Mission, Aims & Values

Through a range of volunteering in Wales and the world, UNA Exchange promotes and supports international understanding, cultural exchange and community development whilst at the same time enabling volunteers’ personal growth & development. UNA Exchange volunteers always work in partnership with local community groups.


  • To promote international understanding through voluntary service
  • To enable people from all backgrounds to encounter and understand different cultures
  • To encourage the concept of voluntary service as a force in the search for peace, equality, democracy and international understanding
  • To assist in community development
  • To provide opportunities for the people of Wales to become aware of international issues


The role of volunteering in international development

UNA Exchange believes in volunteering as a powerful force for positive change in the world. The learning that comes from people living and working together contributes to a deeper understanding of the world, leading to an awareness and appreciation of differences and similarities between cultures. This equips people with the skills, experiences and knowledge with which to make informed choices and decisions about the way they live their lives. As an international organisation, UNA Exchange is committed to involving people from different cultural backgrounds in all levels of its work – such as in the activities, management, offices, etc.

Youth development

UNA Exchange is a National Voluntary Youth Organisation and works towards nationally recognised standards of youthwork practice in Wales. The Youth Work Curriculum Statement for Wales provides a framework through which we ensure our activities are Educative, Participative, Empowering and Expressive. We ensure that appropriate levels of support, preparation and follow-up are provided to volunteers, to maximise the potential for individual learning and development. We work actively with Youth & Community workers in Wales to introduce and develop the international activities that take place alongside conventional youth work.

Inclusion & accessibility

The individual volunteers with whom we work come from all walks of life and we try to ensure our activities are open to all. We believe that everyone has something to offer and something to gain, whether unemployed, studying, working or retired. The great majority of our programmes are open to everyone, regardless of skills, but some have limits due to funding criteria (European Voluntary Service (EVS) is the major exception, with an upper age limit of 30). We work with Youth and Community workers in Wales to encourage and support the involvement of young people who may have no experience of international work or volunteering, to help them take advantage of our opportunities and use them as a stepping stone to move on to something else.


It is a reality that people from countries in the northern hemisphere have more opportunities to travel internationally, and that is the same in our field of work. But as an international organisation, UNA Exchange is concerned to involve people from all parts of the world in its work. Each year we invite, and in some cases financially support, volunteers from the global South (Africa, Asia and Latin America) to Wales, to participate in our activities and share their ideas and experiences. The involvement of volunteers from developing countries greatly enriches our activities and the local communities in which they work.


UNA Exchange has a Fairtrade policy through which we are committed to promoting awareness of the principles and potential of Fairtrade. Where possible we only purchase Fairtrade products for our activities and events. On our International Volunteer Projects we promote (and in some cases financially support) the use of Fairtrade produce.

Environmental awareness

We take our environmental responsibilities seriously. In Wales we try to ensure the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste during all volunteering activities. We encourage volunteers and participants to think about and act upon their own responsibilities by incorporating environmental issues into our educational programmes.

Education and Learning

As an educational charity, UNA Exchange places a high value on the principle of lifelong learning and all our activities are planned and organised in ways which will maximise the learning potential for all participants (ourselves included). The educational value of international work is incorporated into all aspects of the organisation, including management and staffing.

A View of UNA Exchange

UNA Exchange is leading the way in global education in Wales. By bringing together international volunteers from the North and South and engaging with the local community – schools, youth groups, community-based organizations – they are encouraging respect for diversity, an understanding of global issues and the value of volunteering at a local level. No other organisation is engaging Welsh communities with such a broad spectrum of nationalities, viewpoints and cultures. With over 30 years’ experience of facilitating intercultural learning and development education, all activities are accompanied by training of the highest quality that challenges, stimulates and empowers.

Cathrin Daniel, Executive Director, Dolen Cymru