UNOPS

Voices: Maria Chus

"I am working for an organization focused on project delivery, which means that I am able to see concrete results, something that I value greatly." - Maria Chus, Procurement Analyst, Advisory Services

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​"I remember the day I discovered the vacancy for my JPO position – it was a day before the deadline. I applied through the night, but it was certainly worthwhile.

"Before joining UNOPS and the JPO programme, I worked in the private and public sectors as a consultant for public procurement and project management advisory services in France, Morocco and Switzerland. I always had a strong passion for human development, and growing up in West Africa spurred this passion. I really wanted to make a valued contribution to development with my background in management and law.

"I have been hired to work on the development of UNOPS advisory and capacity development services in developing countries. The icing on the cake is that I am working for an organization focused on project delivery, which means that I am able to see concrete results, something that I value greatly.

"Each day I interact with different UNOPS country and regional offices to support them in developing our advisory services, which are aimed at strengthening the national capacity of developing countries in procurement, infrastructure and project management. I find it enriching to take on such a wide variety of tasks and challenges, while interacting with a diverse group of colleagues and partners. I also help develop sustainable procurement practices for UNOPS and our partners, supporting the effectiveness of aid and development projects in the long term.

"A recent mission to Kenya gave me an excellent chance to gain hands-on experience in public procurement. Kenya is currently going through a significant institutional reform process. I was part of a team of consultants in charge of assessing aspects of the country’s public procurement framework and developing recommendations for the Government. It was an incredibly memorable and rewarding experience to support Kenya at such an important time.

"I am based in UNOPS headquarters in Copenhagen, which is an amazing place to be. It makes sense that UNOPS – an organization which promotes sustainability in everything it does – has its headquarters in one of the world’s greenest cities.

"Upon joining UNOPS, I was slightly worried about bureaucratic United Nations procedures, especially since I was coming from the private sector. To my great surprise I discovered that UNOPS combines public-mindedness with private sector efficiency. The hierarchy is flat, teams sit in an open plan office and the management staff is generally very accessible. I think this comes down to two things: Scandinavian culture and the nature of UNOPS.

"In my daily work, my team always positively challenges me to think outside the box and search for innovative solutions. This is a very enriching aspect of my daily work and my general development.

"My advice to future JPOs is to be open-minded, flexible and prepared to adapt to a changing environment. UNOPS culture is a bit different from most United Nations agencies – it is more similar to the start-up spirit. As a JPO you have to be a self-starter with the initiative and drive to create new opportunities in your work and for the organization as a whole. Working with UNOPS, there are great career development prospects too, especially if you are willing to work in different locations."