My Journey with IOM-Ukraine as a Junior Professional Consultant
By: Eunice Offeibea Manteaw
Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.
Photo 1: JPC Eunice Offeibea Manteaw
It has been three months with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ukraine, and the experience has been incredible. I have been working with the Transition and Recovery unit, but more specifically with this unit's Peace, Security and Human rights division whose role is to support states in preventing and mitigating the impact of the crisis as well as finding solutions to crisis situations. New to the IOM system, I was required to take up some training to understand better what the United Nations and IOM stand for and how they operate. The training in Transition and Recovery programming has been especially helpful to my work in the Unit.
Over the past few weeks, I have actively participated in major projects by the Peace, Security and Human rights division. A notable project is the Reparations for victims of conflict-related sexual violence. I assisted in planning and coordinating a 3-day technical workshop on reparations organized in Kyiv, Ukraine. The workshop had experts sharing their knowledge on the need for reparations for victims of conflict-related sexual violence, and this was very interesting and educative. My task was to assist in some logistical and administrative tasks like drafting summary reports of the workshop and initiating payments and travel requests for some participants. This was a great add-on to my professional development, as this was my first time initiating payments through the IOM system. A major challenge for me was the time difference, but I successfully managed to do what was required.
Working with IOM-Ukraine has been an eye-opener for me. This is because, as we all know, Ukraine is currently undergoing a full-scale invasion which has put the country in a position requiring aid and assistance. Most of the projects I have been privileged to work on have had to do with finding ways to support the Government of Ukraine to assist its people in need. Being able to contribute to drafting project proposals, making edits, and working with experts, especially in the area of Transitional Justice, has been an incredible add-on to my professional development and is an area I look forward to learning more on.
Image 2: JPCs workspace
As an International Development student who has taken lessons in humanitarian assistance and seeks to practice what I learn practically, IOM-Ukraine has provided me with that opportunity. Though virtual, my involvement in the Ukraine reparations discussions has helped me understand certain aspects of providing humanitarian assistance during a crisis, including finding ways to provide reparations for victims. Although this has been a great experience so far, I must admit that there have been days in this journey when I have felt mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged. Working in a remote setting can come with its challenges, and hence I work from various locations from time to time to get a different scenery and connect with people and things around me. But in all, I love my job, and I'm glad I get to contribute to making a difference in these times of difficulty in Ukraine.