An Innovative partnership in Thailand brings high-tech skills to the UN through out the region
The first batch of UN University Volunteers in the ASEAN region completed their assignments with UN agencies in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.
“University UN Volunteers are great! They are young and full of enthusiasm. They are always willing to learn, and have new innovative ideas”, Mr. Hak Sok Chea, National Project Coordinator, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Cambodia explains.
Under the new University Volunteer programme with the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Thailand, Kunch, Job and Sudarat completed their six-month assignment in the ASEAN region. As exceptional students with strong backgrounds in innovation, science and engineering, they were selected to contribute to specific development programmes supported by the UN in the region.
Kunch was in his fourth year as a computer engineering student, when he became a University UN Volunteer as a Web/App Developer at the UN Pulse Lab in Jakarta, Indonesia. He became part of the data science team focusing on digital data analysis. “All the projects I had participated in had a huge impact on government and local business sectors” said Kunch.
One of his projects included the analysis of the wealth index in Papua New Guinea where he assisted the government in understanding the situation and data in each area.
“Kunch demonstrated his knowledge and skills early on, helping Pulse Lab advance in several projects,” said George Hodge, Data Science Team Leader, Pulse Lab.
Kunch’s great sense of curiosity and willingness to learn, made him eligible to be trained as a data engineer, where he played a significant role assisting the various projects.
Job is from the Philippines and was obtaining his graduate degree in design and planning when he was selected to become a UN University Volunteer with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Bangkok, Thailand. As part of his assignment, he worked in innovative technologies for intercultural dialogue where he supported various youth projects including the development of the Asia and the Pacific Interagency Network on Youth website.
“I was able to hone my management, communication and networking skills, which are really important for my professional development, especially working on projects related to youth.” Job stated.
The opportunity to become a UN University Volunteer allowed Job to bring in fresh knowledge and skills to the work of UNESCO. Job’s great contribution to the team allowed him to obtain a Youth UN Volunteer assignment for website management and conferences coordination at UNESCO Thailand and since then this new assignment has also been extended.
Sudarat was a third-year student in chemical engineering when she was selected by UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Phnom-Penh, Cambodia to become a University UN Volunteer. She was a technical assistant for a project that aimed at reducing the long-term risks of climate change in industries across Cambodia.
“I worked with people in private sector and ministries in Cambodia to inform them about the impact of the garment, food and beverage industries on the environment,” states Sudarat.
Sudarat helped strategize effective communications with the industries, bringing them onboard to achieve greater adaptation of green technologies across Cambodia.
UNV is currently preparing to dispatch three new UN University Volunteers from KMUTT in 2019. The students will be deployed in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Thailand, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Vietnam and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Cambodia.
Partnership with universities in Asia and the Pacific region allows UNV to recruit excellent students as UN Volunteers. These partnerships not only benefit the students, by giving them an opportunity for hands-on work experience inside the UN; but also gives host UN agencies access to some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the region.