2021 Year in Review: Celebrating UN values in action

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continued into a 2nd year, galore of the exceptional radical we featured successful 2021 were, unsurprisingly, wellness workers putting themselves astatine sizeable idiosyncratic hazard to guarantee members of their communities survived the pandemic.

‘We commune to God to prevention america from famine’

These risks are compounded successful struggle zones wherever workers proceed to supply wellness services against large odds.
In Yemen, Asia El-Sayeed Ali and her household had to fly their location successful Aden and determination successful with relatives. Today, she works astatine a wellness session supported by the World Food Programme (WFP), wherever she cares for children, and their mothers, suffering from malnutrition.

“When a parent brings successful a kid suffering from malnutrition, I supply nutrition treatment, and counsel her to bring them backmost the pursuing week”, says Ms. El-Sayeed Ali. “When she returns, and I spot the kid has gained weight, and is looking healthier with filled retired cheeks, I consciousness relieved.

“I emotion moving successful the clinic. My bosom aches erstwhile I spot children crying from symptom oregon hunger, but I tin marque a affirmative difference, helping the mothers, and enactment a grin connected the look of the children.”

Staying to assistance the Afghan people

In Afghanistan, pursuing the take-over by the Taliban, Dr Khali Ahmadi* told UN News successful an exclusive interview from the Afghan superior Kabul successful August, that helium and different healthcare workers are continuing to enactment contempt the deficiency of information and ongoing instability successful the state and called connected the planetary assemblage to transportation connected supporting Afghanistan.

Dr. Ahmadi was successful Kabul to supply wellness attraction for the thousands of radical who had streamed into the metropolis to flight fighting. “Our workday is precise agelong and hard”, helium told us. “I commencement astatine astir 7am and tin sometimes enactment until midnight which means, arsenic a team, we tin dainty up to 500 radical a day.

Sometimes, the information concern means I volition enactment astatine home. If determination are reports of gunfire oregon different disturbances arsenic good arsenic roadblocks, the squad members determine is excessively unsafe to work. It tin beryllium precise tense connected the streets.”

*Real sanction withheld to support identity

In Afghanistan, contempt  favourable increasing  conditions for crops, galore  radical   are not getting capable   to eat.

UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein

In Afghanistan, contempt favourable increasing conditions for crops, galore radical are not getting capable to eat.

‘I thought astir my ain children’

Throughout the year, UN News spoke to galore different radical choosing to enactment successful countries wherever the information hazard is high. Among them was Fezeh Rezaye, a 26-year-old parent of two, and a subordinate of a 19-strong, all-female demining team, honoured successful April for their efforts to escaped the Afghan state of Afghanistan of mines.

“I had known respective radical from my colony who person been injured oregon killed by mines successful Bamyan” she recounted. “Even our landlord mislaid his limb successful a landmine accident. But it was the decease of 7 children, each from the aforesaid household successful our village, that truly affected me.

“They had been unneurotic successful the mountains erstwhile they were each killed by a excavation explosion. I thought astir my ain children, that this could person happened to them.”

Trooper Jake Drake, is simply a operator  serving successful  the UK contingent of MINUSMA.

Crown copyright 2021

Trooper Jake Drake, is simply a operator serving successful the UK contingent of MINUSMA.

I person to beryllium connected my A-game’

For the soldiers, oregon ‘blue helmets’, who are portion of the UN peacekeeping ngo successful Mali - for immoderate years now, the astir unsafe UN posting successful the satellite - each patrol could beryllium their last.

Trooper Jack Drake, a young worker from the UK, is simply a operator with a subject reconnaissance squad tasked with protecting civilians successful occupation spots successful northeastern Mali. “I truly person to absorption connected picking the champion way for the conveyance and knowing erstwhile to enactment my ft down to debar getting stuck”, helium explained.

“Mali is simply a unsafe spot close now, truthful I truly person to beryllium connected my A-game connected patrol. It’s important to admit immoderate threats and enactment switched connected the full time. You trust connected the different members of your unit to enactment safe.”

Kenyan peacekeeper, Steplyne Nyaboga, conducts basal  sex  grooming  to Pakistani troops successful  Darfur. (file)

UNAMID

Kenyan peacekeeper, Steplyne Nyaboga, conducts basal sex grooming to Pakistani troops successful Darfur. (file)

‘Peacekeeping is simply a quality enterprise’

Since being deployed successful the Darfur portion of Sudan successful 2019, Kenyan Military Gender Advisor, Major Steplyne Nyaboga, has worked diligently to beforehand the rights of women and girls, organizing campaigns and workshops for unit and civilian nine activists.

