HOW DID YOU GET TO THE UN?
When I was an undergraduate student in DRC, I was puzzled by the difference in economic situations in DRC and developed countries like Canada. DRC and Canada had the same GDP in the 1960s but Canada went far ahead in the following decades. I kept thinking why. As a result of intensive discussions with my university teachers, I developed strong desires to improve governance and development policies in Africa. I began to see UN as an avenue to make such contributions to Africa’s development policies.
WHAT DOES YOUR POSITION ENTAIL?
After all my studies and assignments abroad, I decided to come back to Rwanda. I wanted to contribute to my own country’s development efforts. That’s how I started with IOM Rwanda in 2009, coordinating a diaspora capacity enhancement project. Since then, I have managed the Japanese-funded Reintegration of Rwandan Refugees and Other Vulnerable Groups project. Working closely with the Rwandan Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, we provide vulnerable returnees and community members with skills training, housing assistance and livestock assistance to sustain their livelihoods.
WHAT DOES YOUR AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE?
Very busy. No weekend. I usually come to office at 8am leave around 7pm. I have meetings with staff for activity updates, make follow-up calls to the field and suppliers, and review financial reports to ensure the project is implemented within time and budget.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING FOR THE UN?
It is great to assess people’s needs, find a service gap and plan our activities to fill such a gap. We work closely with the government, but we are an independent agency; therefore we have both complementarity and autonomy in decision making. This is the favourite part of my work.
WHAT IS THE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN WORKING AT THE UN?
I think the most important thing to have for those who want to work for the UN is first keeping in-mind a human rights-based approach. Second, we as UN should be committed to actions contributing to government efforts and translating the commitments into actions to advance the global development agenda. We should think globally, and act locally.