Being a UNICEF field worker can be a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity that is both rewarding and challenging. UNICEF improves the lives of children around the world with services like education, clean water and sanitation improvement and more. However, the work can be a bit of departure if you're used to the creature comforts of home. If mosquito netting and pumping water from a well is no big deal, you could be UNICEF's ideal candidate.
Complete an undergraduate degree in a field related to one of UNICEF’s areas of interest, such as social sciences, human rights, law or technical fields related to child protection. All UNICEF field volunteers must be citizens of the United States, at least 25 years old, and hold a bachelor's degree or higher.
Work in a field that coincides with UNICEF's mission to aid children around the world. In addition to a college or university degree, you'll need at least two years of relevant, demonstrable work experience. If your resume is lacking in this area, consider building it up by volunteering or working at an organization that focuses on community development, childhood education, health care or agriculture.
Learn a second language or simply get a refresher, as sufficient knowledge of at least one of the United Nations’ working languages -- English, French and Spanish -- is also required.
Create an online profile on the United Nations Volunteer page. Complete the registration form, answering questions about your education and work history, and preferred volunteer position.
Wait for United Nations Volunteers to contact you. According to the UNV website, the time between your registration and when a volunteer opportunity becomes available varies. Submitting a profile does not guarantee placement, and generally, the agency contacts between 5 and 10 candidates for a particular assignment.
- UNICEF FAQ: How can I volunteer for UNICEF in the field?
- UN Volunteers: Qualifications and Conditions of Service
- University of Michigan Human Rights Library: UNICEF
- UN Volunteer Description of Assignment: International UN Volunteer
- UN Volunteers: How Long Does it Take to be Assigned as a UN Volunteer?
- Volunteers can also submit by mailing a resume to United Nations Volunteers at:
- United Nations Volunteers
- c/o Peace Corps
- 1111 20th Street NW
- Washington, DC 20526
- UNICEF volunteers are often deployed to stations where basic resources, such as electricity and running water, may be limited or altogether lacking. According to United Nations Volunteers, most volunteers are given six- to 12-month renewable contracts, with the expectation of at least one year of service. Volunteers are deployed to countries based on need, not personal preference. Therefore, it is crucial that prospective volunteers demonstrate a deep commitment to UNICEF’s mission, and are fully prepared to adjust to a new lifestyle, culture and work environment.
Based in Atlanta, Pamela Henman has been writing marketing- and advertising-related articles since 2006. Previously, she covered arts and entertainment news for "AUC Magazine," "The Signal" and "The Urbanite." She received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Georgia State University.