SDG 1: No poverty
After returning home from Cameroon in 2009, I accepted an assignment as an international UN Volunteer in Mauritius. Initially, I was tasked with the creation of a National Volunteer Programme based on a very attractive feasibility study. That study proved exceedingly optimistic but impossible to finance. I forged ahead and developed the programme in consultation with over 75 NGOs, government and private sectors and individuals.
My daily work is very busy and captivating. I promote UNDP and the United Nations system projects and work with national and international partners to support our actions and ensure the visibility of our results. I help coordinate the communication activities of UN agencies in the country along with other UN communication officers. I meet regularly beneficiaries of UNDP, especially young people, in order to conduct interviews or reports.
I have found myself passionate about communicating about the SDGs and I regularly train local NGOs on this topic.
Under this year’s IVD theme “Volunteers act first. Here. Everywhere“, two events were planned in the Montserrado County in the North West of Liberia. For the very first time, the UNV Field Unit also organized awareness events in Grand Gedeh County (Zwedru) and Grand Cape Mount County (Robertsport).
I arrived in a country where nearly all public infrastructure and most private houses were destroyed. Timor-Leste at that time was a country without a state—a nation where most civil servants had withdrawn. The UN, through the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), was there to fill an empty space. As UN Volunteer District Field Officer, I was the face of the UN administration in the sub-district of Laclo. I was responsible for delivering basic public services. Over time, it quickly became apparent that there was much more to it than that.
I lead the implementation of an Alternative Development Project launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Lao PDR. Through such projects, UNODC works with communities to develop ‘alternative’ sources of income that are both sustainable and licit.
At the age of 25, Thakur earns his living as a porter, commuting several hours from his home in Nuwakot to the inner cities of Nepal, carting heavy goods over great distances.
On 25 April 2015, as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, Thakur found himself running for two hours until he reached his family and youngest daughter who was severely injured. He rushed her to the nearby hospital, where, despite his efforts, she sadly passed away.
In 2014, Thunayya fled her city of Al Qunaytra and the war that enveloped it. She lived in the camp ever since, and decided to volunteer as a cleaner, earning about US$8.50 per day. At the age of 48, it was the first time Thunayya had ever worked, as she had to provide for herself and her 85-year old father, her only dependent.
Sefadin, Leyla, Youssef and Zahra came from Syria, fleeing the combats in their country and finding refuge in the Domiz camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. All four have volunteered to support families of refugees with disabilities. They ran mutual help sessions about the isolation of people with disabilities who are at risk of being cut off from the humanitarian aid available in the camp.
This was a crucial issue for Zahra:
As the winds came howling through Delakado on that day, infrastructures entirely collapsed and homes came crumbling down. All but one. The 300 inhabitants of the village somehow managed to hide under the floorboards of a house that was built with a higher standard. The strongest stood above and with all their might, held the walls up until the storm subsided. Amazingly, no one was killed. It was a miraculous community effort which paved the way for the reconstruction process.
Saleh started volunteering with the Red Cross’ water and sanitation team soon after arriving at Nea Kavala, helping to ensure people in the camp have access to clean water and safe facilities. But he played more than a technician’s role, and has been central in making sure that the Red Cross has a strong relationship with the community and listens to feedback, comments and concerns from people in the camp.