More than 400 UN Volunteers support the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). They are crucial to the success of the mission, performing a range of positions from Communication Officers to Vehicle Technicians. Every day, they go above and beyond in their assignments while enduring hardship conditions. To understand their engagement better, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator Toily Kurbanov and UNV Regional Manager for East and Southern Africa, Njoya Tikum, visited South Sudan and the UN Volunteers in the Mission earlier this month.
UNMISS was established in 2011 after South Sudan became the newest country on earth and works to deter violence, provide refuge at Protection of Civilian sites across the country, facilitate humanitarian assistance and investigate human rights violations. It is an impartial partner at national and sub-national level to political, religious, traditional and community leaders to foster reconciliation.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has been supporting the Mission from the beginning, deploying more than 400 qualified and motivated UN Volunteers to South Sudan every year. Most UN Volunteers are internationals, coming from 76 different countries. They carry out a range of different positions and assignments – from Procurement Assistant to Nurse to Civil Affairs Officer. The most common assignments include Civil Affairs Officer, Air Operations Assistant and Vehicle Technician.
We have young people from across the world who are dedicating their time, their life. People who are willing to go beyond their comfort zones and help those who are really underprivileged and in very difficult parts of the world like South Sudan. --Njoya Tikum, UNV Regional Manager, East and Southern Africa
Dzemal Calakovic (Montenegro) works as a Human Rights Officer in Yambio and expected a normal assignment with few surprises. That is, until he came across the case of a person being sentenced for witchcraft. Godwin Benson Mkamanga (Malawi) is a Fire Safety Officer in Rumbek in Western Lakes State. Ia Saakadze (Georgia) is an Air Operations Assistant in Juba. All three of them are UN Volunteers, supporting the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), dedicating their time and efforts every day to peace and development in this conflict-ridden country. Read about their experiences volunteering with dedication to peace and development in South Sudan.
However, many UN Volunteers support the back-operations of UNMISS as Vehicle Technicians, Air Operations Assistants, Fire Safety Officers, Meteorologist Assistants, and more. Without their support plans would not take off, cars would not start, computers would not turn on. These UN Volunteers are pivotal to the success and of the Mission.
Our UN Volunteers they not only hope, they not only dream, they do something 24/7 to bring peace and development to South Sudan. --UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator Toily Kurbanov
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer, considers UN Volunteers "enormously important to our work in South Sudan to protect civilians and build durable peace".
UNVs occupy all sorts of different roles in our Mission, from facilitating movement at the airport to promoting human rights and working in communications and logistics. We appreciate their significant contribution and value our relationship more broadly with UN Volunteers as an organization for being able to support our Mission in its work with the people of South Sudan. --David Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS
Dzemal explains what volunteerism mean to him:
I remember my former colleagues warning me that I should not lightly leave my career and sail into the waters of volunteerism but now I can say: The work has never been more satisfying. (…) We draw our commitment from our own will, unconstrained with the need to impress anyone else, except ourselves. --Dzemal Calakovic, UN Volunteer Human Rights Officer
UNMISS was established in 2011 after South Sudan became the newest country on earth after a prolonged process starting with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The Mission is mandated to protect civilians, monitor and investigate human rights, create conducive conditions for humanitarian assistance, and support the implementation of the peace agreement. The Mission employs more than 17,000 personnel as of December 2017, including 2,000 civilians and nearly 12,500 contingent troops. The Mission works to deter violence, provide refuge at Protection of Civilian sites across the country, facilitate humanitarian assistance and investigate human rights violations. It is an impartial partner at national and sub-national level to political, religious, traditional and community leaders to foster reconciliation. Some 400 UN Volunteers supported the mission in South Sudan during 2017.