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UNMIL

Today July 2012

Volume 9, Issue 01

Police Training Academy Gets New Facilities By Paula Theliander

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he National Police Training Academy (NPTA) in Paynesville, on the outskirts of Monrovia, now has newly constructed male and female dormitories, additional classrooms, a rehabilitated kitchen and dining hall, all thanks to the Government of Norway supporting the development of Liberia’s security sector. The construction of the four buildings, at a cost of over US$ 1 million, began with an agreement in 2010 between Norway and the UN Development Programme. The male dormitory has a capacity for 130 students while the female dormitory can accommodate 80 students. The kitchen and dining hall has a capacity for 300 students. The classroom building has a library, computer room, forensic lab, teachers’ lounge, additional classrooms and washroom facilities. Since the number of police trainees will likely expand soon, these new facilities come at an opportune moment for the LNP. At the hand-over ceremony held at NPTA on 27 July, Minister of Public Works Kofi Woods, representing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, thanked the Norwegian government for the timely support and praised the LNP for its increasingly successful community policing efforts. The Norwegian Government representative, Reidar Grevskott from Accra, Ghana, pointed out that the Academy is a sign that cooperation between Norway and Liberia is flourishing.

Inside this Issue:

Beyond Work Joint Medical Outreach .... Pg. 3

UNPOL Commissioner John Nielsen said the buildings would help enhance the LNP capacity and support the security service. Inspector-General Clarence Massaqoi thanked the Norwegian Government and promised that the buildings would be maintained well by the LNP. The hand-over ceremony ended with a tour of the buildings led by the Commander of NPTA.

Around Liberia New Georgia New Depot . Pg. 5

Beyond Work Today - 1  July 2012 - UNMIL

Children’s Park .......... Pg. 7


From the Editor

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he National Police Training Academy, where the Liberia National Police (LNP) trainees are groomed, received additional facilities in July thanks to bilateral assistance from Norway. We bring you the details in our cover story. Two new police depots constructed by Quick Impact Projects, both in Montserrado County, were handed over to authorities in July while a group of LNP officers were trained in community policing by the UNPOL Training and Capacity Building Team. Formed Police Units from India, Jordan and

Nepal joined hands in a humanitarian outreach that benefitted an orphanage and local residents of Upper Cardwell while Nigerian Peacekeepers reached out to inmates of Monrovia Central Prison and Kakata Central Prison with gifts and free medical treatment. Pakbatt 16, which ended its tour in Liberia, left the country but not without leaving a parting gift – a beautiful children’s park in Voinjama. Nepalese peacekeepers reached out to students of Government Morning School in Hartford, Grand Bassa County, with gifts of sporting items and stationery as well as a hearty meal for them and other kids in the area. We also have a story on SRSG Karin Landgren’s first visit to Bong County, where she toured the Justice and Security Hub in Gbarnga and interacted with UNMIL staff. Coffee, anyone? Spending time with people helps ward off loneliness. More on the benefits of social support from the Staff Counselling Unit. Read on. Mathew Elavanalthoduka

New SRSG Arrives The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMIL, Karin Landgren, arrived in Liberia on 20 July to assume her duties. A delegation comprising UNMIL senior management team welcomed the new SRSG upon arrival at the Robertsfield International Airport. She inspected a guard of honour by UNMIL military and police representing the nearly 9,000 UN peacekeepers from 43 nations deployed in Liberia. “I look forward to working with all Liberians and all of Liberia’s international partners, building on the many achievements of the past nine years,” said Landgren. UNMIL Today extends a hearty welcome to the new UN envoy.

