"Volunteering became something very important to me ten years ago, when I retired from my job. After working all my life in the media, having an interesting and well paid job, I decided that in the third part of my life I needed to give things in return to society.
I am not here to build a career, I already had one, I'm here to give my service to those who need it", says Umberto Bonetti, a 72 year old Italian-American UNV volunteer assigned to Blue Nile State as a Civic Voter Education Officer, with UNMIS Electoral Assistance team.
Umberto supports the Blue Nile Electoral State High Committee, advising with regard to organising workshops which aim to explain to voters the importance of and the procedures for voting. One of the projects that Umberto has enjoyed the most, as he felt his expertise was best used, was assisting the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the development of the media messages which among other aimed to stress the importance and secrecy of voting and encourage women to vote.
Umberto only recently became interested in the UNV programme. Rewinding Umberto remembers:
"My first volunteer experience was about 40 years ago when I was living in Uruguay. There I discovered a charity organisation finding foster families for abandoned children. I was so passionate with that work that I ended up adopting two baby girls who became part of my family of five children.
Another amazing volunteer experience was with a commission set-up by UNESCO which assisted in re-building and re-launching the Afghan Educational TV system. I also volunteered with Peace Corps, in El Salvador, strengthening local public service delivery.
Every time I leave home to do volunteer work abroad, my family protests, asking me why I am not serving the needy people at home: I do, I help deliver food to people with mobility problems. But for me humanitarian work and recovery assistance goes hand in hand with adventure and discovery. And I am in it for that as well."