“There is no reason you can’t do it”
Hiba Abu Al-Rob, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, UNICEF Jordan
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m Jordanian, born in the United Arab Emirates but raised in Jordan. I studied Civil Engineering and then specialized in Water and Environmental Engineering.
I started my professional career working for a project on sustainable water management at the household level funded by the European Union. Then I moved to the private sector and worked for a large company that dealt with transporting drinking water to Amman, Jordan, from a fossil aquifer by the Saudi border, but when the Syrian conflict started and I found an interesting opportunity with UNICEF, an international organization that met my job aspirations of helping others. First I was a public health engineering team leader, and later a programme manager. I joined UNICEF as a WASH Officer and promoted to a WASH Specialist in 2018.
When did you join UNICEF, and why?
I joined UNICEF on December 2014. I am very lucky, because what I am doing now is my childhood dream job. I had all my aspirations and career development engineered towards this target, working to serve children and the most vulnerable communities. This is an empowering experience, it’s the gratitude I feel when a need is met what keeps me going.
*More than 2 million registered Palestine refugees, and more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, are currently living in Jordan.
What’s the purpose of your current position?
Ensuring safe access to water and sanitation to those most in need in the host communities of Jordan*. This covers a wide range of on-site implementation, partnerships, developing new and revising existing policies and creating innovative processes and opportunities.
What’s your working day like?
I attend and organize meetings, push agendas, prioritize and follow up with a range of stakeholders. When designing new projects that address critical needs of vulnerable communities, keeping the balance between having a holistic and integrated approach and an eye for detail, as well as being a good listener, goes a long way.
Do you think the fact of being a woman has had in impact in your career?
Yes, being a woman made me stronger, it made me excel to prove that we, as female professionals, can succeed in our careers. In male-dominated sectors such as WASH, having female perspectives brings an important added value to the work we do.
Could you give a word of advice for future candidates?
I have been working in the sector for around 14 years. There is no reason you can’t do it: just put the best interest of children ahead and work towards it!