HRD-UN Volunteer Yumiko Kaneko during a visit to a camp for internally displaced persons in Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines.

Building inclusive and resilient communities in Muslim Mindanao

Bangsamoro, officially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is an autonomous region of the Philippines where the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting sustainable and inclusive peacebuilding. Yumiko Kaneko (Japan) served as UN Volunteer Peacebuilding and Resilience Officer with UNDP from May 2018 onwards. She supported the post-conflict recovery of local governments and communities affected by the Marawi Siege and provided technical assistance to the transitional authority.

Yumiko served through the Global Human Resource Development Programme for Peacebuilding and Development (HRD) of the Government of Japan, and supported two projects funded by Japan.

One of these was a project for the prevention of violent extremism in Muslim areas, which is a priority in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. UNDP has provided technical advice to local governments and organized knowledge platforms for stakeholders, such as religious leaders, community heads, academics, officers, internally displaced persons, indigenous people and youth.

The other was the assistance to the Normalization Process and Peace Process in Mindanao province, which is also supported by UNDP. This refers to the verification and decommissioning of former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and securing security and stability in the area. UNDP has worked on constructing security stations and procuring necessary equipment, including vehicles and ICT devices. Yumiko supported both projects during her assignment.

Under the normalization project, Yumiko assisted with project administration, for example hosting coordination meetings with development partners, including the Embassy of Japan and the Joint Peace and Security Committee, Joint Peace and Security Teams and others, to promote active discussion and build plans. Yumiko also drafted concept notes and project documents, designed activities and prepared reports on programme monitoring and impact evaluation.

“I am grateful to have worked with UNDP Philippines as a Peacebuilding and Resilience Officer," Yumiko said. "I needed to address hard, urgent and multiple tasks with patience, on a daily basis. My experience improved not only my practical skills in project management, but also my personality."

Through her assignment, Yumiko hopes to have contributed to the capacity development of partners and helped move the Normalization Process forward. Not only that, but she has significantly developed her own personal resilience and professional skills and has clear ambitions for the future.

Following my experience as an HRD-UN Volunteer, I would like to further develop my project management skills in UNDP to be able to provide technical and political advice on building resilient governance and communities in post-conflict situations. --Yumiko Kaneko, HRD-UN Volunteer Peacebuilding and Resilience Officer with UNDP, the Philippines

HRD-UN Volunteer Yumiko Kaneko during a visit to a Joint Peace and Security Team site in Pikit, Mindanao, the Philippines. ©UNV, 2019

Yumiko’s assignment contributed to SDG 16: Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

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