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About UNICEF: Employment

Kariane Peek, Emergency Specialist (Humanitarian Cash Transfers)

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Kariane Peek Cabrera, Emergency Specialist (Humanitarian Cash Transfers)

Location: Office of Emergency Programmes, New York

A day in the life of an Emergency Specialist

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In headquarters

Early hours

I like to check in with my supervisor first thing, have a quick catch up and see if we have any hard deadlines for the day. This is an important step because our team has a very heavy workload and we often have competing priorities.

Morning

I am a Humanitarian Cash Transfer Specialist and most of my work at headquarters revolves around supporting UNICEF Country Offices to implement humanitarian cash programmes. In Yemen, where the war has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, cash transfers have allowed families to send their children back to school, and even to start small businesses in their communities.

Since I work across regions, I usually prioritize my mornings to have dedicated calls with countries whose time is ahead of mine, in Europe, Africa and Asia. It is not rare for me to have back-to-back calls for three or four hours. I like this part of my day because I get to feel closer to our offices in the countries where we work for children. It is interesting to hear the various challenges that arise in so many different contexts, and this helps us tailor the support we can provide.

Afternoon

As a Humanitarian Cash Transfer Specialist, I have a few portfolios I follow directly. There is a lot of writing involved in my work in New York; for instance, I recently helped draft UNICEF’s first programmatic guidance on humanitarian cash transfers. When I work on developing guidance, I involve colleagues across different sections in New York. We meet and discuss among different teams because what we create needs to be relevant across sectors, and I need to ensure I have captured all the necessary inputs from key colleagues. I really enjoy doing this because it helps me understand how the different teams at UNICEF work together.

Wrapping up

I always touch base with my boss before heading home. We have a quick chat about the day and discuss things we may anticipate. Preparing a to-do list for the next day helps me manage my workload, however I am always ready for priorities to shift because we never know when a country office may need a targeted urgent support.

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On mission to the field

Early hours

My day starts around 6am. I always prioritize speaking to my daughter first thing in the morning. After my Skype conversation, I rush to get ready to work!

Morning

When I travel to the field it is often to help Country Offices identify possibilities to start humanitarian cash transfer programmes. I meet with UNICEF colleagues, as well as with focal points in other UN agencies to see if there are any possibilities to work together. In addition, I also try to identify potential private sector partners who could help us put in place cash programmes. Some can be mobile phone companies interested in mobile payment, for example. My mornings are usually busy organizing and holding all these meetings.

Afternoon

Once opportunities have been identified and agreed by the UNICEF Country Office, the planning process begins. I work on building partnership agreements with organizations that will act as implementing partners, and start planning trips to the various project implementation sites.

Wrapping up

At the end of each mission day I normally make a list of priority actions that need to be achieved the next day. However, I remain flexible for any changes that may arise, given the dynamic context in the countries where we work. No matter what the time is, I always find a moment to speak to my daughter before she goes to bed.

 

 

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