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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Zamboanga CWG youth volunteers briefed on humanitarian work

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY  Youth volunteers of the Zamboanga Communications Working Group (CWG) last week were given a formal orientation on humanitarian work to help them communicate more effectively with internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the September 2013 siege.

On Thursday (April 30) at a local hotel here, about 40 students coming from local colleges and universities participated in this activity, which was supported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) and The Asia Foundation (TAF).

International lawyer Michelle Berg, senior protection analyst for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shared with the volunteers that humanitarian work is never easy. “It is very easy to make a dollar, but very difficult to make a difference.”

Likewise, she praised the volunteers for their dedication to serve their communities through the CWG. “I’m incredibly impressed with you,” she said.

Berg, who has been working with humanitarians as a career said that whenever they would hire new staff, she will always be asking about volunteer work. Being a volunteer is a clear indication that a person’s dedication is always there for any job, she said.

The CWG is the communications hub between government and international humanitarian organizations and the IDPs who have been affected by the siege. As part of its reaching-out efforts, the CWG taps the volunteers to conduct focused group discussions with the IDPs to thresh out their issues and concerns, as well as their persisting needs while in the transitory sites.

The CWG believes and stresses that “communication is aid”, and it is as essential for IDPs as their basic needs.