I have had the privilege of working as a UN Volunteer in a remote location called Turalei in Southern Sudan. My role was basically to provide technical assistance and guidance to the Southern Referendum Bureau. Volunteering in Sudan is a challenging but fulfilling endeavour. Amidst poverty, high infant and maternal mortality, poor infrastructure are a people who are proud of their heritage, culture and traditions. Not even decades of civil war has erased their pride and identity as southern Sudanese. They are a patriarchal society that accords a lot of respect to the elders.
As a Volunteer I am proud of my humble contribution in assisting and offering a platform for the southern Sudanese to choose whether remain united or secede from the greater Sudan through participation in a free and fair referendum.
Back in 2001-2002 it was my first UNV assignment in East Timor for the first constituent assembly election and presidential election. Playing the role of the IT support for the election it was a great honor to me for working together with multinational co-workers for the good of Timorese People. It was very nice and mind broadening experience in my life.
In 2007-2008 I was very happy again participating in the Timorese Electoral Cycle project. I felt I did my best by serving my professional service for the peace and development of Timorese People.
While I was on UN Mission in Sudan, I being Team Site Leader fully participated and worked along with my team for bringing harmony, peace, tranquility and social services amongst the general masses of Sudan. Frequently, I worked in close collaboration with DDR representatives to disarm the combat groups of troubled areas of Sudan. I also carried out Military Inspections and inquiries of contemporary military forces i.e. SAF and SPLA. I am very eager to render my services as volunteer or permanent staff of UN and to do much more for the services of humanity. UN is the best organization in the world to ensure peace and stability at global level.
I think we must live in peace. We must help each other. Am dreaming to see poor peaple all over the World It is possible Lestaratt us start if you have more food dont through it away please help huger people. Lets start now. I think all the governments takes more and give the others less. It needs action if you are one of them please take action
I have the chance to volunteer to help the Lebanese refugees during the 2006 war. We have established an aid centre in one of Damascus schools and organized the living conditions as most families were frightened and children suffer of lack of basic needs. Understanding the human suffering was never easy, but the experience itself has strengthen our capabilities to help others using the available resources.
I had served as United Nations Volunteer (UNV) under United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), 2005 and United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), 2010, where I have acquired a lot of knowledge, idea and experience, which would like to share and serve again for development, peace and justice especially in poor community.
During my assignment in the mission, I was involved to civil education/ training and public outreach activities. For instance, to educate and aware people/ community for registration, exhibition and polling procedure for free, fair, transparent and credible referendum / election. However, it is challenge to fulfill my duty and responsibilities in ground due to various reasons including vary culture, unfriendly road, volatile situation and illiterate people especially rural women. Even such situation, I able to fulfill my obligation correctly and smoothly, because I followed basic norm and values of volunteerism without bias, discrimination and adopted a norm for hard work from heart, followed a norm of connecting people and collaboration line agencies and extend my hand to all concern people including local youth, school’ teacher, women groups and mobilized the local community leader.
It is therefore, as a UNV I realized that if we worked hard from our heart without bias and discrimination and followed the rules and regulation of UN norm and values, certainly, it is possible to meet “Volunteerism Goal” in ground even at challenging environment.
MUST AFRICA FOLLOW CHINA'S POLITICAL SYSTEM?
On the verge of independence, African countries were given constitutions and democratic political system for the governance of their countries. Although many of the then African leaders changed the political system later to one-party states, with the reason that democracy was not good for Africa, their dreams of socio-economic development were neither realized in the one-party states.
Almost all African countries have now changed their political systems back to democracy, but it is not working well the way it does in the developed countries and this has led to many debates that democracy is not the best political system for developing countries, like Africa’s.
Many African scholars believe that democracy works better in a developed society, and therefore development has to come first before democracy is introduced. Yet, others have also argued that for accelerated development to take place there would be the need for democratic government where everyone will contribute or participate in formulating ideas and strategies for the development of a nation; and where political leaders and other public office holders can be held accountable for their actions.
According to Rukudzo Murapa , in a paper delivered at the Indaba 2001, a meeting organized by the Zimbabwe International Book Fair Trust on “Changing Lives: Promoting a Reading Culture in Africa” “Democratic freedom is an engine of national and individual wealth. Thus democracy and development are positively linked. The proliferation of democracy leads to development. There is no universally convincing evidence that authoritarian government and the suppression of political and civil rights are really beneficial to development”.
However, other African scholars have also argued that civil society, which is a requisite for democratic development, has little chance of flourishing in an environment of extreme poverty, like Africa.
Civil society theory holds that there are societal preconditions, or requirements, for democracy or transitions to democracy to take hold. Specifically concerning democratization in Africa many have argued that those countries that have a strong civil society will be better positioned to become more democratic. Civil society, he said, includes a general body of private voluntary associations (e.g., student group, chamber of commerce, labour unions, women’s groups, church groups, etc.) that do not derive power or legitimacy from the state.
It is believed that where civil society is strong, the country is more likely to be successful at democracy since civil society energizes resistance to tyrannical regimes. However, the most basic constraint on the strengthening of democratic regimes in Africa, some scholars have argued, is underdevelopment itself.
