World Humanitarian Day
Over the course of the past five years, the UNMM has mobilized a cumulative total of 18 UN Volunteers to support the delivery of its mandate at the border between Turkey and Syria. UN Volunteer Thevanathan Nadesapillai (Sri Lanka) joined the UNMM in Turkey in June 2018 as a UN Volunteer Monitoring Officer. His assignment is to inspect the relief consignments that are loaded at the border and monitor their passage across the border.
Across the Arab States, humanitarians have been making real change in peoples’ lives, whether on the frontlines in conflict-ridden contexts or within their own communities.
It takes two hours to cover the 60 kilometers between Batouri, the capital of the Kadey department to the Lolo refugee site. Near the border with the Central African Republic (CAR) in the commune of Kentzou, the camp hosts a population of over 13,000 refugees from CAR. Fleeing a war-torn country, these vulnerable communities, predominately Muslims, settled at the site from the beginning of 2014.
The day the cyclone hit, we accommodated five neighbour families who sought refuge after the cyclone winds destroyed their houses. A total of 33 people sat in our small sitting room and I had to climb up the roof to place stone blocks to prevent the roof of being swept away.
I quickly discovered that the mission is a mosaic of diverse characters facing unique challenges and chasing different dreams. For example, in my role as UN Volunteer Public Information Officer, I hoped to use my writing to highlight the collective challenges, as well as accomplishments, of a nascent nation like South Sudan to a global audience. But I never really considered what I was doing as humanitarian work.
This new UN Volunteer modality subscribes to the principle that no-one should be left behind. UN Community Volunteers respond to the needs of UN agencies to have immediate interlocutors at the local level to do community mobilization, data collection, information sharing, coordination of activities, etc. It empowers communities and positions them squarely at the centre of UN projects.
UNV and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are on the ground since early 2018, with funding support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), to assist the communities affected by the humanitarian crisis. The Sengere community, located in the Adamawa State is one of them.
Ndachem Abubakar is one of the UN Community Volunteers who are deployed in 10 communities across crisis-affected North-East Nigeria, with a focus on Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
Jumpstarting economic recovery in the community of Sengere.
Elsie Aroyan is serving with UNHCR as a UN Volunteer Community Services Assistant to protect the rights and build a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people in Armenia. As a displaced person herself, Elsie can relate better than anyone to the pain, fears and challenges which these displaced persons and refugees suffer from.
Guyaku, located in the Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, is amongst the villages suffering from this humanitarian crisis. In the year 2013, the Guyaku village was attacked by insurgents. This led to the displacement of members of the community. In this situation, many have lost their lives, other their properties, leaving many women and children exposed to security threats and without any means of subsistence.
Despite the situation, Falmata Haruna Bwala did not hesitate to seize the opportunity offered by UNV to serve as a UN Community Volunteer on a UNDP project with funding support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). She serves as a Village Supervisor in a region with many displaced and distressed communities, including the Mafoni community.
Falmata says that she has been inspired by one of Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.