V-Force is an initiative of UNV Sri Lanka which aims to bring together individuals who are passionate about volunteering. Initiated as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10) in 2011, V-Force recently exceeded the milestone of 8000 active volunteers who render their services for projects carried out by various UN agencies.The new Sustainable Development Agenda identifies volunteer groups as distinct actors that implement progressive change. V-Force provides a space for interaction between individuals passionate about volunteering and UN Agencies, while leveraging the energy of volunteers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.Volunteerism is a two-way street, as volunteers find the experience personally rewarding and beneficial while giving back to their community. By actively being a part of events and activities within the UN, V-Force volunteers strengthen work-specific skills including project coordination, management, teamwork and effective communication. Further, V-Force also provides the volunteers with an insight into the development sector.Since its inception, V-Force volunteers have proudly supported a number of UN initiatives including the World Conference on Youth, Twinning Schools, V-Awards, International Youth Day, UN Day and OPA Conference, amongst many other resourceful projects. Recently, the V-Force model has been adopted by UNV Country Offices in Bolivia and Bangladesh, a testament to the model of V-Force and the effectiveness of it.
More about V-Force
Role of V-Force
Given the dynamic context in Sri Lanka and worldwide, V-Force provides UNV with an unprecedented opportunity to play a critical role in the achievement of the SDGs in Sri Lanka by widening dialogue spaces and designing innovative models for stakeholder engagement and monitoring. Building on the comparative advantage of volunteerism to convene people from many different social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds to work towards a common goal this project has the potential to take a concrete step towards the future of volunteerism: fostering collective intelligence, providing opportunities for increasing youth volunteerism, linking volunteers to the needs expressed by partners, ensure inclusion and promote gender equality, and work in collaborative and innovative partnerships. Furthermore, on a global scale this project could be considered a pilot that could potentially be replicated in other countries, hence multiplying the positive effect of this investment. V-Force was initiated in 2011 with a small group of 10 individuals. The group continued to grow through words of mouth and public outreach initiatives organized by UNV. As memberships grew, there was a need to formalize the V-Force recruitment process. This resulted in the creation of an online document that was shared amongst volunteers and facilitated the collection of volunteers’ data. This also ensured that all information was available on an easy-to-access document. Subsequently, a repository sheet was introduced in 2013, to streamline the process of requesting volunteers and enabled the maintenance of data such as the record of events, the total count of volunteers and their skill set. This database has since grown to include over 8000 motivated volunteers, and thus needs to be evaluated taking into consideration the change in environment and volunteer commitment.
What do we want to know?
The V-Force system comprises multiple levels of stakeholders and for the purpose of this study key stakeholder groups were consulted. These includes founding members of V-Force, former volunteers, current members and UN staff members who have previously engaged V-Force in activities hosted by their respective agencies. Engagement with this cross section of individuals provides perspectives on past and current trends as well as points of view from different levels of the management structure of V-Force. It is vital to gain an accurate understanding of the existing levels of engagement of V-Force within the UN system.
This feasibility study has been conducted to ensure a better understanding of the V-Force and the dynamic changes it has gone through over the years. The study aims to enable the identification of the most efficient management structure for V-Force, potential for scale up and explore potential financial models to ensure its sustainability.
This has been achieved by analyzing V-Force repository sheets. Although the repository sheets were introduced only in 2013, two years after the formation of V-Force, they are the most accurate and current records available to indicate V-Force engagement. Founding members of the V-Force, past volunteers and UN staff members were consulted through one-on-one interviews.
Where do we stand now?
Prior to proposing any new changes, it is important to understand and analyze the current situation with respect to V-Force. This situation analysis will look at current membership, number of volunteers engaged and key areas of V-Force contribution towards UN agencies. This analysis will also look at the current management system being used to mobilize V-Force. In addition, taking into consideration the objective of increasing volunteer opportunities, this section will also evaluate the overall presence of the UN system in Sri Lanka, as this will facilitate the evaluation of volunteer opportunities beyond Colombo.