UNMIL Today

Published by the Public Information Office, UNMIL Chief of Public Information Isabelle Abric Head of Publications Mathew Elavanalthoduka Editorial Team Ruby Ofori James S. King www.facebook.com/unmil2003 www.twitter.com/unmilnews

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Design and Graphics Paddy Defoxy Ilos, II Thomas S. Blidi Photos Staton Winter Emmanuel Tobey

www.unmil.unmissions.org


New Military Chief of Staff By James S. King

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New Arrival

he new Chief of Staff of UNMIL Military, Brig.-Gen. Hugh C. Van Roosen II from the United States, said his appointment demonstrates his nation’s “commitment to not only the international community but also to the people of Liberia.” Gen. Roosen is a US Army Officer with vast experience under his belt. “My new task is a wonderful opportunity to serve my nation and the international community,” he told UNMIL Today. He said UNMIL will carefully manage its security transition process to prevent any security gaps in the absence of the mission in Liberia. Besides commanding troops of the US Army, Gen. Roosen, has also served alongside UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and taught military courses in the Czech Republic. He has also participated in the Senior Leaders Training by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations as well as training in Civil Military Cooperation by OCHA. UNMIL Today welcomes Brig.-Gen. Roosen to Liberia and wishes him great success in his new position.

Joint Medical Outreach by FPUs By Abid Hussain

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Beyond Work

n July, the Formed Police Units from India, Nepal and Jordan joined hands to conduct a humanitarian outreach programme in Upper Cardwell, Montserrado County. A major part of the outreach programme was a free medical camp that benefitted more than 75 children of the Anna Enoch Orphanage as well as several hundred local residents. Three locations were set up for the medical outreach. Nepalese treated the children while their Indian counterparts dealt with female patients. The Jordanian FPU treated male patients. Director of Anna Enoch Orphanage Steven Enoch spoke of the problems facing the orphanage as well as the difficult conditions in the community. The orphaned children were offered delicious food prepared by the three FPUs. The orphanage also received recreational items donated by the FPU Commanders.

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Dixville Township Gets New Police Depot Around Liberia

By James S. King

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esidents of Dixville Township, Montserrado County, now have their first police depot since the township was established many years ago. Prior to construction of the depot, Dixville residents and local authorities experienced high rates of crime and escapes of criminals from make-shift detention facilities. UNMIL’s Quick Impact Project (QIP) provided the funds for the construction of the depot. “Community policing is an essential component of police service,” said Jane Rhodes, UNPOL Reform and Restructuring Coordinator, during the hand-over ceremony. She said police cannot succeed without community members’ support and cooperation. “The construction of Dixville depot is a big step towards the maintenance of rule of law in the community”, Rhodes said, as she urged community members to acquaint themselves with local authorities and police personnel in maintaining peace and security. “As UNMIL begins its draw down activities it is about time Liberians and LNP begin to take responsibility of their own security,” said Deputy Inspector of Liberia National Police (LNP), Rose Stryker. She said LNP will have to increase its current strength of about 4,000 to 8,000 to meet the security challenge during the absence of UNMIL. “We are committed to making sure that the men and women being recruited into the LNP are qualified to provide professional police service,” Stryker said. “We are here for you, we want you to feel safe,” she told the residents who had gathered to watch the handover ceremony. According to Joseph R.N. Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Deacons of the Union Baptist Church, the construction of the depot in Dixville is the result of an appeal made earlier to Libe-

ria’s Vice President Joseph Boakai. The Church provided the plot of land for the construction. Anderson said residents of the township are happy for the police depot and expressed thanks to Vice President Boakai and UNMIL for aiding the process. Sylvester Lama, Montserrado County Assistant Superintendent for Development, assured Dixville residents of the government’s support for security for its citizens. Lama appealed to the management of UNMIL to construct another depot in Harrisburg Community situated off the townships of Caldwell and Dixville. He called on residents of Dixville Township to cooperate with LNP personnel in the provision of security.

Asian Fusion Night By Sarah-Jane Mungo

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he Asian Fusion Night on 14 July was something that UNMIL staff will not forget so soon. This event has been long overdue on the UNMIL calendar to offer everyone a taste of Asian culture and cuisine. Though the organizing committee had only two weeks to plan and execute, their efforts culminated in a stellar night with several cultural performances from India, Nepal, and the Philippines as well as authentic Asian food from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Philippines & Fiji Islands. German Embassy reverberated with melodious Asian sounds with patrons dancing to the latest Bollywood jams as well as music from across Asia. The Indian cultural performers got special mention for their presentation of Bhangra beats which was considered by many internationals as the highlight of the night. UNV Medical administrative Officer Jyoti Raman of the organizing committee is fulsome in her praise of the cultural presentations. “We went home for a while through these performances.” The food was mouthwatering and included well known Asian delicacies like pork adobo (Philippines), jalebi (Pakistan), pakora (Nepal), samosa (India), suji halwa and lakdi mithai (Fiji Islands), among others. . The organizing committee was thrilled to have the presence of the UNMIL Force Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen Hugh Van Roosen,

