Jessica Yawi started at UNDP as an intern in 2020, straight from university. She is inspired by how design and culture have the power to shape entire cities and change the course of human history.
"Wherever we go in life, we search for the centre, a landmark or identity," says Jessica Yawi. "For my province East Sepik, the Haus Tambaran or the ‘Spirit House’ uniquely defines us because it is only found in our province and shows off the exquisite artistic abilities of the Sepik people. It can reach the height of 25 metres, displaying totems of clans.
"Art is a sacred practice for the Sepik people as shown on the design and decoration of the spirit house. It is believed that the spirit of our ancestors can be called into the house for consultation on important matters or traditional initiation of young boys into manhood. The front entrance of Papua New Guinea’s National Parliament features the traditional Spirit Haus of East Sepik".
Ms. Jessica Yawi is a Human Resources Administrative Assistant UNDP's Papua New Guinea Country Office. Her role is essential to the overall performance and delivery of the office, including facilitating recruitment selection, contract management and establishing monthly payroll.
Jessica started at UNDP as an intern in 2020 straight from university. She says that her passion for her role and her ability to multitask and demonstrate balance in her work, stem from her mother, her greatest role model.
“My mother was the after-hours nursing coordinator at the Port Moresby General Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in the country. She was passionate about her role, and her family, and was able to maintain a work-life balance. I admire this quality and try my best to apply this to my life”.
Ms Yawi comes from a mixed parentage of East Sepik and Milne Bay provinces in Papua New Guinea, but has lived most of her life in the city completing her education in Port Moresby. She studied at the University of Papua New Guinea under the School of Business Management, majoring in Strategic Management and successfully graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
Since joining the country office, Ms. Yawi has supported UNDP’s successful development efforts, implementing solutions for the country’s development challenges, toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while highlighting the importance of gender equality.
In her spare time Ms. Yawi enjoys caring for Buddy and Bully her pet dingo dogs, learning photography and videography, and watching documentaries on architecture. “It fascinates me on how a design of building and artifacts has the power to shape entire cities and change the course of human history”.
She is also inspired by the cultural elements of her other home province of Milne Bay. For example, the “Bagi” - a principle traditional trading item in the Milne Bay Kula Ring Trade, known to exist for hundreds of years. Bagi are red shells strung together and worn as a necklace. The Bagi shells move through a series of island paths and assessed for their value based on size, color and how they are polished. Regarded as the mark of a Milne Bay person, nowadays it is not uncommon for people from other provinces to be seen wearing the Bagi.
Her most inspiring words are by Mother Theresa: “It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into doing what you do that counts”.