FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation

Young talents at FAO

Photo collage by ©FAO/Anna Glukhova. Photos submitted by Rinat Kapev and Kamila Novak

Excellent start in life with UN Volunteers


In 2020 and 2021 Rinat Kapev and Kamila Novak won the recruitment process for the UN Volunteers (UNV), financed by the Russian Federation and organized specially for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). They underwent a competitive procedure and were selected for vacant positions in resource mobilization and monitoring.

Rinat was picked as volunteer for FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (FAO REU) and Kamila was recruited to the FAO Country Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina and acquired a volunteer status. Kamila has been a sustainable development professional for more than 12 years. She has vast experience in international volunteering as well as project-focused work experience in other UN system agencies. Rinat received field-specific education in Russia, Slovakia, Hungary and the USA, he completed a number of short-term training programmes in the Czech Republic and Germany, and he has taken credit for several internships in international organizations that have always been his main career aspiration.

Kamila and Rinat learned about volunteer recruitment from different information sources: Rinat received a relevant vacancy link on social network from his friend, while Kamila had already been registered with the UN Volunteers Programme (UNV) and she got an email newsletter containing this information.

What did motivate these committed young people to choose FAO from the UNV list of open positions? What useful advice could they give to future volunteers today, drawing on their experience?

Initially they took up their duties remotely from Russia, and for now they have been working in Sarajevo and Budapest for several months. The COVID-19 pandemic compelled them to adjust to specific working conditions. Kamila believes “this challenging year brought out the overall importance of flexibility as a professional and personal quality.” Although Rinat had an experience of working remotely, he notes that “the support from FAO colleagues helped me fit into the new working environment.”

Rinat says independence and proactive approach are essential for his work. “A good volunteer should be committed to the UN principles and strive to contribute to global development. Moreover, a volunteer has to be able to work in an intercultural environment, quickly adjust to new living conditions and, of course, learn fast”, says Rinat, summarizing his experience.

“I applied only for one position. Nine years ago, I worked on a project in Bosnia and Herzegovina for three months, that is why I knew I would feel at ease at a familiar place. I have always been interested in monitoring and social impact assessment, besides, I wanted to receive practical experience within an organization which conducts its project activities in accordance with established metrics and indicators”, describes Kamila her preferences in working with FAO.

Kamila willingly goes into details of her working day: “Our team is small, so almost every morning we drink tea or coffee in a nearby café, where we discuss outstanding issues.

Currently my job consists in drafting proposals and projects upon request from some donors as well as preparing tenders for targeted funding, for example, from such organizations as the Green Climate Fund. As for now, I am drafting a regional-level proposal from five FAO Country Offices in response to an open tender, which is going to bring together more than 10 partner organizations, also I am developing a project application. I hope the latter will be a success, although it is hard to get immediate results in resource mobilization. For example, the decision on the application will not be issued until the fourth quarter of this year.

The FAO REU leadership has recently participated in a week-long "virtual" visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina that I organized, which featured online meetings with Ambassadors and top officials from donor organizations.”

Rinat, in his turn, elaborated on his tasks within FAO REU. “I work directly with Uzbekistan, Armenia and Serbia. For instance, I am helping FAO Office in Uzbekistan and local authorities establish partnerships with international organizations and other countries to promote agricultural development, strengthen food security and ensuring sustainable natural resources management.

In April we are presenting the FAO 2021-2025 Country Programme to our partners worldwide. So, I developed two approaches to programme development (business development portfolio for Uzbekistan) that will be showcased at this high-level meeting. In late April we are organizing a two-week virtual FAO mission with international partners to establish partnerships and seek common ground for cooperation. We are anticipating bilateral meetings with 12 partners from different countries.

The FAO REU leadership instructed me and Kamila to jointly develop a region-wide monitoring and assessment tool that will allow the FAO REU and Country Offices personnel to effectively monitor and assess project implementation in the region.”

Rinat pointed out that to instil an interest in agricultural development in today's youth “creating favourable business climate in rural areas is vital, and that is exactly what FAO is doing.”

“We need an integrated approach to rural areas development, so that young people could have access to high-quality healthcare, education, energy, roads, Internet and enjoyable leisure activities”, Kamila says.

“There are numerous programmes for talented youth in the UN system, you just should not be afraid to try. Be active in exploring international life, inquire the developing countries’ issues and develop intercultural communication skills. This is crucial for effective work at FAO”, Rinat advises.

“Working for an intergovernmental organization has always been my dream. I had a unique opportunity to know and to work with brilliant people, truly committed to their profession and humanitarian values. I would like to use my knowledge of the sustainable development agenda in business context as well. That is why I will try to combine these two universes in my future endeavours – intergovernmental organizations and businesses, perhaps within a department for the relations with private sector inside an intergovernmental organization”, Kamila confesses.

“I like my team, my job and I am glad to use my knowledge and skills to contribute to the achievement of SDG 2. So, my plan is to proceed with my career at FAO”, says Rinat in conclusion.


Volunteers recruitment for FAO was aimed specifically at Russian citizens as part of the UN Volunteers with the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.


UN Volunteers in FAO serve in a wide range of technical and operational areas. UNV manages a Global Talent Pool of candidates with qualified work experience, ready to support FAO’s work. If you are interested in becoming a UN Volunteer, please create your profile in the UNV Global Talent Pool.

The FAO Regular Volunteer Programme is managed by FAO. The programme ensures proactive strategic approach to large-scale mobilization of volunteers from FAO Member States to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and ensure food security. You are invited to apply for participation in FAO Regular Volunteer Programme for Europe and Central Asia until 9 August 2021.

Join in achieving “no hunger” world! Follow new job openings on FAO website.


The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).