What was your UN Youth Volunteer assignment?
My UN Youth Volunteer assignment in 2018 was as a WASH Specialist for UNICEF in Burundi. I was based in the capital Bujumbura and supported various aspects of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programme, mostly targeting rural areas of Burundi. My tasks included among others the follow-up of emergency relief activities for returning refugees, the supervision of partner organizations and contractors who implemented project activities and the development of proposals on WASH innovation.
With a population of over 50 million people and borders with eight different countries – it’s safe to say the United Republic of Tanzania is an important player in the East African region.
The United Nations plays a significant role in Tanzania, with 23 UN agencies working closely with the government to implement development and humanitarian activities – including the hosting of over 300,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
Having been raised in a socially conservative environment, Natalie explains that she was one of the lucky ones. Empowered to pursue her education, she obtained a Master’s degree in Media and Development from the United Kingdom.
Perhaps this is why joining UN Women as a volunteer after she settled in Jordan seemed like a natural move. Though she acknowledges that gender inequality is a worldwide issue, she says, "It’s hard to be a woman from the Middle East and not be affected by the issues around women’s rights."
Since 1950, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has been working to ensure recognition of the rights of five million refugees in the Near East. Among them are over half a million children who continue to receive quality education.
Born in Donetsk region in Ukraine, Liliia was forced to leave her hometown because of the armed conflict. This displacement catalyzed an urge to help those who were in a similar situation and less fortunate than her.
Liliia's first experience of working with refugees and asylum seekers was a short-term European Voluntary Service education project for refugees in Gaziantep, Turkey, and it led to an awakening within her of how her contribution could bring about a change for the better in both herself and society.
A Somalian refugee who has spent the last 20 years living among 185,000 refugees like himself in the Kakuma camp, Mohammed oversees the subsection Kakuma 1, representing more than 20,000 people with nine different nationalities.
He makes sure that services are running smoothly, with “teachers in the classrooms and water in the taps”. He regularly meets with UNHCR and the Kenyan government to make sure enough support is being provided and works with the Lutheran World Relief Peacebuilding Unit to prevent conflict within the camp.
I enthusiastically joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), sub-office Gambella, as an international UN Volunteer to contribute towards addressing the plight of persons of concern and provision of protection services which is the core mandate of UNHCR.
Since December 2015, I have been the ‘boots on the ground', managing and coordinating the fleet and transport facilitation for UNHCR staff.
A public affairs specialist, Tommaso was working with the UN Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) in Brussels – after stints in The Hague and Rome – when he decided to upload his profile into the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) database. One night, while walking home with a colleague, he received an email asking if he was interested in joining OCHA’s sub-office in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). "I wasn’t convinced I could make it to the end of the selection process," Tommaso shares.
There are more than 240,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently registered with UNHCR Egypt. Many are women and children.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) provides registration, refugee status determination, and protection assistance to refugees and asylum seekers from 58 nationalities, in coordination with national and international NGOs.