Becoming a UN Volunteer allowed me to indulge in my passion to help

25 fév 2015

Becoming a UN Volunteer allowed me to indulge in my passion to help

It is 6.30 a.m. in Bunia and Hannah Kemevor, Air Operations Assistant, is already on the airport tarmac. Her role is to prepare and follow MONUSCO flights.

Her day starts with the inspection of the runway. ‘‘I make sure that the runway is operational and that there are no objects on it that could damage our equipment,’’ says Hannah. Once the runway inspection is over, she goes to the apron for the inspection of UN aircrafts to make sure that they are fit to fly and ready for takeoff. Along with her inspection duties, Hannah is also in charge of coordinating in real-time the MONUSCO air traffic movement, from landing to takeoff. ‘‘Regarding the coordination of aircraft movements, I work in collaboration with the MONUSCO air bases in Dungu, Aru and Mahagi, which are in our area of control. I coordinate daily about a dozen of flights in Bunia,’’ she explained. Air operations represent the focal point of the airport. Everything goes through air operations and, as Air Operations Assistant, Hannah is in contact with all those involved in air transport at MONUSCO: the drivers, the passengers, the ground staff, security, ...

An opportunity to help

But what prompted this young 27 year-old Ghanaian to work in aviation? An opportunity to help others. "I’ve always wanted to help others, which is why I was drawn to the aviation sector. Working in this sector does not only means to help passengers reach their destinations, but it is first and foremost to provide logistical support to humanitarian workers and to help them get their convoys into conflict areas and to destinations where humanitarian interventions are needed,‘’ said Hannah. "My contribution to those in need is indirect but vital, and aims to improve the living conditions of these populations through the transport of humanitarian aid that I am facilitating.’’

Hannah’s decision to become a UN Volunteer was a well thought out choice and has lived up to her expectations. "The UNV program is an apprenticeship platform which allowed me to acquire new skills and to learn from professionals of other countries. The UNV program also gave me the opportunity to share my expertise with my national colleagues at work and thereby building their capacity to carry out the work by themselves‘’. One of Hannah’s duties is to supervise and train national staff in the areas of aviation safety and security. ‘‘It is important to build national capacity in order to ensure sustainability once MONUSCO leaves," she said.

Breaking through gender stereotypes

As Hannah was able to secure a spot in a predominantly male industry, she intends to use her position to change perceptions and reduce gender disparities within the aviation sector. ‘’One of my achievements so far is to have encouraged two female colleagues to join the team, to have improved their professional skills, their confidence at work and their team spirit," she explains. "Aviation should be more open to women and skills should take precedence over the gender of the candidate.’’