UNIC Pretoria introduces Summat College to the United Nations

24 November 2014

In an effort to raise awareness of the work of the United Nations in South Africa and globally, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) held a FUN Day briefing for 70 Grade 11 and 12 learners at Summat College, a high school in Pretoria on 31 July 2014. Teacher, Victor Rikhotso has been using the UNIC Library and wanted his students to learn more about the United Nations.

Hope Kabamba, the UNIC Librarian gave a general overview of the work of the UN and screened an introductory video on the UN. The Library Intern, Given Mashaba concluded the session with a presentation on the MDGs.

During an engaging question and answer session, the UNIC team rewarded learners with UN t-shirts for the correct answers. Learners asked questions on humanitarian work of the United Nations, including, “How can one assess whether UN humanitarian aid is making a difference in war-torn countries?” and “What is the difference between the UN and non-governmental organizations.” 

The teachers and learners appreciated the educational materials, UN posters and other information materials. UNIC team invited the learners to visit the UNIC and UN websites as well as the UNIC Library for more information about the UN.

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Categories: Pretoria
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UN in Kenya gathers for the first DaO Town Hall meeting

11 November 2014

The United Nations Kenya Country Team held a Town Hall meeting, on 11 November, on Delivering as One (DaO). The meeting organized by the United Nations Communication Group (UNCG),  was chaired by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Nardos Bekele-Thomas. 

The Town Hall meting was designed to be an informational session, one of a number to come, so staff can comprehend what DaO means and eventually become its energetic advocates. DaO is the spirit of cooperation between various agencies of the United Nations, the government and the civil society in achieving common goals.

The Resident Coordinator reiterated that the UN in Kenya would also like to start working towards studying root causes of various problems so that we do not only come in during a crisis.

The Resident Coordinator outlined the four Strategic Area Groups of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in Kenya: Transformational Governance;  Human Capital Development; Inclusive and ustainable Growth; and Environmental Sustainability, Land Management and Human Security.

The UNICEF Acting Representative Pirkko Heinonen challenged all UN staff to read the UNDAF document so they understand the goals that the UN in Kenya is pursuing.

After the presentations, the staff members engaged the agency representatives in a question and answer session. 

The DaO’s slogan in Kenya is “Umoja ni Nguvu”, meaning unity is strength.

DaO is to ensure that the UN collaborates in delivering the national priorities agreed to with Government in the UNDAF.  The UN has been keen to ensure that its role was one of providing support together with other development partners, while leadership in realizing UNDAF lies with the Government.

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Categories: Nairobi
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UN Staff Pitch in for South African Model UN

08 November 2014
Model UN students

UN staff in Pretoria joined the South African Model UN (SAMUN) 2014 in Cape Town where 36 “born frees” from all nine provinces of the country as well as a team from Namibia came together to take on the roles of UN Member States in three debates over two days.

The generation of South Africans born after the country’s first democratic elections of 1994 are often referred to as the “born frees” as they did not live under apartheid. These students had been selected by UN adjudicators at debates around the country in August. 

During the competitions, students engaged in dynamic debates on the controversial issues of “Fracking for natural gas”, “State-sanctioned homophobia” and the “Ebola crisis”, which is currently plaguing several West African countries. Teams of four students (two from a resourced school are matched with two from an under-resourced school) argued their respective UN Member States policies on these issues.

UNDP Resident Coordinator a.i. Opia Kumah joined UNIC Director Helene Hoedl as “adjudicators”, assessing the performances of the teams. Head of the UNEP Office Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, who had presented on fracking, and UN Women Representative Auxilia Ponga, were impressed by the learners.  “It is remarkable how these learners grappled with the complex issue of fracking and how eloquently and convincingly they presented their countries’ positions”, said Ms. Njenga.  UNIC National Information Officer Sudeshan Reddy conducted individual interviews with the students who were in the running for an international Model UN conference in New York in February 2015.

It was encouraging to see the alumni of this 16 year-old programme, organized by the NGO Education Africa with the UN Information Centre Pretoria, taking on the role of tutors to the high school teams. Local media, including radio reporters and television crews, followed the debates and interviewed the UN representatives. 

Participants had the rare opportunity to spend the night on South Africa’s iconic Robben Island, where the late president Nelson Mandela was confined for 18 of his 27 years in prison. Students found themselves being treated like the political prisoners during apartheid, even eating the dreadful prison food. 

Ms. Hoedl and South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Education, Enver Surty, addressed the closing awards ceremony on Robben Island, where a team of 12 students was selected to participate in the MUN conference at Cornell University in New York. “We are very pleased that these students are learning so much about the UN”, said the Deputy Minister. “The UN has played an important role in eliminating apartheid and supporting us in the transition to a multi-racial democracy."

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Categories: Pretoria
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UNIC Bujumbura organized the "UN4U" educational outreach campaign on the UN Day 2014

27 October 2014
Student asking a question

To commemorate the United Nations Day, UNIC Bujumbura organized UN4U briefing sessions for students from the Lycée of Rohero and Lycée Nyakabiga secondary schools, respectively on 24 and 27 October 2014 in the UNIC compound, and made good use of UN Day visual materials, based on the "Happy Birthday UN" concept. 

For each educational outreach session, the UNIC NIO made welcome remarks to the students, asked some UN knowledge questions and gave awards for good answers, made of UN books. The UNIC made full use of the UN4U information materials: reading of the Secretary General Message on the above Day and screening of its video version, as well as screening of the DPI Outreach Division’s animation on the United Nations.  The PowerPoint presentation entitled "United Nations Overview was translated into French and screened for the students.

A PowerPoint on the UN System in Burundi which includes information on the history of the UN Agencies in Burundi, their opening dates in Burundi and their respective mandates and main activities in the country, was also screened. 

Students showed very much interest in the UN Organization’s origin, mandates and key priority issues that are being addressed now. They asked many questions and made a couple of comments on the UN successes and mitigated results achieved. 

UNIC also printed the photo and graphic design DPI materials in big sizes and exhibited them in UNIC internal places including the conference room, Library, Offices, compound, etc…

Around three hundred students participated in the activity. They were accompanied by their Historic and civic and leadership courses’ teachers. 

Categories: Bujumbura
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