Abraham Poudiogo, Medical Laboratory Technician with MINUSCA, in the medical laboratory.
Abraham Poudiogo, Medical Laboratory Technician with MINUSCA, in the medical laboratory.

UN Volunteers at the forefront of peacekeeping missions

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme brings a range of expertise to peacekeeping missions by deploying volunteers from around the world. UN Volunteers at the forefront of peacekeeping missions are civilians, working alongside military and police officers whose mission is to contribute to sustainable peace. They share the common goal of protecting the most vulnerable and supporting countries transitioning from war to peace.

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), established in September 2014, now has over 305 UN Volunteers. On the occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, we share a video message from Mr Emmanuel K. Agawu, Chief of Operations and Resource Management at MINUSCA.

UN Volunteers Abraham Poudiougo (Mali), Olivier Uwiragiye (Rwanda) and Marie Chantal Mukandori (Burundi) are all committed to the MINUSCA mission to bring their knowledge alongside the peacekeepers.

According to Abraham, a 43-year-old Medical Laboratory Technician, his participation in the MINUSCA laboratory team has improved continuity of service for COVID-19 testing, case follow-ups, certification for international travel and post-travel recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to adapt to a different way of life than before, but the Mission must continue its security, stabilization, and peacekeeping role. --Abraham Poudiougo, UN Volunteer Medical Laboratory Technician with MINUSCA

Despite the risks he faces every day, Abraham is proud to be a UN Volunteer with MINUSCA. "They trusted me when they picked me for this position. Knowing that I have lived up to expectations is a source of pride for me," he says. He took a risk in leaving his previous job at Gabriel Touré University Hospital in Bamako for UNV, but he believes the impact he is having on the mission at a time when the world is facing great uncertainty is worth it.

In the medical section, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was a staff shortage. Olivier, a 39-year-old Medical Nurse who joined MINUSCA in July 2021, believes that he and the other UN Volunteers have greatly contributed to improving the quality of health services provided, especially for COIVD-19. Thanks to his team, the mortality and morbidity rate of COVID-19, malaria and other diseases that were spreading among MINUSCA personnel has been significantly reduced. 

As a Public Health Specialist, Olivier's work in MINUSCA consists of a combination of nursing and public health surveillance activities that contribute to the early detection, screening and management of patients with various infectious diseases such as malaria, COVID-19, and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension. 

UN Volunteers deployed in peacekeeping missions are highly skilled, highly motivated and have extensive relevant experience. UNV has been a vital resource for MINUSCA since its inception. --Mr Emmanuel K. Agawu, Chief of Operations and Resource Management at MINUSCA

Through the work of Olivier and his peers, the Level 1 clinic has been able to screen more patients for COVID-19, rapidly detect more confirmed cases, monitor confirmed cases and trace their close contacts for a follow-up. Furthermore, since he began his assignment, the mortality rate from COVID-19 has been reduced to zero at the end of 2021. Despite the resurgence of COVID-19 seen in early 2022, Olivier believes his team is well prepared to respond and that it is no longer a major problem in MINUSCA.

Olivier Uriwagye, before his tour to see the patients.
UN Volunteer Medical Nurse Olivier Uriwagye, before his tour to see the patients. ©UNV, 2022

Marie Chantal is a 56-year-old Judicial Affairs Officer who served more than 21 years in the Burundian government and nearly five years with The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Through her work, she contributes to the implementation of MINUSCA's mandate. 

It is essential to help the court set up in the area under its jurisdiction to better fulfill its mission of providing justice in accordance with national laws, considering gender, in respect of human rights and international standards. "We cannot claim to build peace in a country where there is no effective judicial system. Justice is the guarantee of fundamental human rights," says Marie Chantal.

Chantal's role has been instrumental in collaborating and sensitizing local communities, as well as coordinating her office's activities and liaising with other sections of the regional office and her section's central office. She facilitates outreach activities and takes great pride in raising awareness about access to justice and the rule of law for all and mentoring informal justice actors. Marie Chantal also provides advisory, technical, and logistical support to judges in the fight against impunity.


In addition, Marie Chantal works closely with the legal clinic run by the Association of Women Lawyers of the Central African Republic, which operates with a joint budget from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and MINUSCA. She coaches their staff to help them better fulfill their legal assistance mission.

So far, very promising results have been observed in the treatment of cases of gender-based violence (GBV), which is now done in accordance with the law. The population is now better aware of the means to access justice and their rights. --Marie Chantal Mukandori, UN Volunteer Judicial Affairs Officer with MINUSCA

In a globalized world where solidarity and partnership between communities are more essential than ever, UNV is at the forefront of this collective effort to contribute to peace and development through partnership and sustained support to various UN entities, while addressing issues of inequality, exclusion, and safety.