UNOPS

20/04/2015

Voices: Working together to overcome challenges

“In my work with various NGOs and government agencies in the region, I have noticed an upward trend in the representation of women in positions of power.” - Terry Githua, Senior Project Support Officer, Nairobi.

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Before I joined UNOPS, I worked in financial services within the private sector in Nairobi, but I had always wanted to work in development. I thought it would be interesting to make the switch and see first-hand how a development organization operates to help people: Is it possible to positively impact political processes? Can social services, like access to health care, be improved for people in need? Now, I work with a team that strives to make these very changes and a real difference on the ground.

In my current position as a Senior Project Support Officer at the UNOPS Office in Nairobi, I work on projects that focus on good governance in Somalia and provide key services to local communities. The role certainly has its challenges. For instance, we are unable to access some target regions, due to security concerns, which makes it that much harder for my team and our partners to do our jobs. Still, we do our best under the circumstances and make it work.  

I believe that the work we are doing in Somalia contributes to the larger UNOPS vision. It is motivating to help build capacity in a post-conflict country that is still developing. I offer support on multiple complex projects and feel a great sense of accomplishment every time we successfully complete a task. My very favourite part of the job is when a beneficiary appreciates and recognizes UNOPS work. That's when I really feel like we have made a positive difference to people's lives and that our hard work is appreciated.

I recently participated in a six-week pilot project management exchange programme at UNOPS headquarters in Copenhagen. It was an interesting opportunity to learn more about how project management specialists develop policies, processes and tools for use in the field. I gained valuable perspectives on how everything ties together between headquarters and the country offices.

During my time in Copenhagen, I especially valued the opportunity to speak with various country offices about their experiences. Learning that colleagues in Cambodia have encountered similar issues to us in Nairobi fosters a sense of comradeship. It shows me that we are all working together as one at UNOPS.   

Coming to Copenhagen for the exchange programme also offered the advantage of being able to explore Danish culture outside of the organization. I suddenly found myself challenged in new ways, such as dealing with everyday issues like taking public transit in an unfamiliar country. Overall, the programme was a great opportunity to share knowledge and learn from others in a different environment.

I would tell anyone who would like to work for UNOPS that we welcome capable people who want to help build their own or other communities. You feel a great personal sense of fulfilment working for UNOPS in the field because you get to see the impact of the work we do. For example, when you see people using a hospital that you supported by buying medicines, equipment and furniture, you feel like a cog in a wheel that contributed to something important.