Adele Libam : “We don’t become volunteers. We are born volunteers. Everything is in the mind!”

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17 May 2013

Adele Libam : “We don’t become volunteers. We are born volunteers. Everything is in the mind!”

Adele Libam is a Cameroonian Volunteer who arrived in Bukavu a year ago, on October 2011, to coordinate the provincial component of the UNDP Poverty Programme. Guided by the values of volunteering, she is committed to the socio-economic reintegration of women who are victims of sexual violence.

"As UN Volunteers, we are the spokespeople of the United Nations, and we implement the ethics of the United Nations through our actions and our work," said Adele Libam with conviction. Adele is not at her first volunteering assignment, and she strives to communicate the values of volunteerism, democracy and human rights around her. Before coming to the Congo, she was a UN Volunteer with a decentralization project in Mauritania from 2005 to 2008. She then continued to volunteer with several NGOs in Mauritania before being recruited again as a UN Volunteer in the DRC.

The Women Victims of Sexual Violence Empowerment Project (PSAR), is one of the projects under Adele's responsibility. This project aims to improve the economic status of women victims of sexual violence and reintegrating them through community outreach. The Project offers a physical space to women victims of sexual violence to access a means of subsistence within the community: The Polyvalent Community Center (CCP).

"Those women face stigmatization and marginalization from the community, and are therefore a segment of labor lost for community development. It is then important to promote their integration in order to fight poverty and secure community recovery. So far, I have helped women members of CCP to organize themselves into sectors by facilitating free elections of management committees. More specifically, I have strengthened their sense of cohesion, solidarity and transparency to work for better income traceability and profit sharing," said Adele. Until now, six CCP have been put into place by UNDP, supervising 1250 women through income-generating activities such as dressmaking, baking, catering, small business, among others. While facilitating the access of women to livelihood opportunities, the PSAR contribute then to their social reintegration and their acceptance by the community.

It is undoubtedly the power of volunteerism that led Adele to the DRC. Indeed, driven by such ideals, Adele has not apprehended the challenge of living and working in an unstable environment as South Kivu. "It's hard to work in development and conduct sustainable actions in a context where the population is both struck by poverty and armed conflicts, but despite the difficulties, we keep an obligation of results thanks to our volunteer spirit, " she says. Likewise, Adele is convinced of the positive influence of volunteerism on women victims of sexual violence: "Volunteering can make women victims of sexual violence more dynamic in their activities and therefore more productive. It canallow them to promote themselves in their society and in their domestic life."