World Humanitarian Day
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 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. While I typed away at a comfortable desk at headquarters in the capital, Juba, most of my colleagues were on the front lines in the field making a direct impact on civilians’ lives.
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.
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”.
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.
Mustafa Al Soufi, a 29-year-old from Yemen, has just started serving as an international UN Volunteer in Erbil, Iraq. He arrived in Erbil at the end of June 2018 and joined the Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS) at UNDP Iraq.
“As a Yemeni citizen who came from a conflict zone, I think it’s very useful to apply my experience to a country like Iraq, which has many similarities with Yemen in terms of security challenges and culture. Moreover, sharing experiences from different conflict zones can help beneficiaries in their recovery process,” he explains.
Thousands of UN Volunteers have been supporting global, regional and national humanitarian crisis over the last 5 years, including through the provision of life-saving assistance to the affected communities after Typhoon Haiyan hit Philippines in 2013, support and logistics for the Ebola response in West Africa in 2014, damage assessment and debris removal after a devastating earthquake in Nepal,
World Humanitarian Day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. It is a Day to commemorate all people who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme joins the world in recognizing those who face danger and adversity in order to help others.