Mary Grace Ariza: Working to Move the Mission Forward!
Ms. Mary Grace Ariza has been serving with the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as a United Nations Volunteer for the past five years. She arrived in Darfur from her home country, the Republic of the Philippines, in January 2009, as an Assistant in the Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) section.
Ms. Ariza’s diverse responsibilities include performing administrative tasks, dealing with logistics and equipment coming from more than 50 contributing countries including formed police units (FPUs), monitoring the monthly strength of the Mission troops and the police. As of October 2013, the total number of UNAMID personnel including military and police numbers more than 19,000.
As a COE Assistant, Ms. Ariza works in coordination with the Movement Control office (MOVCON) and the Transport section to ensure that appropriate documents, including third party insurance for vehicles and other equipment, are issued before they are deployed to the Mission area. She also assists in providing guidance to the troops before their deployment, while on the ground and before their repatriation.
“Because I am at the heart of the logistics operation, I am able to contribute to the smooth functioning and operation of the Mission in execution of the Mission’s mandate to bring about peace and security in Darfur. It is especially gratifying to ensure that equipment goes where it needs to go efficiently and promptly,” she says.
This is her first UN Mission and is also the first time she has worked in Africa. Prior to her deployment in Darfur, Mary Grace was working for the Philippine National Police as part of their civilian staff and dealt with vital administrative matters. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2007.
Apart from her professional work, Mary Grace is an enthusiastic participant in welfare activities. In 2010, she won third place in the UNAMID’s Got Talent event organized by the Welfare section. Since then, she constantly receives invitations to perform during special events such as Karaoke Nights and farewell functions for senior management in the Mission. She says she enjoys singing, which is one her hobbies; in fact, she has been part of singing competitions as a student in her own country.
United Nations Volunteers bring to their assignments a unique combination of professional-level skills and experience, along with a spirit of volunteerism which encourages community empowerment and local capacity development. In addition, UN Volunteers place a high value on outreach activities (security conditions permitting) to empower local communities and develop capacities within the host country populations. UN Volunteers work closely with other UNAMID sections in planning and carrying out such activities. UNAMID currently has more than four hundred International UNVs including 81 females and 325 males supporting 29 UNAMID Sections and Units from 61 nationalities.
Ms. Ariza describes the UNV programme at UNAMID as an immensely rewarding platform for sharing her experience and knowledge in aiding the Mission to achieve its mandate.
By Sharon Lukunka
On 4 December 2013, Mary Grace Ariza interacts with members of the UNAMID Formed Police Unit from Indonesia at the UNAMID headquarters. Ms. Ariza has been serving with UNAMID as a United Nations Volunteer since January 2009. She works as an Assistant in the Contingent Owned Equipment section. Photo by Hamid Abdulsalam, UNAMID