Voice: Pierre Jullien
"While the JPO programme was a learning experience for me, I was also able to share my own knowledge and skills with those I supervised later on." -
Director and Representative, Côte d'Ivoire Operations Centre
"It took just two years to forge a path that would eventually guide me to UNOPS. From October 1991 to March 1994 I was privileged to work as a JPO with the United Nations Development Programme in Algeria. That was the first time in my professional life that I learned about the fundamental issues related to aid coordination and planning – a critical stepping stone for my later career in the UN. While in Algeria I coordinated the agricultural and economic reform components of the UNDP country programme and took responsibility for preparing key development reports.
My best experience as a JPO came when I was re-assigned to the then-UNDP-OPS division that supported the International Fund for Agricultural Development in New York. Supporting project supervision and loan administration for rural development projects was the main purpose of this assignment. I was given the chance there to deal with all issues in the project cycle, from project formulation, budgets, work plans and procurement activities, to supporting the supervision of project teams in remote areas of Africa and Latin America.
While the JPO programme was a learning experience for me, I was also able to share my own knowledge and skills with those I supervised later on. For future JPOs, the best advice I can give is to be curious, open to learning, and willing to propose ideas and take initiative. It is by doing these things that you can contribute most fully to the work of your team. As was the case during my assignment, do not hesitate to move to a new office and country, if you are given the opportunity. I believe that this is the best way to improve your competencies and demonstrate a capacity for adaptability to different environments and cultures.
Following my JPO assignment, I stayed with UNDP-OPS, which became UNOPS in 1995, and managed environmental programmes and projects covering the Latin America and Africa regions. UNOPS later transferred me to Africa, to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and then Dakar, Senegal, to manage project portfolios in regional offices. In October 2006, I was appointed Director of the UNOPS office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; six years later I returned to Côte d'Ivoire to take up my current role as Director of the UNOPS office here, which covers Francophone West Africa.
UNOPS is an organization that gives employees a chance to truly learn and grow due to the nature of our work, our ‘flat’ management culture and a never-ending quest for operational excellence. Managers at UNOPS are valued for successfully taking on extra responsibilities, calculated risks and delivering results on the ground, which is rewarding for young professionals with limited management experience."