Voices: Sebastiano Bagnasco
"Working at UNOPS has given me the chance to be more involved in tangible infrastructure work. It is refreshing to be able to see the physical results of my work and how it changes lives." -
Outreach and Partnerships Advisor
"I began my career as a JPO in October 2004 with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Tanzania. I supported projects on small and medium enterprises, sustainable development, poverty alleviation, food processing and renewable energy. This involved collecting and analyzing information on the industrial sector, organizing technical meetings, workshops and seminars, preparing terms of reference and job descriptions and selecting and supervising national experts. In addition, I was the focal point for a joint programme on human security in northern Tanzania as well as UNIDO’s security focal point for the entire country.
"I worked on many exciting projects in northern Tanzania, such as a project that installed a micro hydropower plant providing renewable energy to a remote village in the Usambara Mountains. As a Field Coordinator I was involved in several trips to the field with international experts. I supervised local engineers, contributed to the design of a plant management scheme and managed cooperation between partners.
"The trips to the mountains were my first taste of real field experience. I sometimes found myself up to my thighs in water, collecting samples or pushing cars out of potholes in the rainy season. This was also the first time I interacted with local communities in Tanzania. Despite my limited Swahili, I was required to observe and manage the dynamics between village leaders, women’s groups, youth and representatives from very different neighbourhoods in the village. It was certainly a challenge, but very fulfilling and a great learning experience. It was incredibly rewarding to be part of the opening ceremony for the micro hydropower plant.
"I spent all three of my JPO years at UNIDO, the first two in Tanzania and the third in northern and southern Sudan. I joined UNOPS in Sudan as a programme officer in 2008. I supported the management, monitoring and development of the Sudan office’s entire portfolio and managed cooperation between UN and NGO partners in the infrastructure sector. Although I was based in Khartoum, I frequently travelled to what is now South Sudan, South Kordofan, Abyei, Blue Nile, eastern Sudan and Darfur.
"In April 2010, I was promoted to Senior Programme Officer for northern Sudan, representing UNOPS when coordinating activities with others in the humanitarian sector, and managing business development. During the last five months of my assignment, I spent most of my time in Juba to support UNOPS operations during South Sudan’s referendum for independence.
"My JPO assignment gave me the opportunity to gradually learn about how the UN functions and where my profile could best fit. Having the opportunity to work in two very different countries helped me learn about development issues and humanitarian activities in post-conflict environments. Working in northern and southern Sudan exposed me to large UN operations, making it easier for me to continue working in the UN.
"After focusing mostly on policy at UNIDO, working at UNOPS has given me the chance to be more involved in tangible infrastructure work. It is refreshing to be able to see the physical results of my work and how it changes lives.
"I am currently an outreach and partnerships adviser for UNOPS in New York, supporting liaison with our Executive Board and U.S. based partners. My colleagues are instrumental to the enjoyment I get out of working here. I am grateful to be part of a fun, respectful, results-oriented and inclusive team. I am also impressed by the organization’s approach to hierarchy. UNOPS senior managers are very approachable and willing to engage with personnel at all levels. On the whole, going to work every morning is a pleasure."