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Police Commissioner John Nielson and over 300 UNMIL staff who had a wonderful night and had nothing but high praise for the event. The ambiance spoke for itself which highlighted all the hard work put in by the Asian Fusion Night Committee members. UNPOL Officer Danish Qureshi (Pakistan), committee chair for the event, was very pleased by how it all turned out. “I am so thankful to all the committee members whose hard work ensured a successful event. Kudos go out to UNMIL Staff Welfare’s Lourdes Rhodas, whose office supported this event fully.” The committee is in planning stages for a similar event in the near future and say to all those who enjoyed the event ‘Khuda hafiz, milte hain break ke baad’- Bye Bye for now, we will meet after a break!


Around Liberia New Georgia Gets Police Depot By Abid Hussain

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NMIL handed over yet another QIP-funded police depot in Montsserado County in July in line with continuing support for rule of law projects. The new Liberia National Police (LNP) depot in New Georgia township, built at a cost of nearly US$ 25,000, comes in the wake of a request from the local administration. During the hand-over, County Superintendent Grace T. Kpaan thanked UNMIL for helping to improve the lives of the people of Montserrado County. She described QIP as a partner that has demonstrated great commitment to ensuring peace and security for the people of Montserrado. The Superintendent challenged the users of the new structure to take care of the facilities and advised LNP officers to serve the community for the betterment of Liberia. LNP Commissioner for Administration Phil Gbor Toagbaa expressed his gratitude for the realization of the project. He noted

that the LNP depot will put crime in check in the area. He promised that required number of police officers will be assigned to the new facility. The UNPOL representative Azhar Hussain, handing over the keys to the depot, expressed satisfaction over the completion of the project. He hoped that the police depot in New Georgia will enhance the confidence of the people in the LNP. He described LNP as a trusted friend in providing security and promoting peace and said that the presence of the depot sends a clear message to criminals that the capacity of the LNP is gradually expanding and that the government takes security matters seriously. The UNPOL representative called for close cooperation between community residents and the police to prevent and fight crime. The LNP station commander Abraham Kenneh thanked UNMIL and gave assurance that he and his team will work day and night to reduce crime in the community.

More Trained in Community Policing By Sanela Beslagic

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group of Liberia National Police (LNP) officers underwent a two-week community policing course in July to raise their skills to new levels. The training, held at the National Police Training Academy in Paynesville, benefited 21 officers including 10 from the Police Support Unit

(PSU). The course work included subjects such as Criminology, Community Development, Leadership, Crime Prevention and Problem Solving. Through techniques such as role play, the course participants learned how to build skills for better interaction with community members and how to establish trust and foster positive relationships with the people they serve. A “Field Research Trip” was also held at Roberts International Airport (RIA) area in Harbel to expose the trainees to community policing activities being conducted within the RIA-Harbel Community. The RIA Detachment Base, Depot 1, 2, 3 and 4 were visited. The tour was also extended to selected communities to gain practical knowledge. Certificates were awarded to all participants at a graduation ceremony held on 14 July. The course was organized by the UNPOL Training and Capacity Building Team and UNPOL Community Policing Advisory Team along with their respective counterparts from the Community Services Section of the LNP.

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NIBATT 27 Reaches Out to Prison Inmates

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were inmates at the Kakata Central Prison in Margibi County. At hand to treat the inmates at Kakata Central Prison was NIBATT 27 medical representative Lt. Okorie, who has also provided medical assistance in the past to patients at private hospitals in Kakata.

