Identification and compassion are powerful forces and sources of motivation. Just ask Teclaire Same Moukoudi, a Cameroonian UN Volunteer serving as a Civil Affairs Officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.
"Coming from an underprivileged background myself, I have always been passionate about helping communities like the one I grew up in when it comes to promoting local development and respect for human rights. Being a UN Volunteer has given me an opportunity to do so, and in a multicultural context to boot," the experienced advocate and community mobilizer says.
Based in South Sudan’s capital Juba, Teclaire is putting that experience, and her two university degrees in International Relations and Development Studies, to good use. She is the focal point for the programmatic activities of the Civil Affairs Division’s wide-ranging work in Central Equatoria State, and thus a habitual writer of project reports.
My assignment is also quite hands-on, with me supporting and sometimes conducting capacity building and awareness-raising events and reconciliation-inducing dialogues between communities that have been plagued by often violent conflicts because of competing interests. One example would be farmers and cattle herders not agreeing on how land and water should be used. --Teclaire Same Moukoudi, UN Volunteer Civil Affairs Officer with UNMISS, South Sudan
Far from merely "reactive" activities, Teclaire and the team she works for are also engaged in more proactive initiatives, like the continuous monitoring and analysis of security and socio-political developments on the ground. That is a practice that may sometimes serve as early warnings of things not going well, which in turn enables preventive measures to be taken. Establishing and nurturing new partnerships with relevant stakeholders is another important task undertaken to that effect, as is sharing her knowledge and skills with national staff.
Fortunately for everyone involved, Teclaire Same Moukoudi is also excellent at what she does. "Enthusiastic and self-motivated" with a "keen sense of empathy and commitment" and "strong analytical skills" are just a few of the positive words used by colleagues to describe her.
The finest compliment paid to her, however, is perhaps the affirmation that Teclaire "has created a greater team spirit" – being part of and improving a team is, after all, what volunteering is all about.
This article was first published by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS): Teclaire Same Moukoudi: “Being a UN Volunteer gives me a chance to improve the lives of those in need”.