Last night I wrapped up my visit to Brazzaville. It coincided with the announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Today I am traveling back to my office in Dakar and I could not be more motivated and determined for the UN Volunteers porgamme (UNV) to support the Congolese Government, population and WHO in bringing an end to the spread of this deadly Virus.
UN Volunteer Lucy Tabot Akabum is a Human Rights Officer at the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO in Bukavu, in eastern DRC. She was one of ten UN Volunteers who contributed to the Volunteer Initiatives for Peace and Development (VIPD) project to provide clean water for 39 orphans.
Biological diversity, meaning the variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms, is under threat: according to estimates of the World Wildlife Fund, we are losing at least 10,000 species every year – and 99 percent of them are at risk from human activities. In 2016, we reached a record of global tree cover loss with 29.7 million hectares vanishing signifying a 51 percent increase from 2015.
UN Volunteers represent well over a third of the international personnel within the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Despite this important component of personnel, the Mission remains a highly-militarized peacekeeping operation.
Since 2015, international UN Volunteer Jeanne Warnet (France) is assigned to the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (double mandate OHCHR and MONUSCO) as a Human Rights Officer with the Goma Field Office, Democratic Republic of Congo. Jeanne obtained this assignment at the age of 30, following her experience in criminal law and the rights of foreigners and asylum seekers.
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Since November 2014, I have been assigned with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) as a United Nations Volunteer Associate Civil Affairs Officer. Civil Affairs appealed to me because it works at the most local level, with a strong emphasis on field presence. I work in the area of Protection of Civilians (POC), one of the key priorities in MONUSCOs mandate.
The 2014 theme was civic participation and active citizenship. The program started with some educational activities on eco-citizenship in Mwanga College aimed at raising the students’ awareness about the importance of protecting and respecting the environment. Among other activities, participants swept the playground, installed a trash bin installed, repainted walls and planted trees.
Joke Lannoye (Belgium) is assigned to the Youth Development programme with UNFPA Tanzania, in Zanzibar, as United Nations Volunteer (UNV) Intern. Before becoming a UN Volunteer, Joke worked with a Belgian NGO which advocates for the inclusion of disability as an integral theme within Belgian and international policies on development cooperation. Here Joke gives an account of her volunteer contributions in Tanzania:
Dos días cargados de energía y arte urbano se vivieron en un festival de Hip Hop organizado en el mes de octubre para sensibilizar a los jóvenes sobre la prevención del VIH/SIDA y la reducción del estigma y la discriminación.
In Honduras, the UNAIDS Volunteer Network was founded through the initiative of international UN Volunteer Michela Polesana, who is assigned to the office of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The network promotes social activities aiming to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and human rights, and set up a documentation centre in the UNAIDS office.