Three men standing outdoors in a walled area, inspecting a red cylindric fire extinguisher.
Said Oujear (middle), international UN Volunteer Contingent-Owned Equipment Assistant serving with UNSMIL, inspects extinguishers in a location dedicated to ammunition storage in Libya.

Navigating challenges to peace and stability in Libya

This article was drafted for the International Day of Peace, ahead of the devastating floods in Libya. It sheds the light on the contributions of two UN Volunteers serving with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to peace and stability in the country. Amidst the current crisis, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is collaborating with UN partners to integrate UN Volunteers and Online Volunteers, in the emergency response. Available volunteering opportunities in Libya can be accessed here.

UN Volunteers play a critical role in supporting the safety and security of the workforce in Tripoli as part of UNSMIL. For Fabrice Bitariho, 41, a UN Volunteer Medical Officer from Burundi, each day holds the potential to rescue and safeguard lives. Using his medical skills, he navigates priorities, ensuring that effective actions are taken during time-sensitive situations. 

Fabrice starts his day conducting medical consultations, and then works through hospital admissions, administering vaccinations to staff, and ensuring the smooth process of medical clearances. In the context of Libya, these tasks are not without challenges, including lengthy administrative procedures, logistical complexities and the lack of necessary services or consumables. 

In 2021, amidst the COVID-19 upsurge, I had to admit three severe cases from a single family afflicted by the Delta variant into Intensive Care Units (ICUs) across three distinct hospitals. This task posed multifaceted challenges during that critical juncture, arranging ambulances equipped for such cases, securing ICU spots amidst overwhelmed hospitals, addressing private hospitals’ excessive upfront payment demands, and coordinating with medical insurance for emergency hospitalization. --Fabrice Bitariho, UN Volunteer Medical Officer with UNSMIL, Libya

Said Oujear is a 44-year-old former Moroccan military officer who had previously served with the UN in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a logistics officer. For him, serving as a Contingent-Owned Equipment Assistant means he can continue to use his skills to support staff security and safety. 

His current role with UNSMIL is multifaceted, seeing him actively engage in the planning, development, and implementation of equipment inspections to ensure that compound security units fulfill their obligations. 

In addition to verifying the serviceability of equipment, we ensure that the operators of equipment are competent to use it. For instance, after inspecting equipment and vehicles for proper functioning mechanically, we proceed to check that its crew, including the driver and captain, are ready to operate it effectively. --Said Oujear, UN Volunteer Contingent-Owned Equipment Assistant with UNSMIL, Libya

Part of Said's role is to ensure that the UN Guard Unit (UNGU) is able to perform according to the UN standards agreed by the General Assembly. By performing his tasks, he assists the UNGU to perform its main duty, which is the security of the UNSMIL HQ Compound in Libya. 

UN Volunteers like Fabrice and Said support the mission and its staff to deliver the mission's political mandate of facilitating the peace process in Libya, as the country struggles to identify a clear path forward.