter inside, are hell focused on their own benefits rather than the office they work for. The bureaucracy has become so much rotten and there is so much ppaer work and formality that that all makes you forget about actual goal of the UN and keeps on busy on serving your own petty interest.

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  7. -ns, well your “fact” just proves my point. You say, “There are about 249 UNV’s working in Nepal out of which 44 are nationals and 205 are international.” If you add those 101 Nepalese serving abroad, that makes it 145 out of 249. Now tell me, why bring in those foreigners paying more when you can use locals in less? Are they such an expert that no Nepalese can fill in their position? Don’t tell me these all these foreign paid volunteers are surgeons.

    What? Are you saying that the “UN Volunteer system provides excellent on-the-job experience to people without prior experience”???? I read above that they need five years work experience!

    And here in this site of UNV I read you need “Several years of relevant working experience” to be a volunteer. So practice checking facts before preaching others! http://www.unv.org/how-to-volunteer/unv-volunteers.html

    Yes, what the heck did you think I was taking about than “a stipend to cover for their living and food expenses.” If volunteering covers your living and food expense, why do you need job? At least for millions of poor people across Nepal, they don’t need anything if volunteering covers “their living and food expenses.” Do you get it?

    And who told you that I don’t find “many UNV’s …very dedicated to their work.”? I am saying is they are expensive compared to the nationals. Even this applies to Nepalese paid volunteers going abroad and doing jobs that could be done in less if the locals were employed.

    You say “Nepal may not be a high risk environment like Darfur or Afghanistan but UNV are also expected to post at very high risk situations risking their security.”

    I say: who the hell forced you to volunteer? Volunteering is, well, a volunteer act. You choose to do it and you do it for free. You don’t expect someone to pay for what you do in volunteerism.

    “If an interpreter is paid 40,000rs a month in Nepal by the Un system. – believe me its much lesser than what an official interpreter should be paid in many other countries.”

    Believe me? You are saying you are giving me new information? Doesn’t my mentioning of living standard and the example of New York ring something in your mind? And who told you that I am saying an employee shouldn’t be paid higher in New York than the one in Kathmandu because the living standard is different in these two places? What I am saying is don’t talk how people drive or drink in New York and expect same kind of road and restaurants when you are serving in a Nepalese village. When you are employed to do job in a Nepalese village, you shouldn’t expect to be paid as much as your counterpart in Tokyo.

    “Also, UN salaries are adjusted according to duty stations. a person serving UN in New York will definitely earn more than one in Katmandu.”

    Now you are contradicting yourself. One the one hand you want more payment to an interpreter in Kathmandu, and yet, you give this example, which is actually my point that I have already made in my first comment. Furthermore, my point is: Those serving in Kathmandu UN are paid far more than what they should actually be paid for the job that they are doing (which could be done by nationals in far less salary).

    “Also, how many people in Nepal do you know who are advanced degree holders in any of the official languages of the UN?”
    It seems your think mind didn’t get what I was talking about. I wasn’t talking about official whatever, I was talking about freaking Nepali to English and vice versa translations.

    “Also, i think it is ridiculous to compare the salary of a highly skilled interpreter to average salary in Nepal.”

    Again, I blame it on your think mind. I didn’t compare whatever damn with whatever the damn. Read that again.

    “Interpreter is not paid by Nepalese Govt – he/she is paid by the UN system.”

    Yet again you think mind, where have I said interpertors are paid by the Nepal govt?

    “And finally to you and the author of this blog — if you are doubtful that the volunteers will not work if they are not paid any salaries.”

    I don’t know what the heck this author of the blog thinks, but I certainly believe (and I bet!) many will pack their bags and go back to their countries! You hear this: Many. Will. Pack. Their. Bags. And. Go. Back. To. Their. Countries!

    “Instead of appreciating that the UN system provides reasonable salary to volunteers you are actually criticizing them.”
    You want to volunteer and you also want SALARY???????? Are you in the right state of your mind, pal?

    “UN internship programme doesn’t pay a cent to its interns who work hard to gain useful experience”

    Why should UN pay to interns??? Just tell me! Interns to organizations for their own interests.

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  8. yes many foreigner employees come here just to get experience and fill their resume with such and such words like i have served in third world. but the reality is though they come and pretend to work in third world, they never experience the harsh life of the third world. even as they come from industrialized and developed nation, they want to get paid well, and even for doing volunteer they want to get paid which is quite shameful, for doing job in a poor country like nepal.

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  9. Can’t I volunteer for UN at their London office? I want to volunteer all my life, not just for two years, if they cover my living and food expenses.

