Why do you like working for UNDP?
It has to do with contributing to a better and more just world…… helping the least fortunate…. I suppose our bottom line is not about the difference between earnings and costs. Our bottom line, It is about giving those that traditionally have had less opportunity to see their children prosper, that opportunity. Also there is fact that every number of years I have the chance to live a new and different reality, with different cultures in a different setting and with different job challenges.
What’s the most memorable occasion when you saw the positive impact your work had on the people in the country where you’re based?
There are many from my previous posts. In the case of Chile the direct correlation between our work and the impact on the “people” is less obvious. This is a high middle income country where UNDP provides added value in terms of introducing and promoting “ideas” to the national debate on how to make it a better and more just country. One “idea” that UNDP introduced last year in Chile was the concept of “happiness” as the main purpose of development. In doing so, UNDP managed to “influence” how decision and policy makers view development. We received massive media coverage, all positive, and it gave UNDP a relevance to the national debate and to a certain extent, a seat at the table of policy making in Chile. Another example is helping Chile be a better “global neighbour” by assuming its responsibility as a high middle income country in terms of humanitarian assistance. Through a south-south project that UNDP manages with Chilean funds we have helped children in northern Mali, Syrian refugees in Egypt and Lebanon, and displaced populations of Central African Republic.
What are some of the challenges of working in a large international civil service organization like UNDP and how do you manage them?
The main challenge is at the same time one of the main attractions, namely, moving from country to country every few years, adapting to new cultures, new geographies, new work challenges but mostly a new reality for my family with new schools and friends for my children. Not creating roots in a single place is most definitely a challenge. Being far away from one’s parents is also a challenge.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
Spend as much time with the family as possible. Help my boys with their homework is something that, curiously enough, I do enjoy.