Case Study

Large-scale government-supported volunteer networks for crisis response: Peru and UN Volunteer program

Aging In Place
Crisis Settings

A volunteer program co-ordinated by the Peruvian government, supported by the UN Volunteers program, checked in on nearly 100,000 high-risk older adults during the covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that their needs were being met.

The focus: Vulnerable older adults during the covid-19 pandemic have been exposed to new risks while also forcing them into isolation. The Peruvian government wanted to ensure that these adults were safe, healthy and having their psychosocial needs met. 

How it works: Volunteers call high-risk older adults to assess their physical and mental wellbeing and ensure that these needs are being met. The Bicentennial Volunteers program, which had been established in 2019 to serve the Pan-American games, recruited the volunteers. UN Volunteer staff also recruited and trained volunteers, co-ordinating with the Peruvian government.

Enabling environment: The Bicentennial Volunteers program, UN Volunteers and other Peruvian government actors were the driving force behind the program. It was initiated on 31st March 2020 as an extension of the Amachay Network, which was established on 15th March 2020 to provide covid-19 protection and prevention services to high-risk older adults and individuals with disabilities. The Amachay Network includes the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, as well as regional and local governments. This network made use of pre-existing government information on high-risk older adults to develop a roster of potential beneficiaries.

Impact: In a matter of days, Peru solicited roughly 20,000 volunteers to help support hundreds of thousands of at-risk older Peruvians. By June 2020, over 7,000 volunteers had already made multiple calls to an estimated 150,000 older adults, contacting almost 98,000 of them.

Sources Include

Sources include:

Aprueban la Directiva N° 007-2020-MIDIS denominada “Documento Técnico para la implementación de la Red de Soporte para la Persona Adulta Mayor con Alto Riesgo y la Persona con Discapacidad Severa, frente al COVID-19”, (2020). Available from: 


 Harvey OMaI. Volunteers redirect efforts to address COVID-19 in Peru [Internet]. UN Volunteers. Available from: