Magazine article UN Chronicle

'To Be a UNV Volunteer Is to Be in a Different Dimension'

Magazine article UN Chronicle

'To Be a UNV Volunteer Is to Be in a Different Dimension'

Article excerpt

I COME FROM A VERY LARGE, very poor family from an isolated rural area. Unlike many around me, I had the great fortune of travelling, learning and acquiring skills, and I feel a moral debt, a desire to give back and share with others my knowledge and experience. I have always believed that real development starts at the bottom and makes its way up--this conviction inspires my work in grass-roots development and with refugees and displaced persons in my region.

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As a UNV volunteer, I am now responsible for verifying, monitoring and advocating the rights and protection of displaced persons in Choco, an area much afflicted by the ongoing conflict between guerrillas and paramilitary groups. I spend a lot of time on the road or more accurately "on the river", travelling for hours in canoes and visiting displaced communities. My UNV colleagues and I participate in village assemblies and together with the communities identify social, economic and protection challenges. We then accompany them in the journey to make their needs and voices heard, vis-a-vis municipal authorities. The combination of the UN flag and being a volunteer helps a great deal in earning the trust and confidence of all parties. …

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