In 1999, two large humanitarian crises were unfolding: Kosovo and East Timor. The United Nations was tasked to support local authorities in both places to establish administrative and governance structures.
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 Timor-Leste at that time was a country without a state—a nation where most civil servants had withdrawn.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.
I had decided on my career path in international development during my studies in Korea and Spain. What became apparent though was that I desired to work in the field, to be closer to the lives we aim to impact. I started searching.
The main causes of forest and land degradation in the country include deforestation, inappropriate agricultural practices, forest fires, over-grazing and demographic pressures. A survey conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reported that the annual deforestation rate between 2003 and 2010 had been 1.73 per cent. If this alarming trend were to persist, 17.3 per cent of the forest in the country would disappear by 2021 and all forests in Timor-Leste by 2071.
Soon he would be carrying out a host of duties to help Timor-Leste’s citizens take action against global warming.
I volunteer for youth empowerment is the theme the UNV Field Unit in Timor-Leste is promoting throughout 2013. The UNV Field Unit in Timor-Leste began its campaign by holding a one-day briefing for students at Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae (UNTL) to enhance their ability to engage rural communities, especially youth, during their field work in the districts.
Dili, Timor-Leste: My name is Muhammad Afrianto Kurniawan, and my friends call me Afrianto. I am from Indonesia and this is my first assignment as a UN Volunteer. I have been working for UNICEF Timor-Leste as a UN Volunteer Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Engineer since the end of January, 2010.
Dili, Timor-Leste: My name is Shoko Fujita, I am from Japan. I arrived in Dili, Timor-Leste in May 2011. Soon after having joined UNICEF, I went on a field trip to Aileu and Manufahi districts to assess and monitor the situation of children there. In five months, I have already travelled almost through all the districts except for Ermera.
Dili, Timor-Leste: Whoosh! A cascade of water flew into the air as a Tour de Timor biker grabbed the open bottle from my hand and continued up the steep Natarbora hill. It was obvious that staffing a water station for the Tour de Timor 2011 was going to involve a personal soaking. As I, along with three national staff with the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and a group of community volunteers, filled water bottles and camelbacks, the bikers seemed relieved to receive our smiles and the refreshment.