Integral ecology

Working for a better world

International Volunteer Day was celebrated on Monday, December 5. Manos Unidas took advantage of this occasion to focus on those people who give themselves selflessly to others.

Paloma López Campos-December 11, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
Human rights

Human Rights (Photo: Unsplash / Markus Spiske)

What is Manos Unidas?

Manos Unidas aims to fight against hunger, poor nutrition, misery, disease, underdevelopment and lack of education. They define their vision as "that every person, man and woman, by virtue of their dignity, be capable of being, by themselves, responsible agents of their own material improvement, moral progress and spiritual development, and enjoy a life of dignity".

With this in mind, the values of this organization, among others, are the dignity of the person, the common good, solidarity, the culture of peace, volunteerism and quality".

Lines of work

Manos unidas draws its inspiration for its work from the Gospel and the Social Doctrine of the Church. Specifically, it develops two lines of work that can be summarized as awareness-raising and development cooperation.

In terms of awareness-raising, the organization wants to publicize and denounce the existence of hunger and poverty, specifying the causes and possible solutions to these major crises.

Through development cooperation, Manos Unidas seeks to raise the economic resources necessary to finance plans, projects and programs that address the needs of more than 800 million people in the world.


More than 97% of the people who form part of Manos Unidas are volunteers. In total, the organization has 6,156 volunteers. Of these, 3% are young (people between the ages of 20 and 29). Another 3% are between 30 and 39 years old, but the vast majority are between 50 and 69 years old (47% of volunteers).

All these people who help the organization have made it possible for 1,524,954 people to benefit from their efforts in 2021. In addition to volunteers, Manos Unidas is also grateful for the participation of partners and collaborators, who number 76,928. 

In total, 50,823,998 euros were raised in 2021. Of the expenses incurred by the organization, 83.5% were devoted to financing development projects. In addition, they invested more than 33 million euros to fight hunger. Right now, Manos Unidas has 721 projects underway in 51 countries in Asia, America and Africa, working with more than 400 local organizations.

A new way of looking at volunteering

José Valero, vice-president of Manos Unidas and head of the new People Area, says that "the social moment in which we find ourselves, where individualism reigns and where the future employment of young people is uncertain, we must take a step forward, be brave and make a commitment to young people, without neglecting the rest of the volunteers".

There is a need for young people, to increase the 3% figure a little. To do this, the objective is to work on what young people value most in terms of volunteer organizations, which is "feeling at ease in the organization, valued and loved". To this end, Valero says that Manos Unidas intends "to increase this and give them more weight in decision-making".

"All of this," says the vice-president, "without forgetting the older volunteers. We want to give them "all the recognition, gratitude and support they need, as they are a fundamental part of the organization".

And, with all this, what is the concept of volunteering that Manos Unidas wants to transmit? On their website, they explain that being a volunteer means:

-Being part of an organization.

-Join a group of people who want to change the world.

-Join forces to end hunger and poverty.

-Promoting awareness in Spain.

-To be part of the process through which projects succeed.

-Participate in advocacy campaigns.

-Organizing solidarity events.

-Echoing the information on social networks.

-Improving the planet.

-Transforming society.

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