For Firmin Sindaye, a native of Burundi, his motivation to serve as a UN Volunteer was fuelled by his desire to serve the cause of human rights wherever he is. Holder of a Master’s Degree in international and European human rights, Firmin has 15 years of national and international experience with local human rights organizations and the United Nations in the area of human rights protection, reporting and advocacy.
In Burundi, more than 68 per cent of the population is under 24 years old. This demographic structure, with a majority of motivated and ambitious youth, could fuel the economy and lead to economic growth for the small African country. However, the demographic dividend is yet to be realized. Instead, Burundi faces a major challenge of providing its youth with employment opportunities and future perspectives.
COMMUNICATING IN SUPPORT OF RULE OF LAW AND NATIONAL RECONCILIATION
I first became a UN Volunteer in 2004 when I accepted an assignment with the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) as a Support Officer. I was excited about the opportunity. I still remember practically jumping from joy in my office when I received the offer. My enthusiasm was quickly dampened by the words of caution from colleagues and friends—some of them calling me crazy for being happy to land a role in a warzone.
The Soviet Union’s programme of aid to Africa, closed after the dissolution of the USSR, was recognised for sending talented professionals abroad. As the programme’s activities gradually came to an end, many professionals returned home to their families. Dr. Teljan Jounisbekov, however, felt the need to continue serving the people of Burundi. He opted to remain in the country and pursue his passion, a decision that was valued by the Ministry of Health of Burundi and supported by the offer of an extension of his contract. Dr.
When I first landed to the international airport of Bujumbura to work as an international UN Volunteer for UNICEF, I realized the situation in the country was highly volatile.
Volunteerism as building blocks for peacebuilding, how does that work? For starters, volunteerism generates forms of social capital that are indispensable to peacebuilding and plays an important role in strengthening the development of national civilian capacities to address peacebuilding issues.
Volunteering is one of the best ways for young people to turn their energy and creativity into a tool for development and peace. During a conference organized in Gitega (Burundi) by the Ministry for Youth, Sports and Culture, UNV pushed for encouraging young people to take part in local and national volunteering initiatives throughout Burundi. The conference was backed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The article is in French.
Gitega, Burundi: It was during my experience as a volunteer in a Mexican orphanage that I was motivated to work with UNICEF later. And here I am, a few years later, holding a university degree, being even more inspired as a UN Volunteer who supports UNICEF in Burundi in Eastern Africa - and proud of it!