Celebrating United Nations Values ​​in Action – Global Issues


As the COVID-19 pandemic continued into a second year, many of the exceptional people we introduced in 2021 were, not surprisingly, health workers who put themselves at considerable personal risk to ensure that members of the their communities survived the pandemic.

“Let us pray to God to save us from hunger”

These risks are exacerbated in conflict zones where workers continue to provide health services against high prognoses.
In Yemen, Asia El-Sayeed Ali and his family had to flee their home in Aden and move in with relatives. Today, she works in a health clinic with the support of the World Food Program (WFP), where she cares for malnourished children and their mothers.

“When a mother brings a child who is malnourished, I provide her with nutritional treatment and I advise her to bring it back the following week,” Ms. El-Sayeed Ali. “When he comes back, and I see that the child has gained weight and looks healthier with full cheeks, I feel relieved.

“I love working in the clinic. My heart aches when I see children crying in pain or hunger, but I can make a positive difference by helping mothers and putting a smile on their children’s faces. “

Solidarity in Eid: The head of the UN calls the Yemeni health worker

Stay to help the Afghan people

In Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s acquisition, Dr. Khali Ahmadi * told UN News in an exclusive interview from the Afghan capital Kabul in August that he and other health workers continue to work despite the lack of security and continuing instability in Afghanistan. the country and called on the international community to continue to support Afghanistan.

Dr. Ahmadi was in Kabul to provide medical care to thousands of people who had entered the city to escape the fighting. “Our working day is very long and hard,” he told us. “I start around 7 in the morning and sometimes I can work until midnight, which means that, as a team, we can serve up to 500 people a day.

Sometimes the security situation makes me stay home. If there are reports of gunfire or other disturbances as well as roadblocks, team members decide it is too dangerous to work with. It can be very tense on the street. “

* Real name reserved to protect identity

In Afghanistan, despite the favorable conditions for crops, many people do not eat enough.

UNAMA / Eric Kanalstein

In Afghanistan, despite the favorable conditions for crops, many people do not eat enough.

“I thought of my own children”

Throughout the year, UN News spoke with many others who decided to work in countries where the security risk is high. Among them was Fezeh Rezaye, a 26-year-old mother of two and a 19-year-old all-female demining team, honored in April for her efforts to clear mines in Afghanistan’s Afghan province. .

“I had met several people in my village who have been injured or killed by mines in Bamyan,” he explained. “Even our owner lost his leg in a landmine accident. But it was the death of seven children, all from the same family in our village, that affected me greatly.

“They had been together in the mountains when they all died in a mine explosion. I thought to my own children, that this could have happened to them.”

I have to be in my game A ‘

For soldiers, or “blue helmets,” who are part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali – the world’s most dangerous UN displacement in recent years – each patrol could be the last.

Private Jack Drake, a young soldier from the United Kingdom, is a driver with a military reconnaissance team tasked with protecting civilians in troubled places in northeast Mali. “I really need to focus on choosing the best route for the vehicle and knowing when to set foot so I don’t get stuck,” he explained.

“Mali is a dangerous place right now, so I really need to be in my A game on patrol. It’s important to recognize any threats and stay on all the time. Trust the other members of your crew to keep you safe “.

“Peacekeeping is a human enterprise”

Since its deployment in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2019, Kenya’s military gender adviser, Major Steplyne Nyaboga, has worked diligently to promote the rights of women and girls, organizing campaigns and workshops for staff and civil society activists.

In recognition of the excellence of her work, the UN awarded Major Nyaboga the 2020 Award to the UN Military Defender of the Year. “Peacekeeping is a human endeavor,” he said. “Putting women and girls at the center of our efforts and concerns will help us better protect civilians and build a more sustainable peace.”

Major Nyaboga took charge of gender education for other military peacekeepers during his deployment, training nearly 95% of the UNAMID military contingent in December last year. He also advised the force on how to better identify the needs of vulnerable men, women, boys and girls, and improve the way in which they were protected by the peace forces.

Defending the Earth

The year in which the postponed COP26 was finally held in Glasgow, the most important UN climate conference since Paris in 2015, following a postponement related to the pandemic, the climate crisis and the work of grassroots activists they gained more attention.
From August to the end of October, the UN featured 10 young activists, engineers and entrepreneurs, who showed how we can all make a positive difference in our successful podcast series, No Denying It.

Among those responsible for the change is Nzambi Matee, a Kenyan entrepreneur who manufactures low-cost sustainable building materials made from recycled plastic waste and sand. His company, Gjenge Makers, has provided more than 112 people financially, through the stages of supply and pre-processing of the production process.

Greek activist Lefteris Arapakis founded the first fishing school in his country and has convinced fishermen to take plastic out of the ocean. In this episode of Don’t Deny, Mr. Arapakis explains that he founded the school after learning from his fishing father that despite the economic crisis in Greece, there was a shortage of manpower for fishing boats.

Thanks to school initiatives, fish stocks and the ecosystem are recovering, plastic waste has returned to the circular economy, and fishermen in their community have an added source of income.

Many of the activists featured in No Denying It have been identified as Young Earth Champions by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which announced its last Champions in December.

This year’s all-women cohort includes Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who was honored to be a powerful voice in the global south, advocating for a sustainable world and constantly raising alarm over the vulnerability of small island developing states. .

Joenia Wapixana is a member of the Wapixana indigenous people of Roraima, Brazil

UN News / Daniela Gross

Joenia Wapixana is a member of the Wapixana indigenous people of Roraima, Brazil

The fight for rights

Human rights of all kinds continued to be attacked in 2021, and many brave people fought to protect them.
UN news sheds light on the 30-year struggle of Brazilian activist Joenia Wapixana to secure the land rights of the country’s indigenous population in Brazil.

In 2018, at the end of a long campaign, funded at the grassroots level by crowdfunding, she became the first indigenous woman elected to the Brazilian federal parliament and received the UN Human Rights Award.

In a special interview, Ms. Wapixana called for more resources to fight institutionalized discrimination. “Society must understand that discrimination against indigenous peoples has always existed in Brazil,” he said.

“I believe that when a person has suffered racial discrimination, or is suffering racism, they need to be protected to the fullest extent of the law. Report the incident, even if nothing comes of it. It is important for us to create a record of this phase that we are going through. “

Advocate for the New Sustainable Development Goals, Edward Ndopu, founder of Global Strategies on Inclusion Education, Republic of South Africa.

A photo

Advocate for the New Sustainable Development Goals, Edward Ndopu, founder of Global Strategies on Inclusion Education, Republic of South Africa.

“Poverty is both the cause and the consequence of disability”

Eddie Ndopu, an award-winning South African disability activist, lives with spinal muscular atrophy and faces many daily challenges. Now in his 20s, Mr. Ndopu says his parents told his birth that he would not live beyond the age of five.

Mr. Ndopu told the UN that he had overcome his barriers to travel the world defending other people with disabilities. “Poverty is both the cause and the consequence of disability, and the vast majority of people with disabilities live in poverty,” he said in an interview with an episode of the UN’s Awake at Night podcast.

“I don’t think we’re talking about disability because we insist on perfection. And I think disability reminds people that, in fact, imperfection is more intrinsic to all of us than perfection. “

UN news includes inspiring stories of exceptional individuals in our first-person line. You can find them in our archive, here.

Listen to the United Nations Climate Action Podcast, Don’t Deny, with the voices of 10 young people responsible for change, here.