It was all joy in August 2018 when I received an email that I had been selected as a United Nations Volunteer; I would be serving as a Public Information Officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The excitement was palpable!
I had been looking forward to working abroad and then out of the blue came this wonderful opportunity to volunteer in South Sudan – a nation with a chequered history, but with such huge potential. I didn’t expect it to be so sudden.
Immediately, I started reading about the country, the geopolitical nuances, and my role.
South Sudan has been at civil war since December 2013, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and forcing more than four million people to flee their homes. The United Nations hosts about 200,000 of those who have been displaced in Protection of Civilians sites across the country.
When I arrived in South Sudan in August 2017, I knew very little about the country, its people and culture. But I came with an open mind and absolute willingness to learn from the experience as I began my new role as a Child Protection Officer serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in the Western Equatoria region.
UNMISS was established in 2011 after South Sudan became the newest country on earth and works to deter violence, provide refuge at Protection of Civilian sites across the country, facilitate humanitarian assistance and investigate human rights violations. It is an impartial partner at national and sub-national level to political, religious, traditional and community leaders to foster reconciliation.
The people of South Sudan deserve to enjoy life, deserve to have food, water, electricity, education and a prosperous future for their children. This is the spirit of volunteerism for me – volunteering to make people’s lives better. --Ia Saakadze, UN Volunteer Air Operations Assistant
There are 27 volunteers serving in the Jonglei region for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. They decided to make their special day about others rather than themselves in the spirit of volunteerism, which is all about giving.
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.
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.
Bentiu, South Sudan: I am serving as a UN Volunteer Relief, Reintegration and Protection Officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
I had been a UNV intern sponsored by the Government of Italy in 2004 in Sudan with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), after which I worked for an NGO.