It was during my university years in the United States that I became more aware of the injustice in the world, by meeting students who had lived in poverty or experienced civil wars as a child, and studying about conflicts happening in different regions. Working to help people became my goal.
A few years later, I was at the United Nations headquarters explaining and promoting its work to visitors from around the world as Tour Guide. By the time I had joined the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, I was eager to go to the field to work directly with the people.
Over the past eighteen months, I worked alongside the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as Youth Affairs Officer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sierra Leone. My primary objectives are the improvement of livelihoods and psychological wellbeing for the 1,300 people who served in the safe and dignified burial teams (SDB) of the Ebola response.
With on-going efforts to mitigate the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, UNV is strategically partnering with United Nations entities in the country to mobilize volunteers to assist and facilitate the process. In collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) and with the support of WFP Country Director Gon Myers, this was a unique opportunity for UNV to engage local youth volunteers.
“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has so far claimed over 5,000 lives in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While the death and suffering caused by Ebola is immediate and must be stopped, the socio-economic impact of the disease will last long after Ebola has been brought under control,” says Gina Casar, UNDP Associate Administrator. “UNDP is leading on early recovery efforts, and supporting nationally-led efforts to address the crisis.”