The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) was established in 2011 and since the outbreak of conflict in 2013 its mandate has evolved to include the protection of civilians the monitoring and investigating of human rights abuses, support to the South Sudanese–led peace process and support for the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance. Some 440 UN Volunteers, such as myself, are on location supporting mission objectives and assisting local communities.
As UNV Programme Manager in South Sudan, it is my privilege to support and follow the work that over 440 UN Volunteers carry out in their daily activities across 10 different states. Their efforts and contributions play an integral role in carrying out the mandate of UNMISS, namely protecting civilians, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance, reporting human rights abuses and supporting the implementation of the peace agreement.
During conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, sexual and reproductive health needs are easily overlooked – yet these needs are often staggering. UN Volunteers work in conflict-affected areas hand in hand with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) staff to deploy hygiene supplies, obstetric and family planning supplies, trained personnel, and other support to vulnerable populations, and works to ensure the needs of women and young people are served through both an emergency and the reconstruction phase.
THE STARK REALITY: FOOD CRISIS IN SOMALIA, SOUTH SUDAN, YEMEN AND NIGERIA
The reality of the escalating famine lingers among some of the world’s most vulnerable groups of people in Eastern Africa, and beyond. Having already endured the effects of civil war, poverty, and terrorism, the intensifying need for humanitarian assistance continues to increase throughout Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and northern Nigeria.
International UN Volunteer Solomon Bekele (Ethiopia) has been serving with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in South Sudan since April 2016 as the Pastoralist Literacy and Education Specialist for the project: Enhanced Knowledge and Education for Resilient Pastoral Livelihoods in South Sudan.
Sudan is a vast and diverse country with many facets. The landscape itself is reminiscent of this diversity – Sudan goes from hot deserts to green areas around the Nile. The same diversity applies to the faces of the people you meet. My experience in engaging with women as part of my assignment has also been quite diverse.
Armed conflict has incessantly affected the country. The role of women in the full spectrum of society is fluctuating. My volunteer assignment enables me to look at facets of this spectrum and contribute in any way I can.
Solomon focuses on supporting UNESCO's education component of the project, implementing literacy and numeracy programmes at cattle camps within the Lakes State pastoralist communities.
"As a volunteer, I have gained experience and understanding of the diverse ways of life of communities in the pastoral communities. I am glad I am helping build their capacity and resilience."
UN Volunteers Roselyn Owour, Epher Welavunuka, Petronila Khagai, Anne Munene and Jennifer Kibicho held a sensitization session with school girls to raise awareness about gender equality, the importance of going to school and not missing classes, and the challenges facing girls around the world.
The school - World Hope Academy in the Kawangware slum in Nairobi - has a total student capacity of 400 children, most of them coming from poor families that live in the slums.
Alois Neza Sikuka (Zimbabwe) is a UN Volunteer Peace, Community & Security Specialist with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan.
Bor, South Sudan: Mary works for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and she does an important job – she makes sure that our office is neat and clean, allowing us to carry on with our duties in a healthy environment. Mary is a widow who lives at the Protection of Civilians site (PoC) adjacent to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Bor, Jonglei State, together with her five children, in precarious conditions and unable to leave the camp for fear of her life. We became friends and we started a language exchange.