According to them, the positive association between development and democracy is apparent to even the most casual observer, and scholars have attempted to verify this linkage between the two variables since the 1950s. As noted, most scholars have typically focused on the intervening variable that follow from underdevelopment and impede democratization, including illiteracy, ethnic strife, fragmented civil society and political culture.
Democracy encompasses not only political competition and participation, but also a considerable number of individual freedoms (freedom of speech, the press, assembly and so on) and makes democracy conditional on pluralism in society. Political competition and participation only have meaning if human rights are also observed.
It would, I believe, be difficult for African countries to develop without a proper democratic system in place. African private investors do not have the means to set up independent businesses; and foreigners do not, normally, invest in countries where there are political instability, fear, and where the government control prices. In a proper democratic system leaders are elected in free and fair elections, the rights of individuals are respected and minority groups are included in policy formulations.
Ghana, like many other African countries, experienced several years of relative prosperity after independence. However, the 1960s saw a rapid political and economic decline. This was the time when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah introduced his one-party state. It was more dictatorial; there was no press freedom, and political opponents and strike leaders were arrested and imprisoned. The one-party political system adopted by many African countries at independence created several political societies that became major obstacles to economic growth and development.
The military regimes that followed later, after Dr. Nkrumah’s government, further deteriorated the already fragile Ghanaian economy and scared many foreign investors away. The increase in the number of non-Ghanaian owned companies in the country in the forth republic underpins this argument. There has never been any instance in Africa that a military regime has worked.
Botswana’s economy has been one of the best in Africa because of political stability and the rule of law. They are now middle income country and moving closer to high income status. They have had a genuine functioning liberal democratic system since independence, and there has not been any civil war or anything of that sort during regime transitions.
They have one of the best banking systems in Africa. Around 1999, it was estimated that 45% of all businesses- and mainly the large scale businesses- in Botswana were owned by foreigners. They have created jobs for the people and pay taxes, and I do not think those business people would have invested their money in that country if they have political instability.
Political instability and turbulence is often an obstacle to development. Countries that experience a succession of internal revolts and coups d’état are unlikely to successfully harness their national resources for nation-building. Some observers have said that countries that fail to achieve political development are high-risk choice for economic development. Political development is doubtful when corrupt and unstable regimes remain in power. In such cases, the creation of more stable regimes becomes a precondition to economic development.
Many have said that China’s economy has been able to rise to become the best in the world without democracy.
But this is a specious argument. The Chinese produce a lot of goods for both domestic use and exportation, while Africans, apart from natural resources, do not produce and trade in any other product with the rest of the world. Africans do not have technological innovation skills like the Chinese.
Again, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone must not be used to mean development- it is just a fraction of it. Development is multi-dimensional and involves increase in income, improvement in quality of life, individual freedom, freedom of speech and so on.
Although economic indicators show that China’s economy is doing well, the majority of their people live under poor conditions. They are exploited by their employers and they are not given the chance to give full vents to their grievances.
Democracy is certainly a political system with some weak points, but I believe it is the best form of government we have at the moment and think it should be able to work in any part of the world no matter the economic situation. It is slowly gaining grounds in Africa and I believe very soon all Africans will come to a better understanding of it.
If democracy is working well in Botswana, I do not see why it should fail in other African countries.
It is the most conducive political system that will allow the masses to elect business minded leaders to give impulse to business and industry and also attract more foreign investors.
Author: ROBERT MENSAH
L’Association « Fontaine – Isoko pour la Bonne Gouvernance et le Développement Intégré » est une association sans but lucratif créée par des personnes qui ont acquis l’ expérience professionnelle à travers différentes Organisations tant publiques que privées; des gens épris des idéaux de paix et de bonne gouvernance et qui ont compris que seule la promotion de la bonne gouvernance constitue la seule voie de sortie de la crise sociopolitique et économique que traverse la Région des Grands Lacs en général et le Burundi en particulier
Ses volontaires sont formés dans divers domaines pour pouvoir répondre aux attentes et besoins de la population entre autre comme signalé ci-haut:
1. Amélioration de la paix et justice et ceci à travers les actions de formation sur des thématiques Variées comme prévention et gestion des conflits ;Justice transionnelle et autres. Notre pays ayant connu des guerres répétitives les volontaires ont contribue pour l'élaboration d'un Code de conduite de la jeunesse burundaise en période électorale pour eviter les retombée et le retour à la guerre et ont aussi participés à l'observation électorale de 2010 et bien sur l’organisation est membre du groupe de réflexion sur la justice de transition et qui donne des recommandations nécessaires.
2. Mais également les volontaires participent dans les actions de protection de l’environnement comme plantation des arbres et traçage des canaux d'evacuation et à des journées organisées par et pour les volontaires
Pour ne cite que ceci.
Source : chargé du programme des jeunes et volontaires
Through Bangladesh Association of Young Political Scientists (BAYPS), we are working to reduce political conflicts, establish consensus, ensure good governance and peace in Bangladesh.
thank you for given me Chance to share :
I jouned the united nation mission (3) times as international police monitor (2) times in kosovo and *1) time in haiti > we wher working in kosovo as community police officers, doing our best to bring our experiences as international police to this community, and involved with most of the local community activities sharing with them informations and giving advise in case they need, in haiti also but the situation was different we wher helping them during the cries and spending days and night to provide humanitarian aid to the haiten people.