Volunteers paving the road for peace in Mali
My name is Odette Kwizera. I am from Burundi. I have spent 3 years and 4 months in Mali as a United Nations volunteer. I work as a radio producer with Mikado FM, the United Nations radio in Mali and one of MINUSMA’s Public Information and Strategic Communication Division’s Units. I am assigned in Gao, a northern region located more than 1200 km from Bamako, the capital.
Inter alia, I coordinate and manage the news coverage in the regions with the support of regional correspondents and staff from the Communication and Public Information Division. I am also involved in the production of high-quality written and audio reports that respect standards of fairness, balance and veracity.
In 3 years, I managed to establish contacts and good work relations with different actors of the peace process, namely representatives of local communities, of the civil society, of women, youths, local authorities, traditional rulers, leaders of armed groups, etc.
I am pleased to give everyone the opportunity to express his/her views on a variety of subjects including peace and reconciliation, social cohesion, human rights, gender and many other topics of public interest.
By giving the opportunity to everyone to express himself/herself and carrying their voices far and wide in an environment where access to unbiased and balanced information is not always safe, I am proud to contribute to the creation of a profitable change and to positively influence people's living conditions. In this way, I know that i contribute to the peace and development of Mali and this is the volunteer’s role.
Of course, things are not always easy-going. The biggest challenge is the prevailing insecurity situation in the Gao region, especially terrorist attacks which have already caused a lot of casualties to the United Nations Mission.
But in any case, I confirm that “volunteering is a powerful means to encourage people to work for development and it can quickly transform the pace and nature of this development”.