The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most malnourished countries on earth, with over 4.6m children acutely malnourished, including 2.2m children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The country is also facing an epidemic of sexual violence. Spiraling humanitarian needs and the rapid escalation in grave protection violations against women and children in the DRC should be of concern to everyone.
Throughout my career, I always had the idea of one day joining the United Nations Volunteers (UNV). I was inspired by the many UN Volunteers I met during my years of service in Africa. While most were young, active individuals, there were also older ones like me now, with a strong vision of volunteerism. Fortunately, I was successful in my application and am blessed to now be in my second UNV assignment.
UN Volunteers represent well over a third of the international personnel within the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Despite this important component of personnel, the Mission remains a highly-militarized peacekeeping operation.
Since 2015, international UN Volunteer Jeanne Warnet (France) is assigned to the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (double mandate OHCHR and MONUSCO) as a Human Rights Officer with the Goma Field Office, Democratic Republic of Congo. Jeanne obtained this assignment at the age of 30, following her experience in criminal law and the rights of foreigners and asylum seekers.
Based in Goma, a city in the eastern DRC, Italian international UN Volunteer Serena Ricci is assigned to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an associate protection officer. Her role is to ensure the protection of refugees, forcibly displaced women, girls, men and boys and people with specific needs.
Hanan Ahmed is a UNV international civil engineer volunteer (Ethiopia) on assignment with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). Based in Goma in the eastern part of the country, she is involved in all phases of MONUSCO’s construction and infrastructure work by carrying out preliminary studies, project management, budget proposals and writing project reports.
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo . My name is David Bzhania and I work as a UN Volunteer network technician for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Since November 2014, I have been assigned with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) as a United Nations Volunteer Associate Civil Affairs Officer. Civil Affairs appealed to me because it works at the most local level, with a strong emphasis on field presence. I work in the area of Protection of Civilians (POC), one of the key priorities in MONUSCOs mandate.
The UN sets aside 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to honour the memory of UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The Day is also to pay tribute to the estimated one million men and women who have served and continue to serve under the blue flag with professionalism, dedication and courage since the first UN peacekeeping mission was deployed in 1948.
The Volunteer Talk – UNV Knowledge Sharing Webinar with the theme “Organising learning events for Volunteers: the Capacity Development and Learning Facility (CDLF)” was organized on 11 March 2015. The webinar featured experiences from the field presented by Ulla Gronlund, former UNV Programme Officer in Turkey and Katalin Kaplár, UNV Administration Officer in the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Photographs by: UNV DR Congo and Turkey
Video edited by: UN Online Volunteer Amy Ozeri