Chief, Local Governance for Child Rights
Education: BA, University of Ottawa (Canada); MS in Economics, (UK); Certificate Leading Management Teams, Cornell University
Field of Study: Social Sciences, Political Science, International Relations, Political Economy
Languages: English, French
“My experience at UNICEF has been riveting! I am really grateful to have had the chance to brush shoulders with caring and creative colleagues and work with truly inspiring individuals either in government or civil society organisations. Every day I get the opportunity to draw from my experience and that of others to take actions… because every child counts."
I joined UNICEF Albania in 1999 as a Junior Professional Officer at the time of the Kosovo Crisis. Based in Tirana my portfolio included youth participation, HIV prevention and gender-based violence. I felt it was a unique chance to see if what I had read and studied in my education matched with the reality on the ground. It did, and I have discovered a lot more ever since. In 2003 I moved to the Organizational Learning and Development Section (OLDS) in NYHQ to develop HIV training materials for UNICEF staff, and the following year I left for the Pacific region based in Suva, Fiji islands to look after the Adolescent Development programme. After a short stint in UNICEF Vietnam working on PMTCT, I went to Sana’a, Yemen as Chief of Child Protection and HIV prevention. In 2009, I accepted an offer to work at the University Laval on an Early Childhood Development project. While in Quebec City, I volunteered for UNICEF assisting with their advocacy and fundraising efforts. I am now working in Cambodia as the Chief Local Governance for Child Rights.
I have had so many great experiences while at UNICEF. Working here is about meetings- the privilege of connecting with people we meet in diverse settings. I keep fond memories of my first field trip in the high Albanian mountains bordering with Kosovo in July 1999; meeting with the president of Nauru; interacting with high school students while visiting schools in the Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands; meeting with nurses on Abaiang island in Kiribati; sharing meals with my Yemeni colleagues; and interacting with Asiana aircrew members, avid UNICEF supporters who recently came to Cambodia to learn about our programme.
A typical day means interacting with people, brainstorming with colleagues and following up on implementation, keeping track of our resources, and writing/reviewing all sorts of documents. It is great job because there are always new things to learn. As we are confronted with issues related to social injustice, we have first-hand experience of the impact of geopolitics on women and children. In order to adequately respond to situations then, we also need to manage to keep all balls in the air (work, family, health, friends and spirit).
My advice to aspiring UNICEF applicants - Be yourself, share smiles and good hearty laughs. Connect with humanity. Look after yourself, know when to stop and recharge your batteries. It does not help anyone if you exhaust yourself! Manage your energy.