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  • MONUSCO (2023)
    MONUSCO (2023)

People for Peace: Helping children break from the shackles of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

By: Samira Y. Salifu

Since he joined the United Nations decades ago, Kalunga Kizito Emmanuel has determined to replicate his previous successes while working in a non-governmental organization which focused on community empowerment and development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). With a first experience serving with the Civil Affairs team of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), this father of three is now scaling new heights in the Mission working as an Associate Child Protection officer to both advocate for the rights of children caught up in conflict and support their release from armed groups.

“My first day in this role was in the field, engaging with multiple stakeholders who are involved in protecting children. It is even difficult to describe what an ordinary workday looks like for me because it changes all the time.

I work in a team which does its best to prevent the recruitment of children into armed groups, support their release from these groups and ensure that their rights are not violated.

One of the major challenges we face on the job relates to anti-MONUSCO sentiments in the country that may come in the form of misinformation and disinformation campaigns. This means we are never fully accepted and constantly need to be aware of our surroundings and be cautious of what we do to stay safe.

Nonetheless, our status as representatives of the UN allows us to access and be heard in places otherwise impossible. This helps to power what we do daily and enables us to arrive at workable solutions in the interest of the children we serve.

The joy of seeing a child whose liberation I have contributed to drives my passion. This also guides me to work in such a way that my words and actions do not jeopardize the assistance the Mission provides to vulnerable children.

I believe that the contribution of each one of us to the peace we want is essential, but it does not take away the need for our collective awareness of what is most important. I look forward to development and durable peace for the DRC and lasting protection for her children.”

For 75 years, UN peacekeepers have worked alongside international partners, community leaders and Member States to save and change lives in the world’s most fragile political and security situations. These are ordinary people striving to achieve extraordinary outcomes in often difficult and dangerous situations. They are People for Peace, and these are their stories.