The desire to make a difference in people's lives is what keeps David Asiimwe (Uganda) motivated as he serves as a UNV Civil Affairs Officer in Bentiu, Unity State with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). If this means interrupting a mission to Mayom County with UNV colleague Pradeep Jha to help a returnee construct her Tukul, then so be it.
"The elderly woman, Dong Coik, was quick to show me her land allocation certificate, David recalled. You could read on her face that having a plot allocated to her was a dream come true. So we helped her to dig holes for the poles used to construct the Tukul."
David joined UNMISS in 2010 as an Electoral Logistics Officer. Since joining the Civil Affairs Division, in 2011, his assignment has been to support returnees to South Sudan by visiting them, assessing their living conditions, gathering data and if necessary, calling for emergency humanitarian assistance.
In Uganda, David had worked with a national NGO which assisted vulnerable elderly people, especially women and the vulnerable children under their care, in the slums of Kampala City.
"An essential element of our work was giving a message of hope as a psychosocial support mechanism, he recalled. "That work gave me an insight into civil relations and the challenges disadvantaged people face at the grassroots level.
That experience has been a benefit to my current assignment, where I interact with civil society organizations, traditional leaders and other relevant stakeholders, he said.
Most rewarding about my UNV assignment is that I participate in conflict mitigation and am part of the solution seeking team. David enthused. So saying, it is particularly interesting for me to see that most people we interact with know the causes and solutions of conflicts but continue engaging in bloody clashes that claim many lives.
-- David Asiimwe, UNV Civil Affairs Officer
Volunteers played an important role in the realization of South Sudans independence, David stated. The spirit of volunteerism should continue to be nurtured in the post-independence South Sudan because a lot needs to be done by everyone in every sphere of life."
Bio: David Asiimwe, from Uganda, is a UNV Civil Affairs Officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. During his free time, David volunteers with the Abiemnon Development Organization, a local community based organization, where he gives technical support in resource mobilization and project management best practices.