Staff Sergeant Umaru Absalom

CPL. Emmanuel Julius

Staff Sergeant Umaru Absalom, formerly of NIBATT 27, died on 21 May 2012 after a brief illness. Absalom joined Nigerian Army in 1986 as a member of Regular Recruit Intake and served in 72 Special Forces Battalion. He served in UNMIL as a Presidential Guard to Liberian President prior to his death. Absalom was previously admitted at level 3 Hospital and later referred to Level IV Hospital in Accra, Ghana, but died onboard the aircraft in route to Accra. Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described Absalom as a devoted peacekeeper. Absalom was born on 2 February 1963 in Adamawa State, Nigeria and was married with children.

Cpl. Emmanuel Julius of Nigerian Battalion 27 (NIBATT 27) has died. Julius died at Level 3 Hospital in Monrovia where he was admitted for medical treatment. Born 25 December 1968 in Benue State, Nigeria, Julius was enlisted in Nigerian Army in 1989 as member of 27 Regular Recruit Intake. Julius was deployed in UNMIL on 26 February 2012. UNMIL Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Khalid and Hubert Price, Director of Mission Support, as well as other contingent members paid their last respects to Julius at the James Spriggs Payne Airport from where his body was airlifted to Nigeria. Julius’ colleagues and friends described him as inspirational, hardworking and a committed soldier. Both Khalid and Price expressed deepest condolences to family members and relatives of Julius. Julius is survived by his wife and four children.

Obituary

Beyond Work

By James S. King

s part of their efforts to make a difference in the lives of Liberians, members of Nigerian Battalion 27 in late July presented several gift items to inmates at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) in addition to providing them with free medical services. Maj. (Reverend) Jacob Danladi reminded the inmates to continue to have hope in God even in difficult circumstances. “When God determines your freedom, no one can advert it”, Maj. Danladi said. He was representing NIBATT 27 Commanding Officer Lt.Col. Valentine Okoro at the event. The Imam of NIBATT 27, Lt. Okoche offered counseling services to Muslim inmates and urged them to depend on Allah who is “able at all times to make changes in their lives”. Some of the Muslim inmates complained about the lack of Quran and other Islamic books they need to strengthen their faith. The head of NIBATT 27 medical team Lt. Bamidele Tijani attended to the inmates, treating them for various ailments. Malaria and skin diseases are the two major ailments diagnosed at the prison. Also benefiting from NIBATT 27 humanitarian services

Babongilie Sokol-Karbo UNMIL Civil Affairs Officer Babongilie Sokol-Karbo,47, died at Nu Shifa Hospital in Sydenham, Durban, South Africa on 13 July 2012 . She was married to Moshe Daynan A. Karbo with two sons. She was affectionately called Bongi by friends. Karbo served in UNMIL for four years as a Civil Affairs Officer. Karbo previously served in other peacekeeping missions including UNAMID, UNAMSIL, UNMIT/UNTAET (Timor Leste). Before joining UN, Karbo worked with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa, Shell Oil Company in South Africa and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Karbo approached her work seriously and with dedication. Grand Bassa County Superintendent Etweda Cooper described the late Karbo as a “people’s person”.

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Beyond Work PakBatt-16 Constructs Children’s Park By Siebo Williams and Maj. Sohail Sher Kahlon

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he outgoing Pakistani Contingent, PakBatt-16, has constructed a Children’s Park in Voinjama, Lofa County, for the kids of the city. PakBatt-16 ended its tour of duty in July 2012. The Children’s Park was constructed as a parting gift to the children of Voinjama and Liberia in general. Turning over the Pakistan-Liberia Friendship Park to the local county authorities, UNMIL Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Khalid said the initiative by the Pakistani peacekeepers will afford the children of Voinjama an opportunity to play in a clean environment. “The Children’s Park is a gift from PAKBATT-16 as they are preparing to end their tour of duty in Lofa County,” the Force Commander said. He noted that children are precious jewels and must be provided opportunities that will make them grow healthy. He urged the local authorities to maintain the Park facilities. This park, built in the centre of Voinjama, has various kinds of swings and activity sets for the children. Hanging swings, seesaws, monkey bar, hanging tyres, climbing wooden board and merry-go-round are among the many features of the park. Comfortable benches, a beautiful gazebo and a model car also feature in the park that is surrounded by a hedge made by bamboo sticks. A large number of local elders, community members, children and UN officials witnessed the hand-over ceremony. Local community members thanked for this beautiful piece of work and expressed their gratitude by singing Pakistani songs. Assurances were also given that the Park will be maintained and sustained after the departure of the peacekeepers. During their tour of duty, PAKBATT-16 undertook several programmes and projects outside their peacekeeping duties, pro-

viding training for several youths in various skills including auto mechanics, electricity, and basic computer training, among others.

