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.
In the process of finding a right programming partner, I was able to get in touch with UNLIREC- the Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development for Latin America and the Caribbean, part of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. UNV was investing in programming under its five Global Programmes, and together with UNLIREC, we assessed the possibility of submitting a proposal that would align with our respective mandates under the UNV Global Peacebuilding Programme.
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 Timor-Leste at that time was a country without a state—a nation where most civil servants had withdrawn.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.
The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was originally set up to support the Transitional Government in ensuring a secure and stable environment through reform of the Haitian National Police and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programmes.
The International Day of Peace highlights this year solidarity with refugees and migrants and showcases the shared benefits of migration to economies and nations. The "Together" campaign reminds us all of our common humanity and shared responsibilities towards one another.
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.
After a 50-year conflict between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP), the objective of the UN Mission in Colombia (UNMC) is to support cessation of hostilities and to monitor the abandonment of arms as well as the definitive bilateral ceasefire.
My name is Adil Abdallah, I’m from Darfur. I have been serving, since November 2014, as a national UN Volunteer Human Rights Officer with the Human Rights Section of the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). My responsibilities include collecting information on human rights violations and abuses in Darfur. I report on serious human rights violations, including rape, abductions, arbitrary arrests and killing.
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.
UN Volunteer Castro Baraza sits in his office at the Kisumu County Headquarters finalizing reports of his pre-election peace building activities. It is three weeks since the presidential results were announced, and Kisumu remains peaceful with business fully operational and the new County administration already taking charge. Castro is however still hard at work, ensuring the peace dividends are maintained and the development agenda in the region is realized.