Mohammed Ibrahim Abuanja Elmot is originally from Kadugli. In 1985, he left Southern Kordofan and moved to Khartoum with his family. He graduated from the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Gezira University and returned to Kadugli to teach at the local high school in 2005.
After teaching, Abuanja volunteered for community based organisations while working as a full time employee for various international nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Action Contre La Faim.
By mid 2009, when he joined the UNV programme, UNMIS, as a DDR Officer, Abuanja was already an experienced professional in logistics and operations. He was initially deployed to Kadugli to support the already established Disarmament Dembolisation and Reintegration (DDR) process, to assist with the verification of ex-combatants, provide logistical support and monitor the DD activities at the demobilisation site. Among other responsibilities he also facilitates the liaison and coordination of the activities with the Joint DDR Commission, operations planning and building the capacity of the governmental counterparts. In August, with the launching of the programme in Kauda, Southern Kordofan. he was reassigned to support the integrated DDR team there.
"The work is challenging for me, as I believe there is no school that teaches DDR work, it is something so specific to a given context that one can only learn on the ground, hands on. Moreover, there needs to be a good coordination between the partners involved: both the national commissions and the UN."
One of Abuanja's motivations to volunteer with UNV in his own country is having shared the experience of war with the people he is now trying to help recover:
"This assignment has given me the opportunity to participate in a programme which has both a human dimension and a political one, and which is essential for building peace in my country" he says.
"I see smiles on the faces of the ex-combatants when they finish the demobilisation programme. Having received their support packages gives them hope to be reintegrated in the civilian life in times of peace."