Nationality

Cape Verde

Education

Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, Centre d’Etudes de Sciences et Techniques de l’Information, University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal

Languages

English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Creole (Cape Verde), Wolof (Senegal)

Information is a key factor in peace building. I bring 15 years of experience as a journalist to foster dialogue, peace and reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau through the United Nations.

For Decades Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by civil war, numerous violent coup d’Etats and periods of instability. It gained independence from Portugal in 1974 and was once hailed as a potential model for African Development. Today, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

My team and I aim to set the country back on track, create a body of media to reconcile differences and promote a sense of trust and understanding. We train local journalists and help create radio programmes to educate nationals. Content includes information about new government agreements, peace-mandates, and United Nations programmes.

My work has many facets. I monitor the news and report stories related to United Nations organized activities. I often speak on national news programmes, train journalists and assist local non-governmental organizations and civil society members with communication plans.

The United Nations set up a fund to support local media for the November 2008 government elections in Guinea-Bissau. This fund allowed media to cover the election in the proper way. We trained journalists, but equally important, we provided them with vital equipment like recorders, microphones and computers. One of the most significant aspects of this project was when every journalist we worked with agreed to sign codes of conduct on how to cover the elections in a fair and objective manner. We created a manual for journalists about basic skills, ethics and the history of the press in Guinea-Bissau. Even though we only trained 15 journalists, seven newspapers, 15 community radio and four professional radio stations as well as one national television station benefited from the project and successfully covered the elections. From a professional standpoint, I am very proud of this project.

The Secretary General highlighted the 2008 elections as a playing a crucial role in bringing a firm foundation of peace to Guinea-Bissau. My team and I work on a daily basis to get local citizens involved in the dialogue aspect of reconciliation. Through media we can really reach a lot of people, start conversations and educate them about tough issues ranging from women’s rights to the military changes and local power struggles.

One local radio station broadcasts a weekly programme about security sector reform and the issue of small arms and light weapons in Guinea-Bissau. This is information is new to many citizens. The consistent flow of information sets a lot of citizens at ease and makes them feel invested in the process of peace building.

One of the most unique parts of my job is working with such a large family of coworkers from all over the world. Our diverse backgrounds contribute to the overall effectiveness of our work. We need to communicate well and be sensitive to cultural differences at the same time. Another fascinating part of working at the United Nations is the ability to tap into so many different areas of expertise and really cross boundaries to team up with colleagues from different departments. Teamwork in the office and in the field plays a large part in successful information sharing, educating and building peace on the ground.

We make an incredible impact, and I feel that on a daily basis. Sometimes, people in the street—vendors from the countryside who sell vegetables at the local market, or citizens walking home from work—call out to me and tell me I am doing a good job. That makes me proud. It shows me we have been effective in our peace-keeping mission, and serves as proof of the local interest in creating dialogue and peace. It makes me believe my team does not simply consist of United Nations colleagues and departments, but also locals in the community we are here to serve.

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