Voices: Helping IDPs and refugees in the Middle East

“One of the most important things about working for UNOPS for me is that we are helping people in need… I am very proud to tell others what I do every day.” - Mina Al Omar, Procurement and Logistics Officer, UNOPS in Jordan

​I have been working with UNOPS for six years now. I am originally from Baghdad, where I studied Business Administration at the University of Baghdad. After graduating, I enrolled in a distance learning course for my Master's degree in International Management from the University of Liverpool.  

In 2006, I moved to Jordan because of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and especially in Baghdad. When I arrived in Jordan, I began working for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization as a Programme Assistant.

I joined UNOPS in 2009 as a Programme Associate for the Private Sector Development Programme for Iraq. We implemented a project in partnership with United Nations Development Programme, which was designed to help the country in its political transition. It was very ambitious.

We encouraged and provided help to budding entrepreneurs all over Iraq in an effort to help them establish small businesses. We also provided assistance to government officials to help them with the transition too. This included a fact-finding mission to Croatia to show them how a government can successfully adapt to a purely private-sector management system. Essentially, it was a capacity development project, but it was also one of the success stories for the new Government of Iraq.

After working on the project for two years, I moved to the Arab Regional Cluster portfolio. The nine projects in this portfolio covered areas such as anti-corruption, which was quite challenging to say the least. However, it was incredible that we managed to organize meetings with officials from different Arab countries to openly discuss corruption, even within their own entities and government levels, to try and find a sustainable solution.

In 2014, I joined our procurement team as a Procurement and Logistics Officer. It's not an easy job, but it is great to be able to see the results of our work on the ground. For example, we assisted the Government of Jordan's General Directorate of Civil Defence to help them address the needs of the increasing number of Syrian refugees in the country. This included the procurement of ambulances, first aid training, medical equipment, building accommodation for government personnel, and the setting up of both Azraq and Za'atari refugee camps.

One of the most important things for me about working for UNOPS is helping people in need, especially internally displaced persons in Iraq and Syrian refugees in Jordan. These people have been forced to flee their homes; they did not choose to leave. We do our best to make their lives better by providing them with essential services, in cooperation with our UN partners ‒ the sort of things you or I can access very easily such as water, shelter and food. It is important that we help these people. I am very proud to tell others what I do every day.

Apart from my daily duties at UNOPS, I am also one of the organization's gender focal points ‒ I was actually one of the first. As a focal point, my job is to ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed throughout all of our activities, to both promote the issue and offer support to my colleagues.

I am very proud to be a focal point and I am very pleased that UNOPS has made it a critical area of its 2014-2017 strategic plan. We have already achieved quite a lot in such a short period of time and we are now in a position to share our experiences with other UN organizations.