The United Nations Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is a political UN mission working on laying down the foundations for sustainable peace and development, working with the government and people of the country. UNAMA personnel include UN Volunteers, and during 2018, 77 UN Volunteers supported the mission. One of these is Trishna Bantawa (Nepal), who serves as a UN Volunteer Field Coordination Officer with the mission. Trishna shares her experience as a woman in peacekeeping in Afghanistan.
When I decided to move to Kabul as an international UN Volunteer, I did not know that I was stepping into an environment where I had much more in common with my colleagues than I had ever imagined.
The majestic mountains of Kabul and the post-conflict reality of Afghanistan were not the only evident similarity to my home country of Nepal. The fragility of life and an everyday commitment to positive mind-set made me feel right at home.
As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNAMA is focusing on the empowerment of female youth and providing them with knowledge and technical skills through youth volunteerism.
As a Field Coordination Officer with the mission, my main responsibility is identifying and recruiting female national UN Volunteers to promote the professional advancement of Afghan women, aged 22-29. The favorite part of my work is when I interview young aspiring Afghan women who want to volunteer to fulfill their goals and personal and professional aspirations.
Afghanistan is a tough place for women to work in. But when I get a chance to collaborate with different communities, especially with aspiring Afghan youth who want to make their country a better place, I feel empowered. --Trishna Bantawa, UN Volunteer Field Coordination Officer with UNAMA
My office is in the process of implementing the Female Youth Volunteer Project, which is directly linked with different Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality, reduced inequality, peace, justice and strong Institutions and partnerships for the goals.
One of the exciting parts of my work is the national UN Volunteer Buddy Programme, where I get to work and mentor Afghan female UN Volunteers. While, on paper, I get to guide them to navigate the UN system, in reality, they get to teach me about resilience and determination.
As a woman working in Afghanistan, I have learned from my colleagues to practice patience. I learned to find joy in little things and be grateful for today. Volunteerism is a great platform to expand on these values and for that and much more, I am grateful for having been able to serve my cause. --Trishna Bantawa
My passion and commitment in serving others was something that developed when I was very young. I got to solidify it when I studied to become a social worker. But becoming an international UN Volunteer created a path of openness and gave me a sense of belonging that is limitless.