East and Southern Africa are vulnerable to climate change, food insecurity and water scarcity. These issues have been exacerbated further by rapid population growth, urbanization and overgrazing. Over 36 million people face hunger across East and Southern Africa largely due to drought and high temperatures.
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.
Zanzibar, Tanzania: As a UN Volunteer working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Zanzibar, I am involved in activities on sexual and reproductive health, working closely with government institutions. Looking for new innovative methods to raise the awareness of young people is one of the things I have been working on during my assignment with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme. Theatre is a good way to raise awareness of women-related issues.
Julie Lillejord (Norway) is a former UN Volunteer with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). She currently works as a Gender Policy Junior Professional Officer (JPO) with the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).