In 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) deployed 35 UN Volunteers in nine countries of the Middle East and North Africa region. Serving as specialists, youth and experts, some of these motivated and skilled UN Volunteers bolstered efforts in migrant protection, communications and interpretation. Others supported project management, including monitoring and evaluation. Find out how two national UN Volunteers with IOM in Cairo are providing protection and assistance to migrants vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse, including victims of trafficking.
Volunteers have contributed to the success of our strategic deliverables at all levels in the field and the region. --Othman Belbeisi, IOM Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa
In Cairo, Yasmine Hassan served as a UN Volunteer Migrant Protection Assistant with the Direct Assistance Team. She conducted screening activities to determine eligibility for cash and non-cash assistance, including food vouchers, blankets and medical care. Yasmine maintains a caseload of persons receiving care, comprised of migrants with disabilities, gender-based violence survivors, victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups. In parallel, the UN Volunteer is enrolled in a university public policy programme.
"IOM is needed more than ever in today’s troubling times, and I would like to play my part," says Yasmine. "Joining IOM was one of my dreams," she adds.
My aim is to reduce risks for people who are exposed to abuse, exploitation, violence, neglect and deprivation, while increasing their capacities. Dealing with victims of trafficking, violence and other vulnerable applicants gives me a strong sense of fulfilment, as I feel that supporting them makes a big difference. --Yasmine Hassan, UN Volunteer Migrant Protection Assistant with IOM, Egypt
Miriam el Giziry is a UN Volunteer Media and Digital Communications Associate with IOM. She leverages her language skills in Arabic, English, French and Spanish to engage media focal points from 16 countries in the region on a daily basis. Also located in Cairo, she translates and updates content for the regional website and social media channels.
Miriam also supports the distribution of reports, newsletters, campaigns and animations. As part of her assignment, she supported the campaign I am a migrant, comprised, in part, of personal stories that challenge negative stereotypes and misperceptions about migrant communities.
I know how it feels to be away from home and struggle to fit in, so my main objective is to raise awareness of migration challenges. I believe that I play an important role in connecting our team members as they protect migrants, deliver results and amplify their messages across the region. --Mariam el Giziry, UN Volunteer Media and Digital Communications Associate with IOM, Middle East and North Africa regional office
Humanitarians are often most visible in the field and the public is less aware of volunteers like Mariam, who serve in regional offices. Yet, to the careful observer, their commitment to service is always on display.
On International Migrants Day 2022 for instance, Mariam supported activities conducted jointly by IOM and UNV. These included sessions about the importance of volunteering and opportunities for migrants to become volunteers themselves. In addition, over 150 migrants from diverse communities participated in upcycling, gardening and art therapy sessions.
While these activities were lighthearted, they also provided an important platform for what Mariam calls "practical solutions to migration problems." Moreover, they showcased volunteers like herself, who find fulfillment in protecting people on the move.