Ayesha Noor, Bangladesh, Civil Affairs Expert, UNMIL
Monrovia, Liberia: As a Civil Affairs staff with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, our daily intervention has built confidence among the local people that if any problem is reported it will be addressed. It can be either in conflict resolution, assistance mobilizing or capacity building of staff.
In a way, I build bridges and communication between UNMIL, Government and the people we serve.
My assistance to the Superintendent’s office and other line ministries supports the restoration of state authority; the mediation and coordination role helps in conflict management and reconciliation. I ensure mission representation, and facilitation at the local level. I monitor socio-economic, political and security development too.
A typical day includes coordination among UNMIL sections, UN agencies and NGOs to assist the local government in its daily operations. I follow up the actions of local government and gain feedback from the central level; aid in capacity building for government officials; support the participatory planning process; and assess needs and mobilize assistance through the ‘One UN’ Country Support Team (CST) mechanism as the co-facilitator.
I'm also involved in liaison with the local government authority and civil society to assist them in focusing on priority development areas. The conflict resolution and peace building aspects of my work proceed through engaging the conflicting groups in consultation and encouraging the Government to take the lead in conflict management.
Lastly, I help in the initiation of Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), facilitate meetings, and assist the local government in writing reports.
As you can see, I encounter a great variety of tasks and problems - such as a bridge that literally needed rebuilding. The Y-junction bridge in Voinjama is situated in a strategic place that leads to both the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization office and UNMIL’s military company base, while also connecting to bordering Guinea. I came up with the idea of rehabilitating the bridge through the joint collaboration of UN agencies, local government and NGOs before the rains started. Otherwise all normal operations would be slowed down.
The idea was well appreciated. UNMIL, the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Regional Affairs Office (RAO) and the military all contributed along with the Reconstruction, Reinstallation and Rehabilitation (RRR) team. The City Mayor and Superintendent also actively took part in the process of getting timber for the bridge.
The necessary materials were collected and the bridge repairs started right on time. All the partners pulled together and assisted the rehabilitation efforts.
Community disputes over boundaries are very common where I work. In Gonolahun town during late 2007 there were tensions, even armed conflicts, over the ownership of land between Lofa and Gbarpolu counties. I liased with our UN Military Observer team and requested a special flight, since they had that capability and the border area was inaccessible by road.
I facilitated a three-day visit of a team of legislators from various levels of the Government. They commended Civil Affairs for the very timely intervention. Their assessment was that if we had been a few days later, there might have been serious problems between the counties. But after the visit, people from both counties promised to live peacefully and share the land equally.
And I also try to help people get access to the services they deserve. While I was writing a report on the third largest Guthrie Rubber Plantation and Ex-Combatants in Bomi County, I visited the area and found that the only school in that area was in a vulnerable condition. Almost 600 students were enrolled for that academic year (2006).
I informed the school principal about the UNMIL's Quick Impact projects and encouraged him to apply for funds to rehabilitate the school, also assisting in identifying a professional implementing partner. This QIP project was identified one of the best-managed projects.
When my work brings positive results to the community, when people are benefited, it gives me enormous satisfaction.
|Home | Contact us | FAQs | Search | Sitemap | UNDP Information Disclosure Policy|
|UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)|