In Niger, in response to an urgent call for assistance in dealing with an overwhelming number of suspects detained on terrorism charges, UNODC recruited and trained ten lawyers as national UN volunteers to assist in improving access to justice and providing legal assistance to detainees associated with Boko Haram or affiliated to the Islamic State.
Grace Otieno, a UN Volunteer who serves as an Air Operations Planning Officer at the MOVCON aviation section of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Posted in Goma, Grace is working in a largely male-dominated sector. Her everyday tasks include planning for daily flights, coordinating ramp activities for smooth and timely flights and briefing the crew on their daily route requirements as per UN procedures.
I am a volunteer.
Most often than not the response I get sounds like ‘You are just doing something for free? Girl you should get a real job’ or ‘So you hand out fliers every day?’
Mmm.. Not really.
Volunteering and South-South Cooperation share common ideals that make them perfect partners: solidarity, respect and equality. Both have an opportunity to derive mutual benefit from their alliance. The landscape of international volunteering, like that of international cooperation, has changed immensely in the past decades. Today’s programmes are no longer limited to the participation of traditional donor countries of the North.
The majority of these suspects had been held in pre-trial detention since 2015, when the terrorist attacks committed by Boko Haram ravaged the Diffa region, in the east of the country, by the border with Nigeria "I have seen how the work of a volunteer brings a glimmer of hope in the eyes of prisoners," says Ali*, UN Volunteer for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Niger.