UNVolunteer Profile Series: Victor Igbokwe

Dear followers and friends. Some of you have been asking what kind of work our volunteers are doing, what background they are from or what motivates them to volunteer their skills full-time instead of opting for high paying jobs and careers. We figured that the best way of answering these questions is to have our volunteers themselves telling you a little bit about their life, their work and personal motivation. Long story short, we went out and got a hold of our friend and colleague Victor Igbokwe. 

Victor speaking at the International Day for DRR in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Photo: Yashas Chandra/UNDP IndiaVictor speaking at the International Day for DRR in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Photo: Yashas Chandra/UNDP India

Victor is a 37 old international UN Volunteer and holds an MA in Human Rights and Conflict Management from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy. Although having arrived in India only a couple of months ago, Victor has already started travelling the country educating people about Disaster Risk Reduction Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.

But let’s not go on blabbering and have him speak for himself instead:

Victor, where are you originally from?
I was born in Abia in eastern Nigeria, however, I grew up in Jos, in the central region of the country.

Where are you living right now?
New Delhi, India.  

What was the last book (novel) you read/movie you watched?
I recently met the writer Ashim Choudhury and read his novel called ‘The Sergeant’s son’. Ashim is currently working with FAO.

It was a very interesting book, it gave me a very good insight into India; about growing up here and all the different cultures, etc. 

If this was your last day in India ever, which food would you have?
Just about everything I’ve had so far! Biriyani, momos, rolls…impossible to choose just one!

What is your favorite spot in India and why?
I still have so much to explore but I really enjoy spending time in Lodi Gardens. I often go for walks there during my lunch break and it’s a very peaceful spot in the city.

What is the biggest difference between India and your home country?
In a strange way, India is very similar and very different to Nigeria all at the same time. But the biggest difference for me is probably how much more technologically advanced India is. The general infrastructure is far superior here. Although Africa is very hot, I’m getting used to the wide range of temperatures in India.

Victor at a workshop to educate school children on DRR. Photo: Yashas Chandra/UNDP IndiaVictor at a workshop to educate school children on DRR. Photo: Yashas Chandra/UNDP India

Please tell us about your volunteer assignment. What do you do?
I work on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, with the United Nations Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) to support enhancing capacity of United Nations Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience through the implementation of various activities around disaster management. I also provide support to partner organizations in terms of reporting, capacity building, organizing conferences/events, advocacy and promotion of volunteerism among other things.

What is your motivation to volunteer?
There were two things always wanted to do in life. One was to be a philanthropist and the other was to volunteer. I don’t yet have the resources for philanthropy, but I have had the opportunity to give back to society through volunteer programmes.

What has been your happiest moment working as a volunteer?
Not long ago I was approached by a group of youths here in India and they wanted to know how I started as a volunteer, and what it entails. So I was able to share my experience of starting out and how fulfilling it can be. They then went on to write an article about volunteering and are now looking out for ways in which they too can be volunteers. So sharing my thoughts with youngsters makes me very happy.

Have you or are you volunteering outside the UN?
I have previously volunteered with organisations such as Youth, Adolescent, Reflection and Action Centre (YARAC) and the British Council Active Citizen Programme, both situated in Jos, Nigeria, but at the moment I am a UNV.

Fantastic! I want to know a little bit about yourself and what you do outside of work. Please tell me about your most unusual hobby? What is it about?
I wouldn’t say any of my hobbies are unusual as such. I enjoy sports a lot, so I play football, go to the gym, swim when I can and like going for walks.

What is a hidden talent you possess and that most people wouldn’t know about?
A lot of people may be surprised to know that I love to dance!

If you are to recommend one Bollywood movie to someone not familiar with Indian cinema. Which movie would that be?
I recently saw and really enjoyed the Indian movie ‘Haider’. Shot in Jammu and Kashmir, it had stunning scenery as wells as a very strong story.

Some Nigerian films that I have enjoyed are ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’, ‘Champagne’, and ‘Doll House’. I think these films give a good glimpse into the culture of Nigeria and Africa.

Great! That’s it Victor! Thanks a lot for taking time out for your busy schedule and sharing your recommendations for everyone that plans on venturing into Nollywood*! Please keep on making change happen!

Victor having some fun at their workshop in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Photo: Yashas Chandra/UNDP IndiaVictor having some fun at their workshop in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Photo: Yashas Chandra/UNDP India

*Nollywood, which is the common term used to refer to the cinema of Nigeria is third most valuable film industry in the world only topped by the U.S and Indian film industry.

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