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UN Volunteer Database Assistant Shahin Praveen (India) serves with MONUSCO. Here, she is seen inspecting contingent-owned equipment in Goma, DRC.
UN Volunteer Database Assistant Shahin Praveen (India) serves with MONUSCO. Here, she is seen inspecting contingent-owned equipment in Goma, DRC.

Volunteering for peace as a database and software engineer in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Shahin Praveen is a UN Volunteer based in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She enhances the capacity of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democractic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) through her extensive skills and experience as a software and database engineer. Prior to being selected by MONUSCO, Shahin was working as a database administrator in Delhi, India. Shahin reflects on her time in the DRC and her dream for peace and prosperity.

The DRC is a beautiful and rich country with lots of human and natural resources. Let me congratulate the Congolese people who, in spite of the ordeals facing the country, continue to work for peace.

I joined MONUSCO as a UN Volunteer in March 2016. I am the Contingent-Owned Equipment (COE) Database Assistant, responsible for managing and updating comprehensive electronic files/records on day-to-day activities relating to field units and their inspections to the e-COE databases.

Shahin’s professionalism is built on a foundation of multiple competencies. She has extraordinary technical and client orientation skills and an elevated work ethic. --Shahin's supervisor Mohammed Osana, MONUSCO

I am also the COE technical focal point to United Nations headquarters in New York, assisting with queries or issues related to e-COE database. I support INEED applications for reporting any challenges faced by the COE teams in various sectors and regions.

My work is of value to the peacekeeping mission, because of the necessity to avail deployed equipment and keep contingent-owned equipment fully functional in support of peace and development in DRC.

I have an excellent professional working relationship with my co-workers, which is due in part to the fact that I try to understand people from different backgrounds.

While working in a multicultural environment is not easy, I see it as an opportunity to know and understand different cultures. I have made friends for life during my time in Goma. --UN Volunteer Shahin Praveen, DRC

UN Volunteer Database Assistant Shahin Praveen (India) serves with MONUSCO. Here, she is seen inspecting contingent-owned equipment in Goma, DRC. (UNV, 2018)

The support of my family has been integral to my ability to do this work. I have a husband and a daughter; I couldn’t do this without their support and the joy I get from being around them. We love to travel the world to learn about different cultures.

DRC has been memorable and fruitful in this regard – it has it all in terms of culture, natural resources and natural wonders, such as the jungle, mountains and the gorillas.

Music is an institution in the DRC and one of the most successful music festivals is Amaani. The festival focuses promoting peace, reconciliation and bringing change.  I saw the beautiful, captivating Congolese Rumba for myself and met with the artists and musicians themselves.

Born and raised in India, I can see that the disruptions and upheavals our rites and  customs have gone through has built resilience in our people. This is why the resilience of the Congolese people resonates with me. 

I dream for peace and prosperity for the DRC, for full-fledged progression with tourism and investment from all over the world, leading to development and enhanced well-being.  The UN is doing a great job through its peacekeeping mission, in collaboration with the different agencies in the DRC to improve the lives of the Congolese people.

I hope the DRC will achieve peace and prosperity in the near future.


This article was prepared with the kind support of Online Volunteer Helen Maccan.