Bertrand (second from right) with Field Office Chief, Jean CharlesDupin and colleagues in Dungu (Prov. Oriental, DR Congo). Credit: Bertrand Gailemas
Humanitarian workers talk about their start as volunteers.
December 5 is International Volunteer Day, when we recognise and highlight the contributions of volunteers in the service of others.
Through a partnership with the UN Volunteers programme, OCHA counts among its ranks volunteers who are making significant contributions to humanitarian response in countries from Colombia to Zimbabwe.
Bertrand is currently a UN Volunteer with OCHA, working as a Public Information Officer in Dungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bertrand started his career working as a journalist for Central African Television in his native Central African Republic.
His first experience with the United Nations was with the UN peacebuilding support office in Central African Republic (BONUCA), where he put into practice his experience in media and communications as an Information Assistant, working on human rights and media relations.
“One day I was in the field, in a camp for internally displaced people in the north of the Central African Republic, and I talked to several people who had to escape their villages because of war or other reasons,” he explained.
“I said to myself ‘Bertrand, you have to help these people. They need you to do something for them.’”
Bertrand decided to look for opportunities in the humanitarian field and through the advice of colleagues, he found out about UN Volunteers. He started working as a Public Information Officer in Dungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Of his experience as a UN Volunteer with OCHA, Bertrand says:
“I like to work in the humanitarian field, with people who have left their country, and who find themselves very vulnerable.”
Bertrand would like to find a job as a humanitarian aid worker after he finished working as a volunteer. He also has hopes of setting up a Platform of Humanitarian Workers, which would enable current and former aid workers to share experiences and suggestions with people interested in working in the field.