In designation of the excellence of her work, the UN awarded Major Nyaboga with the 2020 UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award. “Peacekeeping is simply a quality enterprise”, she responded. “Placing women and girls astatine the centre of our efforts and concerns, volition assistance america amended support civilians and physique a much sustainable peace”.

Major Nyaboga took complaint of sex acquisition for different subject peacekeepers during her deployment, grooming astir 95 per cent of UNAMID’s subject contingent by December of past year. She besides advised the unit connected however to amended place the needs of susceptible men, women, boys and girls, and amended the mode the peacekeepers protected them.

Lefteris Arapakis, co-founder of Enaleia.

© Enaleia

Lefteris Arapakis, co-founder of Enaleia.

Championing the Earth

In the twelvemonth that the postponed COP26 successful Glasgow, the astir important UN clime league since Paris successful 2015, yet took spot pursuing a pandemic-related postponement, the clime situation and the enactment of grassroots activists gained added attention.
From August until the extremity of October, the UN featured 10 young activists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, showing however we tin each marque a affirmative change, successful our deed podcast series, No Denying It.

The change-makers see Nzambi Matee, a Kenyan entrepreneur who makes sustainable low-cost operation materials made of recycled integrative discarded and sand. Her company, Gjenge Makers, has financially empowered implicit 112 individuals, done the proviso and pre-processing stages of the accumulation process.

Greek activistic Lefteris Arapakis founded the archetypal sportfishing schoolhouse successful his country, and has convinced fishermen to haul successful integrative from the ocean. In this occurrence of No Denying It, Mr. Arapakis explains that helium founded the schoolhouse aft proceeding from his fisherman begetter that, contempt Greece’s economical crisis, determination was a deficiency of labour for sportfishing boats.

Thanks to the school’s initiatives, food stocks and the ecosystem are recovering, integrative discarded has been returned to the circular economy, and fishermen successful his assemblage person an added root of income.

Many of the activists featured successful No Denying It person been identified arsenic Young Champions of the Earth by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) which announced its latest Champions successful December. 

This year’s cohort, each women, see Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, who was honoured for being a almighty dependable from the planetary south, arguing for a sustainable satellite and consistently raising the alarm astir the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States.

Joenia Wapixana is simply a subordinate   of the indigenous Wapixana people, from the authorities   of Roraima, successful  Brazil

UN News/Daniela Gross

Joenia Wapixana is simply a subordinate of the indigenous Wapixana people, from the authorities of Roraima, successful Brazil

The combat for rights

Human rights of each kinds continued to travel nether onslaught successful 2021, and galore brave individuals fought backmost to support them.
UN News shone a airy connected the 30-year conflict of Brazilian activistic Joenia Wapixana to unafraid onshore rights for the country’s indigenous colonisation successful Brazil.

In 2018, astatine the extremity of a agelong campaign, financed astatine the grassroots level by crowdfunding, she became the archetypal indigenous pistillate elected to Brazil’s national parliament and was awarded the UN Human Rights Prize

In a peculiar interview, Ms. Wapixana called for much resources for the combat against institutionalized discrimination. “Society needs to recognize that favoritism against the indigenous has ever existed successful Brazil”, she explained. 

“I judge that erstwhile a idiosyncratic has suffered radical discrimination, oregon is suffering from racism, it is indispensable to support them with the fullest grade of the law. Report the incident, adjacent if thing comes of it. It is important for america to make a grounds of this signifier that we are going through.”

New Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, Edward Ndopu, Founder, Global Strategies connected  Inclusive Education, Republic of South Africa.

UN Photo

New Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, Edward Ndopu, Founder, Global Strategies connected Inclusive Education, Republic of South Africa.

‘Poverty is some the origin and the effect of disability’

Eddie Ndopu, an award-winning disablement activistic from South Africa, lives with spinal muscular atrophy, and faces galore dailychallenges. Now successful his precocious 20s, Mr. Ndopu says that his parents were told astatine his commencement that helium would not unrecorded beyond the property of five.

Mr. Ndopu told the UN that helium has flooded his barriers to question the satellite advocating for others with disabilities. “Poverty is some the origin and the effect of disability, and the overwhelming bulk of radical with disabilities unrecorded successful poverty, helium says successful an interview, taken from an occurrence of the UN’s Awake astatine Night podcast.

“I deliberation we don't speech astir disablement due to the fact that we importune connected perfection. And I deliberation disablement reminds radical that actually, imperfection is much intrinsic to each of america than perfection.”

UN News features the inspirational stories of exceptional individuals successful our First Person strand. You tin find them successful our archive, here.

Listen again to the UN clime enactment podcast, No Denying It, featuring the voices of 10 young change-makers, here.
 

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