Liberia: Role of UN Volunteers absolutely crucial, says UN Envoy

Monrovia, Liberia - The role played by the UN Volunteers (UNVs) was "absolutely crucial" to the successes accomplished by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), said Mr. Alan Doss, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), at an event held in Monrovia recently to honour more than 250 UN Volunteers from 69 countries serving in the war-torn nation.

He added that their help was still needed in reconstruction, human rights, and to support national capacity building.

"UNMIL is moving into a new phase next year, but that does not mean it is leaving," he said, and urged the Volunteers to continue their invaluable contributions to the country. "We still need to help this country recover from those many dreadful years of war, conflict, violence and abuse. We are all here for the same purpose - to help Liberia get back on its feet."

The highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to the six longest serving UN Volunteers in UNMIL, Marcel Lwamba Afanya (Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Robert Abass Bangura (Sierra Leone), Joyce Curtis-Hooke (Sierra Leone), Daniel Mensah-Brande (Ghana), Mafulu Mudingombi (DRC) and Seblewongel Worku Tammirie (Ethiopia).

The UNV Programme Manager, Mr. Olufemi Olugbemi, said the six Volunteers who received the recognition award had taken volunteerism to a new level. "The UN Volunteer is no longer an unknown or strange entity; volunteers have proven to be the added advantage to peacekeeping operations by enduring tests of perseverance, patience and technical competence," he noted.

The awardees are currently serving the mission in the Civil Affairs, Public Information, Transport, Communication, and Information and Technology sections, and have been serving UNMIL since 2003. Since the inception of UNMIL, over 672 UNVs representing more than 70 nationalities have worked in the mission.

The event was also attended by the Director of Administration, Mr. Stephen Lieberman, among other UNMIL staff members.