Photo Credits: UNDP Pacific-Team Blogs, and Personal Photo of Social Media Takeover @unac_iddip
By: Mackenzie White, MAGG
This is Mackenzie White, Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) with the Gender Department at the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji. I am writing to you remotely from my home in London, Ontario, Canada, for my second blog post. This position continues to be an incredible experience where I am learning how to work within the day-to-day operations of project management in the South Pacific.
February and March were busy months. A significant project that I am contributing to is analyzing the current practices in the office for gender engagement, awareness, and sustainability. This was a challenge considering my remote position; given the lack of first-hand access to the office culture and environment. To resolve this barrier, I reached out to multiple colleagues at UNDP Pacific Office to better understand the circumstances on the ground, so as to gather insights about gender perspectives in Fijian corporate culture. After much work and collaboration alongside BSIA colleague Chelsea Sidloski, I was able to complete a thorough evaluation with recommendations for strengthening the ongoing efforts within our own operations to advance gender equality. Some of our recommendations included inclusive sport programming, engaging male allies in the conversation for gender equality, establishing a gender focal committee, and encouraging the use of gender sensitive language in all office communications among staff. I look forward to monitoring the sustainability of these changes in our office and adjusting them where necessary.
Another exciting project that I took on in March was kicking off the JPC profiles as a “Social Media Takeover” on the United Nations Association of Canada (UNAC) official Instagram account on March 8th International Women’s Day. To prepare, I researched extensively about social media engagement and narratives, and created a series of story slides with Canva. I posted stories about my position, general information about Fiji and the work of the Pacific Office. I also answered questions submitted to the Questionnaire Box. I really enjoyed highlighting the work that is being done, and I hope that my takeover provided some unique insight about our work to their enthusiastic audience.
Overall, I feel that I am settling well into this role. Even though I am working remotely, I have enjoyed the process of engaging in development projects globally. The research, engagement, advocacy and learning opportunities have been remarkable, and I am proud to have been able to contribute to such important initiatives. I continue to extend my appreciation to the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the United Nations Association of Canada for this experience.