There are two kinds of people

There are two kinds of people; Those who go by the books; and those who take a detour, away from the norm, in pursuit of purpose and it pays off. I took a detour, and I landed at the United Nations.

I am currently a National United Nations Volunteer, serving as the Communications Executive for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Kenya. Simplified, my everyday work includes supporting the Communications needs of the programmes run by UNDP Kenya.

Volunteering wasn’t always the plan. I simply wanted to be in a space where I felt that my work contributed to making our communities better. After graduation, I worked in the newsroom, it was fulfilling, but only when I told the stories of communities; Feature Stories. I later had a stint in advertising; we would do great adverts, but something was still lacking. I needed more. And so after about a year, I resigned from my paying job, & made the deliberate choice to volunteer.

Joyous Begisen, National UN Volunteer from Kenya sharing her story during the TICAD VI Conference in Nairobi

It was while volunteering at Mukuru Slums that I got this amazing opportunity with the United Nations Volunteers. What UNV has given me is a platform to contribute my skills and my time for development on a larger scale. My assignment at UNDP Kenya has allowed me to be part of the conceptualization and realization of initiatives that have transformed the lives of communities in the most remote parts of Kenya.

There is a huge youth bulge in this country. Truth is, we can’t all be employed, and we cannot all be entrepreneurs. This should not be the reason we shelve our skills and our talents. We are in our most productive years and there is so much we can do to transform our country if we chose to volunteer in the areas we are passionate about. In addition to contributing to development, volunteerism comes with solid networks, and invaluable experience. Embracing this paradigm shift, that volunteerism too is an option, means that instead of gravitating towards social evils, the youth bulge becomes a force for good and immensely contributes to the growth of the nation.

Joyous A.L. Begisen, National United Nations Volunteer, Communications Executive — United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) Kenya