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My journey as a Junior Professional Consultant with UNDP Cambodia

By Nithini Perera

Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.

Image 01: JPC Nithini Perera

My name is Nithini Perera and I am a JPC (Junior Professional Consultant) working in-person with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I had dreamed of a career with the United Nations like many others do, and was so excited to find out about the United Nations Association in Canada’s International Development and Diplomacy Internship (IDDIPs) Program and knew almost immediately that this was the perfect opportunity to achieve one of my long-awaited dreams.

I am currently in my third year of pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Co-op (concentrating in Information Systems with a minor in Economics) at Brock University, Canada. I am very passionate about Data Analytics and Research and was overwhelmed to receive the opportunity to work as a Monitoring and Evaluation Intern at UNDP Cambodia.

 Image 02: Nithini at Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia

Cambodia is a very beautiful country, enriched with rich architectural heritage and exquisite meals. Being able to travel to a whole new country and experience a brand-new culture was on my bucket list. I received a warm welcome from my supervisor and the wonderful team and was looking forward to the duties ahead of me.  

During the first few weeks of my internship, I was able to gain an insight into the work accomplished by United Nations in general as well as how Cambodia works to achieve their country goals and the goals of the Strategic Plan set by the UN HQ.

My work as a JPC with UNDP Cambodia’s RBM Unit is varied and intriguing. I researched possible concepts and developed the M&E database template for the new country program document 2024-2028 using Microsoft Excel and conducted quality checks. I also consolidated the findings, recommendations and lessons learned for the Lessons Learned Report and the Methodology Note for the UNDP Cambodia led-Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM) project on deforestation in the Northern Region in Cambodia. In addition to that, I developed the Annual Result Reporting template for the year 2023 for UNDP country office using data from prior projects completed at UNDP Cambodia and Quantum Plus platform. I am currently tracking evidence on the impact of UNDP Cambodia’s intervention on women, youth, People with disabilities, Indigenous people.

Image 03: JPC Nithini Perera

As I am about to conclude my internship this month, I would like to reflect my thoughts on how wonderful this internship is and share how valuable this experience has been to me. I am extremely grateful on receiving this golden opportunity to work for the United Nations in my first university co-op placement which will forever be an unforgettable experience. I was able to meet passionate and extremely skilled experts and learn more about the projects being completed here in Cambodia, particularly the Mine Action project among many others. It was delightful to gain an immense amount of knowledge and experience, and I developed a new interest to pursue a career in Research and Analytics in the future. It is a honour and a privilege working with all the amazing colleagues at UNDP Cambodia. I would highly recommend this pathway to anyone interested in taking their first steps to begin a career with the United Nations and pursue a relevant profession there in the future.


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