International Day of UN Volunteers: Diane Umuhoza, Rwanda

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Diane Umuhoza uses her 12-year experience as a laboratory technician to ensure UNMISS peacekeepers are in peak physical condition to protect civilians and help build a durable peace. Photo by Zejin Yin/UNMISS

5 Dec 2022

International Day of UN Volunteers: Diane Umuhoza, Rwanda

WARRAPDiane Umuhoza is an experienced laboratory technician with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), based in Kuajok. Here, Diane tells us why being a UN Volunteer is a meaningful career choice and how she works every day to contribute towards the health of peacekeepers.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I always had a scientific bent of mind and before I opted to serve with the United Nations, I worked for 12 years as a laboratory technician in my home country, Rwanda.

Could you tell us about your job and the impact you have on the ground every day?

Being a clinical laboratory technician, I am a healthcare provider trained to assist doctors and nurses to successfully treat any illness. This is particularly important in a place like South Sudan where our peacekeepers serve in very harsh conditions. If they are to protect civilians and build peace successfully, they have to be in peak physical shape – that’s where we come in. Especially, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical and mental health have become key areas where UNMISS proactively supports all staff—military, civilian and police. I’m happy to say that my daily work diagnosing medical conditions directly supports us to be fully operational on the ground.

What do you like most about being a UN Volunteer?

I think it’s been a very enriching experience. I’ve met and worked with people from various countries and learnt a lot about different professional approaches. I think I’ve become a better worker because of this multicultural exposure.

What’s one thing you have learned since starting your mission?

My key takeaway from UNMISS has been that building peace and ensuring the mandate is fully implemented is a collective effort. Everybody in a UN Peacekeeping mission counts, every patrol matters, every radio duty is vital and the work we do as healthcare providers is critical.

Do you have a message for other young people who want to follow your career graph?

I’d recommend that any young person interested in contributing to a global cause should look at the United Nations as a viable career option. You can make a real difference.

Do you have a message for the people of South Sudan?

South Sudan is a beautiful and vibrant country. I urge all citizens to eschew conflict and unite for peace and progress. There is power in unity.