Helena Pes (Italy) is an international UN Volunteer serving in the Mbera camp, Mauritania, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "The situation in northern Mali remains unstable and in these conditions, influx of refugees is unpredictable," she explains. Since 2012, several populations fled from Northern Mali due to conflict and the fear of oppression. Most of the more than 51,000 refugees in the camp are Touareg, co-habiting with Arab, Fula, and Songhai refugees.
In Mali, the road to peace and reconciliation has been wrought by a 2012 military coup and insecure borders, combined with a proliferation of small arms illegally imported or stolen from unsecured stockpiles. This, however, has not stopped the Malian people from championing democracy—the country is in a period of transition geared towards the re-establishment of constitutional order and democratic governance. In 2013, Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held in the country, representing a milestone on the path to peace.
"Working with MINUSMA has allowed me to deal with many challenges and to learn a lot about the Malian culture. My experience is a commitment to the vision of UN Volunteers which is to be "l’inspiration en action" . All the work involved with heritage protection had to be invented and developed during the last three years."
My name is Anouk and I am part of the Governance, Peace and Security team of the UN Women Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal. I am passionate about questions regarding equality between men and women and have invested myself in this cause for many years. To find myself now a UN Volunteer in Dakar, serving with UN Women, is for me an opportunity de place my convictions at the service of women's rights in West and Central Africa.
For two years, Irene has been working to strengthen and consolidate peace within Malian civil society. Her position involves working with Malian communities, particularly their young people, to help young people develop skills as peacemakers and promotors of tolerance, intercultural dialogue and non-violence.
As part of her role as a young volunteer, Irene accompanies the Malian government as they cooperate with various ministries to implement national programs and policies aimed at youth development and peacebuilding.
The International Volunteer Day was celebrated in Mali and chaired by Prime Minister Mobido Keita who reiterated, in the presence of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme Deputy Executive Coordinator, Nicola Harrington, that the national authorities are committed to promote volunteerism.
While the first round of elections in Mali will take place in Mali on Sunday 28 July, United Nations Volunteers have been working hard for several weeks already. Often working late into the night, they look to support the Malian authorities in the organisation of transparent, inclusive and credible presidential elections in Mali.
A total of 21 UN Volunteers have been mobilised under the Support to Mali's Electoral Process Project (PAPEM) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).