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UNVs Party @ Jamal’s on the Boulevard By Sarah-Jane Mungo

Funds raised are used to support the various advocacy initiatives of the UN Volunteers Field Unit in Liberia. “This is such an important event for us,” says UNV Advocacy Information/Communications Specialist, Sarah-Jane Mungo, “Since its inception the UNV parties have allowed us to support various small scale volunteerism for development (V4D) activities/ projects that have positively impacted lives in tangible and intangible ways here in Liberia. We could not have asked for a better turnout and are grateful for the continued support our parties enjoy.” The next party will be held in early September so keep your dancing shoes ready for what is sure to be another great party.

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low! That was the theme of the latest UN Volunteers Programme Liberia fundraiser held at Jamal’s on the Boulevard on the first Saturday of July. The party was packed and the ‘glow’ on the faces of those who attended testified to its success. UN Volunteers, UNMIL and UN agencies staff, as well as the NGO community and Liberian nationals, showed up in their numbers to support the quarterly fundraising event. Attendees included the new Force Chief of Staff UNMIL Brig.Gen. Hugh Van Roosen, Chief of Property Management Section Dirk Lewyllie, Chief CITS David Ruane and other senior personnel of UNMIL and UN Agencies.

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Field Staff Union (FSU) Seeks Your Views

he Field Staff Union (FSU) committee in UNMIL has broken its silence by boldly announcing that its members are “working behind the scene” and seeking volunteers to assist in various areas. “You might have thought our silence means no action but be rest assured that we are systematically working behind the scene to ensure that our mandate is fulfilled and your interests are our priorities,” a broadcast from the FSU committee said recently. To have a strong and effective FSU “we need all the staff members to stand together as one,” the broad8 - UNMIL Today July 2012

cast continued. The new FSU committee is currently awaiting an office and updating its website in order for staff members to have necessary and useful updated information affecting their entitlements and benefits. Staff members are free to contact any of the members of the FSU committee on any issues that require attention. The FSU committee is also seeking views and concerns from the staff. The email address to reach UNMIL FSU committee is unmilfsu@un.org.


UN’s Women Police Officers Get Together By Sanela Beslagic

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Beyond Work

NMIL’s female police officers had a chance to share experiences and network when they held a quarterly meeting with UNPOL Commissioner John Nielsen at UNMIL headquarters in Monrovia on 18 July. Speakers at the event included Ms. Comfort Lamptey, the head of the Office of Gender Affairs, Betty Duhaylongsod of the Staff Counseling Unit and the Chief of the conduct and discipline team, Roselyn Odera. At the closure of the meeting, final remarks were given by Jane Rhodes, the newly appointed alternate focal point for women in UNMIL. Rhodes emphasized the importance of these meetings as an opportunity for females to share experiences and to network and asked for suggestions on the content and themes for future similar events.

Nepalese Peacekeepers Reach Out to Grand Bassa Residents By Moses Zangar

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ore than 100 school children and other kids from surrounding communities in Hartford, Grand Bassa County, enjoyed a hearty meal thanks to a humanitarian outreach by the Nepalese Formed Police Unit-2 to the Government Morning School recently. The Nepalese police also gave copybooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners and sporting materials such as soccer balls and two sets of volleyballs to the school. Making the presentation, Maj. Deepak Adhikari, Operations Officer of the Nepal FPU-2, said the gesture was aimed at promoting peace in the community. He said he hoped the educational materials would help reduce the burden on parents who had to buy these materials for their kids. The Principal of the school, Joseph Bleh thanked the Nepalese peacekeepers adding that he hoped his school’s partnership with the peacekeepers would continue. St. John River City Mayor Erasmus Addy, Sr. also lavished praises on the Nepalese, requesting others to follow suit. Similarly, the Nepalese Formed Police Unit recently donated two soccer balls and two volleyball sets to the Own Your Own Community, a residential quarter approximately 5 kilometers outside of Buchanan. Maj. Adhikari said the donation was aimed at using sports as a tool to promote peace. He called on the residents to use sports as a unifying force which can help to bring lasting peace to Liberia. The leader of the Own Your Own Community, Lingston B. Kieh, thanked the Nepalese for the gesture, assuring that the soccer balls and volleyballs will help to reunite members of the community through sports activities. Kids at the Good Hope Restoration Orphanage center in Grand Bassa County were also proud beneficiaries of the goodwill of the Nepalese police. They had lunch with the officers and received free medical care.

