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"Making it work"
by Boubacar Ibrahima

Boubacar Ibrahima from Niger, is a UNV volunteer Vehicle Technician with the United Nations Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) in Abeche. (UNV)Boubacar Ibrahima from Niger, is a UNV volunteer Vehicle Technician with the United Nations Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) in Abeche. (UNV)
24 June 2010

Abeche, Chad: I have been very lucky in my life. When I was 16 years old, I left my country to continue my education in other countries. This opportunity allowed me to be exposed to other cultures and this created admiration and respect for diversity.

I needed an opportunity that could allow me to continue being exposed to diversity while making a difference. The biggest of my motivations to become a UNV volunteer is that I really like to help the people in need. It is also one of my principles in my life.

I have more than 25 years of experience. I started working in 1985 as a workshop manager in the Ministry of Transport in Niger, later on in Mali for five years. I obtained my degree Brevet de technician superior (BTS) in Auto Mechanic Engineering.

After that, I obtained my Master’s in Applied Automobile Electronics in Mannheim, Germany. My credentials also allow me to be a teacher/trainer. I teach how automobiles impact the environment. For example, in Niger I was a director for the only Transport Management School in West Africa.
 
Before becoming a UNV volunteer, I was studying for my PhD in Germany in the area of Transportation, Environmental Policy and Automobile Technology. My research was about how public policy can be designed to create environmentally-friendly automobiles in order to decrease the effects of climate change.
 
My official title here in Chad is Vehicle Technician. I have worked in Abeche since April 2008, and I opened the transport sections in Farchana and Goz Beida.

At the moment, I work in the Heavy Equipment Unit dealing with trucks (all of them), heavy and special equipment such as K-loader and Conveyor Belt. This equipment is vital for daily air operations. My responsibility is to ensure that all the heavy and special equipments are properly working and are environmentally-friendly according to UN regulations.

We are all very aware of our challenging working and living conditions. Sometimes when something breaks I think: "How can I do it?!" My biggest accomplishment is when I make it work despite all the odds.

On one occasion, I had to fix a telescopic forklift (to load containers and so on into aeroplanes). It was very challenging due to its complexity. Situations like this demand the best of you, even the best of your creativity.

Participating in programmes to develop the capacity of our national staff is also one of my accomplishments. Those are challenges that give me more satisfaction.
 
I try to spend as much time as possible at one of the local orphanages here in Abeche. Also, the local population needs to develop vocational skills, especially on automobiles. I would like to see how I can make an impact outside my work, for example by training refugees and the local population on fixing equipment… and changing the driving mentality.

Every day at work, I try to make a difference by doing my job with creativity, passion and dedication. I believe that we all make a difference by doing our jobs and working together as a team.
UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)