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  10. Wagle why don’t you quit journalism and apply at the UN man? You can earn hevulla lot than what your Kantipur pays you. Don’t you have any connections with those honchos of UN agencies in Nepal? I prefer UNDP to UNMIN because if Ian Martin doesn’t succeed convincing Nepalese leaders about his usefulness, that mission might come to an end within a year or two. So UNDP means permanency. I tell you your life will be far better. You can work less, earn more and have real fun in life. The only challenge is to get used to with the sucking abbreviations and exhausting bureaucratic hassles. But once you get used to with that, you become the slave of that and your sole intention will be how to exploit the system and safeguard your usefulness. You also have to learn (if you don’t have that capacity already) chakari, you have to put a lot of oil on the ass of your seniors in the UN. But you will love it once you get used to with it, I am sure. Good luck with the applications. Here you start: http://www.un.org.np/job/local.php or http://www.un.org.np/job/international.php

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  11. To those who complain about the high salaries paid to the UN volunteers and calling it a plunder – complain about the UN high salaries, that’s fine, but the bigger problem is the plunder by the Nepalese working for the government and widespread corruption everywhere. Find out which is a bigger problem and solve bigger problems. You can’t even start to compare these – the UN problem is tiny compared to the what happens in the government.

    The locals are not necessarily effective in the local work. If the locals were effective, we would not not need the UN. We would solve all the problems ourselves. Have we done that? One sometimes needs an outside perspective, even if it comes from an unexperienced person from abroad. We innovate very little in our country so we can at least try to imitate using the experiences and perspectives of these volunteers. You also need the neutrality. So, effectiveness has many dimensions. UN is not just about translating English-Nepali . Locals are certainly more effective that people from outside in certain tasks, and I am sure UN employs a lot locals for those tasks.

    To Wagle – I think you are a little out of touch when you say volunteers should not be paid at all. “Volunteer” is an administrative title used by the UN to describe the specific type of jobs we are talking about. What’s the problem here? I think you misunderstand the concept of a dictionary – dictionaries should not dictate how the world should work.

    To the fool from CEC who thinks we have 50 years experience running multiparty elections – what a joke.

    I am not against the UN hiring many more Nepalese but we can also try harder to compete for UN and non-UN jobs locally and abroad based on merit. Sure, the playing field is not even internationally but we don’t produce (in average) students with the skillset necessary for such competitions either. The top students (not just the rich) have no problem whatsoever getting any job anywhere. We have failed the majority of the students though. I don’t hold it against them that they are frustrated when they see people from outside making 40,000 for “seeminly worthless” UN jobs.

    You always have the option to kick the UN out of the country.

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  12. What’s the problem with paying reasonable salaries to people? Salaries should be as high as possible. That’s the only way to address corruption. People should be able to make enough money for a reasonable lifestyle without having to ask for bribes.

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  13. You know why they don’t accept any local nepali people? You give them 5 rupees to get tea, they will get the tea, sip half of it and fill it with water and then give it back to you. All you folks complainning about UN, what have you done to make the country better? Have you done anything useful other than participating in strikes, janashitolan and complaining on this site? BTW, i have noticed that this blog’ has the personality of our so called political leaders. Instead of focusing on the real problems we are facing day to day, they go ahead and write stuff that is of no relevance.

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  14. all youth r ready 2 volunteer for UN for better future prospect n its personal…are these volume of youths r ready 2 volunteer themself for country and hav a guts 2 stand in da frontline of politics….oviously not…we think 4 ownself not 4 other..2day country needs youth..da energetic population dat can shape da world
    and give life to the concept of NAYA NEPAL..i think volunteership must b for own country.. own people…lets think abt it rather than pretending 2 b unaware of da problem..

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  15. Steve is right. Most volunteers don’t get any money at all – in fact they lose money volunteering. The UN is an exception. I think most people would do it for nothing, for the experience and prestige of working for the UN.

    ++A volunteer, as defined in the dictionaries, is someone who works without payment of any kind. I firmly believe that no volunteers should be paid in any way.++

    No, a volunteer is someone who doesn’t get any profit from the venture. Having your basic living costs covered is not profit. BTW, I am not affiliated with the UN and never have been.
    ++
    I am not against foreigners coming here and contributing but I feel there must be a limit.++

    –A very Indian sentiment!

    ++I wondered what experience they have for such contribution. If UN were to “employ” Nepali boys and girls as “volunteers” for jobs inside Nepal, I feel, that would be more effective.++

    In fact the UN Volunteers have to go through a lengthy interview process and the UN is quite choosy. What qualification do the Nepali youths have? Why would they be more effective?

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  16. to add to all your frustrations……..the main reason why the nepalese people cannot be made to handle their political affairs as un volunteers is just for the very simple reason that Nepal as a country couldnt handle their population to begin with with regards to everything including elections. so international volunteers come in to provide an unbiased and an utside perspective of how to professionally solve all of its problems. local volunteers to solve nepals problems is much more crap than un international volunteer crap. i am a un volunteer and i was had the hardest time of my life being chosen to serve in nepal….i was given the briefing of understanding that the nepalese people now what they will do in their upcoming elections but we will be there just to provide advise and assistance to the eletions needs. beng envious of international volunteers allowances is childish and irrelevant to nepalsplight.

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  17. I am sure the UNV would be happy to pay less for its interpretors in Nepal. It isn’t a wealthy organisation, unlike its other UN sister organisations.

    I believe it should pay the market rate for the best translation services in Nepal. One should not confuse average salaries with average translation service salaries.