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New Focal Point for Women Team Designated

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ena Dei Tutu of the Legal Education and Training Unit, has been designated as the new Principal Focal Point for Women in UNMIL. Chuka Gaines, Accounts/Budget Assistant and Jane Rhodes, Reform and Restructuring Coordinator,of UNPOL, will be first and second alternatives respectively. The FPW team was selected after a thorough process of review of the 15 candidates who applied to serve in the function. The FPW team in UNMIL will assist the Head of Mission in efforts to achieve gender balance, monitor progress towards the achievement of gender targets and promote a gender-sensitive work environment. They will also be responsible for providing career and job-related counseling and advice to all categories of female staff (civilian and uniformed), and will provide relevant advice in the staff selection process to advance the goal of gender balance. The FPW team will receive substantive guidance and support from the Office of the Senior Gender Adviser in implementing functions as required. “To be effective, the FPW team will also require the support and cooperation of all Heads of Sections, Units and other Programme Managers,” said DSRSG Moustapha Soumaré, announcing the new FPW team.

Did You Know? Lisiah By Sarah-Jane Mungo

Did you know that UN Volunteer Lisiah -- it’s not a mistake she just has one name -- construction engineer with the Facilities Management has over 11 years of experience as a construction engineering consultant in her native land Indonesia? Lisiah, or ‘Cha-cha’ as she is fondly called by her friends and co-workers, has been in Liberia since November 2010 and she is loving every minute of it. A firsttime volunteer, she came to Liberia fresh off after working on building a school in Padang, Indonesia, as part of efforts to rebuild the area after the devastating earthquake that rocked Indonesia in 2009. Lisiah was excited to come to Liberia as a UN Volunteer. This

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is the first time she is working for the United Nations. She was very surprised by the sheer size of the operations at UNMIL. “I was surprised at how big the operations are at UNMIL. And Engineering Section is big so even though I had to hit the ground running, it took a few weeks for me to find my feet,” she says with a hearty laugh. Lisiah feels fully supported by her supervisors and co-workers and is happy to have the opportunity to help build the capacity of the Liberian staff she is working with. “I like sharing my knowledge of construction with my Liberian counterparts as it helps build their capacity.” Liberia is the first country in Africa she has worked in and she is having the time of her life. “I am really enjoying myself even though I am far away from home. I mean I came halfway around the world to serve as a volunteer. “When I arrived looking around it felt like home. The same tropical weather, but a lot hotter,” she says with a smile. “I encourage all Liberians to do everything in their power to sustain the peace that they have fought so hard for.” Lisiah is grateful to UN Volunteers for this experience and opportunity to serve. She has waited for two years for an assignment after her initial application. “I have learnt a lot about working with people from different backgrounds and cultures and as long as I am here I will continue to contribute my part to help rebuild Liberia.”




From the Staff Counseling Unit Social Support



August2012

(Another tool to combat stress)

It

 

probably doesn't take a scientific study to

convince you that surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care about you can have a positive effect on your mental well-being.



A coffee break with a friend at work, a quick chat with a neighbor, a phone call to your sister, even a visit to church are all ways to develop and foster lasting relationships with the people close to you.

Benefitsofasocialsupportnetwork: x

x

x



Sense of belonging. Spending time with people helps ward off loneliness. Just knowingyou'renotalonecangoalongway towardcopingwithstress. Increased sense of selfͲworth. Having peoplewhocallyouafriendreinforcesthe idea that you're a good person to be around. Feeling of security. Your social network gives you access to information, advice, guidance and other types of assistance shouldyouneedthem.

