"As a Community Liaison Assistant (CLA), my job is to bring the Mission closer to the population. To this end, my task consists in fostering community engagement, in particular that of the civil society organizations for the purposes of the implementation of MONUSCO's mandate, within the framework of peacekeeping and stabilization of the eastern DRC in general and the Grand Nord, in particular. "
It is in these terms that Longhi Faida Jeannette, aged 60, starts her introduction on a professional note. She joined MONUSCO Civil Affairs Section on August 27, 2012 in Goma where she worked for the Indian contingent's operational base (COB) for a year. In Goma, her task was to monitor protection-related situations and report them; namely the human rights violations in the northern part of the city and entities in the Nyiragongo territory, which came under heavy threat from the M23 rebellion in 2012-2013.
As part of the protection approach advocated by her section, she contributed "to the establishment, training and operations by Local Protection Committees (LPCs) in 7 different entities (Bujovu, Majengo, Virunga, Kahembe, Murara, Rusayo, KIbumba) " As a result, she coordinated early warnings, using the CAN (Community Alert Networks) tool by collecting information from focal points with a view to sharing them with officers of the operational base as well as FARDC and/or Police commanders for a possible intervention.
Like all the CLAs, Jeannette works with the communities. In Beni, the most volatile area of the North Kivu province, where she was redeployed in 2013 and where she has been working so far, she says, she has made her small contribution to peace by facilitating, even during the periods of the major crisis, "collaboration between the population and MONUSCO".
Such was the case during the last crisis in November 2019, she underscores ; this is one of the memories that will live long with her as she puts it : "I still remember the situation experienced in November 2019 where, due to persisting insecurity in the region, the population lashed out at MONUSCO and the situation resulted in the destructive actions and torching of MONUSCO offices in Boikene. The population then demanded MONUSCO's departure and could no longer tolerate the Mission."
"There were successive meetings and community consultations as well as informal and formal meetings;
I successfully facilitated meetings between MONUSCO and the different strata of the population to renew dialogue and restore confidence between the population and the Mission.
This action contributed meaningfully to the reduction of the anti-MONUSCO sentiment in the city and territory of Beni, on top of which, the countless awareness-raising sessions that brought the population to heed the message and stop attacking MONUSCO patrols," she said.
Jeannette Longhi says she is proud of her career within MONUSCO. Proud, above all, for what she has acquired from the Mission: "I have been able to improve my skills and know-how through implementing the different activities, regular productions of different reports, and through living in diversity. Working in collaboration with the various staff members of different nationalities within MONUSCO helped me develop the spirit of tolerance and teamwork. "
Jeannette, however, has a message she holds dear: "I encourage each staff member to fully play their role in the fulfilment of the Mission's mandate and each section to fulfill their task as expected".
She expresses the wish to see the Civil Affairs transmit protection alerts on a timely manner and this be followed by "protective actions", encouraging "the community of the Grand Nord, in particular that of Beni, to continue sharing information and alerts with FARDC, the Police and MONUSCO in real time for their prompt actions for peace to prevail throughout the territory of Beni. "
* | May 29 marks the celebration of the International Day of the United Nations Peacekeepers. It is an opportunity to pay tribute to the civilian and military personnel deployed in the United Nations peace missions around the world. This year's theme is: "Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace". MONUSCO invites you to discover, through a series of portraits, the invaluable contributions of Women Peacekeepers in the service of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.