Navigating Pathways to Progress: A Conversation with Sukanya Thongthumrong, Integrated Programme Analyst at UNDP Thailand

Faces of UNDP Thailand - Catalysts of Change: Advancing Gender Equality Through Empowerment

June 11, 2024

1. Tell us about yourself: What’s your educational background/professional experience?  

My name is Sukanya Thongthumrong. I am an Integrated Programme Analyst at UNDP Thailand. I graduated from Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Political Science, and hold two master's degrees, one from Thammasat University in International Affairs and Diplomacy and another from Mahidol University in General Management. My undergraduate studies provided me with solid fundamentals and training as an anthropologist and sociologist, which positively contributed to my analytic thinking and created an anthropology and sociology lens in my work. I have worked as a Programme Management Officer for over twenty years with the private sector, including Coca-cola, Siemens Hewlett-Packard, and various development organizations such as Plan International, GTZ, UNFPA, UN Women, and finally UNDP.

2. What made you apply to work with UNDP Thailand?

The area of work is striking and impressive, which is the main reason I applied to work with UNDP. 

3. What are your activities or main responsibilities? What is a day at the office like?

My primary responsibilities are project and programme oversight and quality assurance. During the day, I am busy because UNDP Thailand operates around 30 projects. However, it is very enjoyable to work with projects and colleagues.


Photo Courtesy: UNDP Thailand


4. What are some of the challenges you encountered while working at UNDP Thailand? How did you overcome it?   

Last year, my main challenge was the staff shortage. It’s better this year because we are a full team now. However, we have to support other projects that lack project managers or other team members. It is a big challenge as I have to manage several projects and also provide oversight and quality assurance for those projects simultaneously. 

5. Tell us about your favourite moment with UNDP Thailand. 

Among many fondest memories at UNDP Thailand, I would say the retreats and potluck events are my favourite moments here as they foster a sense of camaraderie among colleagues amidst their demanding schedules. 

6. How does this position benefit your career path/choices within the UN or beyond?  

This position allows me to learn more about policy and regulation.  I’ve learned how to adequately help projects incorporate all requirements and comply with UNDP rules and regulations.  Acquiring this information helps me manage all new and ongoing projects better. Many of them are common practices or rules within the UN system.  It is crucial and will benefit my career path either within UNDP or the UN system. 


Photo Courtesy: UNDP Thailand


7. What SDGs are you helping to implement through your position?   

As an Integrated Programme Analyst, my work aligns with several SDGs, including gender equality (SDG 5), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), climate action (SDG 13), life below water (SDG 14), life on land (SDG 15), and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17), exemplifying UNDP Thailand's commitment to holistic development.

8. As UNDP staff, how do you support gender equality through your role or the work you are currently working on?

I was a gender focal point at my previous workplace. I obtained comprehensive training on various aspects of gender equality, including mainstreaming gender into project management and evaluation and mainstreaming gender equality in project management during crises. Since then, I have acquired additional knowledge and applied it to the whole project management cycle. With UNDP, I apply the gender-equality lens to all the works I review and the assessment and evaluation exercises I take and manage. 

9. What piece of advice would you give to those who are considering applying to #JoinALifeChangingMission with UNDP?  

It's a bit difficult to say, but if you asked me for advice to share with prospective UNDP applicants, I would say that in programme management, having a Programme Management certificate, e.g., PRINCE 2, PMP, or MISP, is crucial as it illustrates your fundamental knowledge and understanding of program and project management.  Previous experience in finance and M&E will also benefit those interested in managing UNDP projects. Since the requirements of each project and the stage of the project cycle are different, let's talk individually.

10.Give us 3 words that describe UNDP Thailand: 

Professionalism, SDG Integrator and Dynamic working area and environment.




The Faces of UNDP Thailand is a series to echo the voice of UNDP staff who support UNDP and the community to advance the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).