Thefoundationofsocialnetworks A successful relationship is a twoͲway street. The betterafriendyouare,thebetteryourfriendswill be. Here are some suggestions for nurturing your relationships: x Stay in touch. Answering phone calls, returning emails and reciprocating invitationsletpeopleknowyoucare. x Don'tcompete.Behappyinsteadofjealous when your friends succeed, and they'll celebrateyouraccomplishmentsinreturn.

x

x

x

Be a good listener. Find out what's importanttoyourfriends—youmightfind you have even more in common  thanyouthink. Don't overdo it. Be careful not to overwhelm friends and family with phone calls and emails. Save those highͲdemand timesforwhenyoureallyneedthem. Appreciate your friends and family. Taketimetosaythankyouandexpresshow important they are to you. Be there for themwhentheyneedsupport.

The bottom line: The goal of building your social support network is to reduce your stress level,notaddtoit.Takingthetimetobuildasocial support network is a wise investment not only in your mental wellͲbeing but also in your physical healthandlongevity. Start making more friends or improving the relationshipsyoualreadyhave.Whetheryou'rethe one getting the support or the one doling out the encouragement,you'llreapaplethoraofrewards. Sources: Mayo Clinic/Articles in the Net



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New SRSG Visits Bong County By Daniel Mensah Brande

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pecial Representative of the Secretary-General Karin Landgren made her first official visit to Bong County in late July to acquaint herself with the peacekeeping terrain in that part of Liberia. Accompanied by the Chair of the United Nations PeaceBuilding Commission Country’s Configuration for Liberia, Ambassador Staffan Tillander, and Deputy Special Representative for Rule of Law Louis Aucoin, Landgren inspected a guard of honour mounted by Pakistani peacekeepers on her arrival at Sector B CARI Complex headquarters. The new UN envoy then travelled to the Bong County administrative capital, Gbarnga, to inspect the ongoing work on the US$3.7 million Regional Justice and Security Hub, a centre being constructed through the UN Peace-Building Fund to service the accommodation, logistics, training, administrative, and command needs of security agencies in Central Liberia with the aim of bringing security and justice to the doorsteps of the people. The Chief Technical Advisor to the UNOPS office in Liberia, Lakis Papastavrou, who is overseeing the project, explained the various components of the project to the SRSG. Landgren stressed the need for more public outreach activities to enable the local population fully understand and embrace the concept and expressed her concern over the apparent delay in completing the project on time. The highlight of the SRSG’s visit was a town hall meeting she held with UNMIL staff at which she gave a brief account of her peacekeeping tours of duty around the globe. She commended the contribution of UNMIL staff members of the sector to the realization of UNMIL’s mandate. “Liberia is one of the few places where the people and government are openly thankful to the UN,” she said. Landgren pointed out that the major challenge for UNMIL is to help Liberia maintain the peace and stability to deepen its young democracy, adding that efforts were underway to increase the current strength of the Liberia National Police from over 4,000 to 8,000. The UN envoy then opened the discussion, soliciting ques-

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tions and comments from staff members, saying, “I am here to listen to you; tell me your experience in the UN and the challenges you think Liberia faces as UNMIL begins its transition.” Staff members expressed views on a wide range of issues such as Liberia’s decentralization policy, the relationship between the local population and mining and logging companies, the need to find an effective mechanism for resolving land disputes; and the designing of effective strategies for managing the expectations and perceptions of Liberians as UNMIL begins to scale down its presence. Earlier in welcome remarks, the Bong County Head of UN Field Office (HoFO) Karimu Bukari Yorose told the SRSG that the strategic location of Bong County, sharing borders with six other counties in addition to Guinea, as well as being home to a large number of ex-combatants, makes it critically important in the Liberian peace process. He mentioned drug trafficking as one of the major challenges facing the county. The visit on a rather soggy rainy day, though short it was, offered staff members in the sector the opportunity to see and interact with their new Head of Mission. And travelling by road from Monrovia to Gbarnga must have offered the new SRSG the opportunity to discover and explore the greenness of Liberia.


UNMIL Today