Protecting the world’s ‘most vulnerable persons’
Former Rotary Peace Fellow Francis Kabosha works with the United Nations Mission in Sudan. Photo courtesy of Francis Kabosha
Francis Kabosha says that growing up in the southern African nation of Zambia has given him a heart for helping refugees.
“Zambia is poor, just like many other third world countries, but quite peaceful, with a long history of looking after those displaced by violent conflict,” he says.
A 2008-10 Rotary Peace Fellow, Kabosha recently began serving as an officer in the returns, reintegration, and recovery section of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, working in support of refugees and the internally displaced. Previously, he was a refugee officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Zambia.
“I have been a resource person on refugee protection and have conducted several workshops for government officials, NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], and UNHCR field staff,” Kabosha says. “I have done human rights and disaster management training, among other areas of humanitarian work.”
Kabosha is the first peace fellow to complete both the professional development certificate program and the master’s degree program offered by the Rotary Peace Centers. After earning his certificate at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2007, he worked for UNHCR with government and nongovernment representatives to repatriate refugees living in the Mwange camp along the Zambian border to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was responsible for administration of refugee affairs in the camp and enforcing national, regional, and international conventions, statutes, and protocols for protecting refugees. He also trained refugee leaders in building and maintaining peace in their communities.
Kabosha says his experiences with UNHCR and the certificate program “triggered the desire for advanced training in conflict resolution and management,” leading him to study as a Paul and Jean Elder Endowed Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford in England, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Nkwazi, Zambia. During his applied field experience, he worked in joint peace-building efforts with the West African Youth Network in Sierra Leone and its partners, including the Ministry of Defense, Office of National Security, Special Court for Sierra Leone, and National Commission for Social Action.
His “desire to serve the needy has grown from one level to another,” Kabosha says, instilling in him a commitment “to protect the world’s most vulnerable persons: refugees, who as a result of violent conflicts, find themselves as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.”
Written for Reconnections.