William Kin first tried out online volunteering while interning with the United Nations Information Centre in South Africa in 2013, where he came across the UNV programme. Since then, he has completed 11 online volunteering assignments for grassroots community-based organizations, international NGOs and UN agencies. William has volunteered around 400 hours of his time for peace and development – and keeps on going.
Born in China, William emigrated with his family to South Africa at the age of two. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and is currently enrolled in a Master’s programme in management, with a focus on entrepreneurship and new venture creation. Driven by a desire to put the skills he has acquired through his studies to good use, William’s contributions as UN Online Volunteer are diverse and multi-faceted. Below are only a few of the development topics that William has engaged in as UN Online Volunteer:
Entrepreneurship for development: William wrote an article on the business environment of Western Sahara for the Associate of African Entrepreneurs – one of the winning teams of the 2013 Online Volunteering Award, which was voted the Public’s Favourite winner. He also served on a panel of judges for the School Enterprise Challenge, run across 80 countries to get schools to set up businesses to fund the education of poverty-affected students by the NGO Teach a Man to Fish, which supports education projects that generate sustainable livelihoods for young people across the developing world.
Post-2015 development agenda: He contributed to an analytical table used to outline gaps and overlaps in the objectives and positions on international priorities of UNDP and a list of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for the post-2015 development agenda. William also configured a virtual space for UNV Malawi and managed its content and user access for contributions to the post-2015 national consultations.
Humanitarian relief: William was in a team of volunteers who geo-tagged images of the damage caused by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, used in UN OCHA’s humanitarian response to the disaster. He also worked with other online volunteers on conducting strategic research on humanitarian funding for War Child, an NGO working to improve the protection and care of children and young people in some of the worst conflict-affected places. The results were used in a strategy workshop with the board of trustees and helped develop the organization’s next 5-year strategy.
William did not want to single out one of his online volunteering assignments as especially rewarding – he insists that they all were, in different ways. He does remember vividly a moment, however, when an organization through which he was mentoring an educational project in a low income community sent him pictures of the school children participating in an event he had supported, bringing the results of his virtual engagement to life.