‘Young people should treasure peace’

August - November 2019

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‘Young people should treasure peace’

– Ms. Zuwena Mbarouk Iddi, serving in DR Congo
Ms. Zuwena Mbarouk Iddi

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Zuwena Mbarouk Iddi. I am a Sergeant with the sixth Tanzanian battalion serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

How long have you been a peacekeeper and what are your responsibilities?

I have been here for the last eight months. I conduct patrols in remote areas and in towns such as Beni, Boikene and Ngadi. With the current Ebola epidemic spread, we also escort humanitarian aid in the area. My main responsibility is to build and maintain good relationships with the local communities.

Why did you choose this career? How did you become a UN Peacekeeper?

I attended a pre-deployment peacekeeping course at the Peacekeeping Training Centre in Msata, Tanzania. The course truly inspired me to work for the UN. We still have training on our role here and to better understand the environment in which we are working in.

What is your typical day like?

On a normal day when I wake up I exercise first, clean my personal space, then have breakfast with colleagues. After that I attend the morning parade and then carry out tasks assigned by my supervisor. But that routine often changes because the security situation is very volatile in our area.

I am also a radio operator, and some of my tasks are to ensure that all radios are working properly, that all the batteries are well-charged and ready to be used by the troops conducting patrols. I also monitor communications between the troops and, in case of a threat, inform my superiors.

What are some of the highlights of your service at your current peacekeeping mission? What do you like most about the country you are deployed in? 

The generosity of the Congolese and the numerous ties we build with the local communities are definitely the highlights of my current mission here. Plus, as a Tanzanian, I speak Kiswahili, which is also spoken here in DRC. As such, I feel like I am halfway home. And I must say, the weather here is great!

What did your family and friends back home think about your decision to leave your country and work for a UN peacekeeping mission?

The support I have from my family and my friends back home is truly important for me. They are proud of me and this empowers me greatly. 

What do you do when you have some spare time?

I normally communicate with my family back home, play games, do sports, watch television or go to the mosque to pray.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to be able to share my experience with young peacekeepers and also to serve as an adviser to my superiors on peacekeeping operations. I also hope to be a good ambassador for my fellow Tanzanians about the importance of peace in a country.

What would you say to young people considering a career in peacekeeping?

My advice to the young, upcoming generations is that, if you have peace in your country, please treasure and maintain it because restoring lasting and durable peace after a period of instability is difficult.