    I believe if the Nepalese want to get involved in local volunteering or indeed any form of civic engagement, then the fact that there are foreign UN Volunteers should not deter nor prevent them. If anything, I hope the frustration shown by some can be channeled into organising productive and effective volunteering to your own tastes.

    Has anyone raised these concerns with the UN programme officer for Nepal? I would hope he/she would be happy to listens to them – providing the language used calm and without, ‘damm this and the heck that.’

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  18. I totally agree with Ludos.
    The most ironic thing I realized after reading all the above comments is that, Nepalese people have become so frustrated with their environment that they have ceased to see the positive aspect of any matter and all they are willing to see is negativity. The whole conversation above was centered on the MONEY. Everything has a good and bad aspect. Why don’t we try to look at the good aspect of things. If foreigners coming to Nepal and telling us what to do bothers us so much, then why not make Nepal so independent that no one has to help us anymore? Why not do what Japanese did after World War II, why not build our country from the scratch and take it to a new height? Why not stop blaming each other and channelize our mind and energy into one positive direction. All we do these days is take vandalism and voilence. Stop complaining about what others are doing to you, or how they are not favoring you or how they are manipulating you. Make yourself so strong that everyone strats to love and respect you. And yeah, this love and respect has to be earned by yourself, no one else is going to earn that for you.

    And forget about being proud that you are from the country of Mt. Everest. Thats a history now. Do you know what the first question foreigners ask you when you say you are from Nepal? They say “Didn’t your crown prince killed his whole familly and shot himself, can you tell me why he did that?” Think about what will be your answer to that question. And think about how we can change the identiity of Nepal in future.

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  19. Well, I am a student of class 9 and i wanted to know abut u and its work by knowing it practically but I think that it is impossible for the student like us.but if there is some program that are going to be held on Kathmandu or its nearest District then please inform us.

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  20. Amazing.

    People are there to help you. Nepal needs help. It is not a world power. It does not have an election system that is fair and free. It is building itself up. It needs the help of people who have experience in a variety of fields. The term ‘volunteer’ is a technical term and the UN use it differently…this is practive throughout the world…..for example the multiple uses of the word ‘pilot’…the idea is to impart one’s knowledge and experience to enable another to grow and develop – in such a way that they no longer need help.

    Or would you prefer there to be no UN help at all?

    This talk of money makes me think jealousy is in the air…

    People want to help – be gracious and accept it…

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  21. I am an American who studied in Nepal for 5 months, I learned the Nepali, and lived with a family in Sukedara, Kathmandu…

    I must say that one of the most horrifying things I encountered In Nepal was my interaction with an UN volenteer who I met at the American Embassy for a fancy dinner they provided for students in Nepal…

    Here was a woman who was supposed to be “helping” Nepal
    This woman had been in the country for almost a year and hadn’t learned one word of Nepali, hadn’t had one dinner with a Nepali family, hadn’t even made an effort to shop anywhere other than Thamel or Bhatbatini, she had no grip on what was going on in Nepal and what Nepali people who thinking, dreaming, organizing…
    she had never listened to a family discuss politics late at night, or doing Puja for sick family members or encountered a woman washing clothing and cooking dinner and attempting to keep her family healthy and happy with only four hours of power a day in the largest city—

    this woman knew nothing of Nepal or Nepalis and yet she was attempting to “help” she was trying to help “curb” the situation in Nepal (she had not idea what this was, had no conception of the political situation, the social realities of Nepalis…nothing) and spent most of our conversation discussing how dirty the city was…

    I suppose what I am trying to say is “helping people” is not what anyone should be doing at this point— especially in the case of Nepal.

    What we should be doing is letting smaller organization voice the needs of the population, let people work with others to help themselves….the biggest problem with the UN is that people are still believing that their presence is “helping”—this assumption is insulting to Nepali people who have their own agency, own ideas about what is best for communities around the country and are just now feeling as if there is a platform for these ideas and projects.

    stop paying clueless, careless foreigners for work that Nepalis are ready to do, educated and excited enough to perform.

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  22. well, I am development worker and presently working at Rukum district, one of the remote place of the Nepal. I visited different places and made interactions with the people living there who are highly vulnerable and food insecure. It need to be do more then only distributing food as support for them to ensure food security.

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  23. Hi there!
    I just want to comment on a phrase there: volunteering does not mean by definition not being paid. It means offering to do something, sacrificing your time, life, etc, etc to help someone or fight for a cause.

    Not all volunteering is paid, but when it comes to relocating to another country or in remote areas it should be. And you know why? Because – this may come as a surprise – in Europe it’s not raining money!! And someone’s got to pay for the flight there, for food, for clothing, for the rent and so on.

    Going to certain countries involves from the start a danger of getting sick or even die. Or perhaps get kidnapped by some rebels. According to some narrow-minded people, you should jeopardise everything and pay yourself to help others… Well guess what, that’s not going to happen. And don’t worry, nobody got rich working as a volunteer…

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  24. HI I have been reading about lot of Fake NGO’s in Kathmandu Nepal, how do i make sure I will be working with a legit NGO. Please help.

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