Kanchan reflects on her time with UNICEF Switzerland!

Kanchan's favourite tree in Geneva :)
My one-year anniversary mark of working at UNICEF has just passed, and it has me nostalgic on what an awe-inspiring, six-month experience it was. I'm a firm believer that it is the people that make a place, and I can attest to the fact that this is how I felt in Geneva. From my first day, I was dumbstruck on how intelligent and well-rounded all of the staff were. It's crazy because you may think you either know nothing or everything before working for the UN, but when you work there all of the nothing or none of the everything you learn is all done in such an intriguing way. That experience taught me an entire dictionary of terms and a new way of how to speak. You learn to become more articulate and how to organize your thoughts and ideas before having sensitive discussions with other people. Even better, what I appreciated about UNICEF was their trust in giving everyone the freedom of creative thought and the acknowledgment of worthiness, no matter what your academic or work experience is or what background you come from. Being there at the launch of the new 2016 Sustainable Development Goals as well as during the height of the refugee crisis offered new insight on how I perceive the world, and inspired me to become evermore active in not only my local community but within the global community. My duties as a JPC opened up my eyes to so much. There would be times that I'd be sitting at my desk doing research, and I'd end up crying with outrage whilst reading case studies. But with that energy and passion, I submerged even further in taking advantage of the time I was there, to make any difference I could. I did this in a variety of ways. I worked in the Corporate Social Responsibility unit, focusing on the Garment and Apparel industry. I worked on a multitude of tasks, including:

1) Coordinated program development for the expansion and adoption of the Children's Rights and Business Principles (CRBPs) in various regions around the world
2) Researched specific sectors in a variety of countries to identify work environments
3) Conducted analysis of official reports and impact assessments of the garment and apparel industries in Bangladesh 
4) Analyzed projects and provided strategic recommendations on which private companies UNICEF can collaborate with on future projects and events
5) Collaborated with various organizations (private, IGO, NGO) to exchange information on logistics such as budget and expenditures, hiring of third parties, and drafting contracts/MOUs between collaborative entities
6) Organized alongside, as part of the tripartite of Save The Children Sweden, Global Compact, and UNICEF, the first ever Asia Regional Event for CRBPs
8) Created content for the new CSR intranet
9) Wrote a briefing on the apparel and footwear sector in Vietnam, which would be presented to the Vietnam country office as a first step to studying the sector for proactive development in the CRBPs

This internship has guided me towards my career goals of working in the sustainable development field at the international level. Rest assured, it won't be the last time I have a title working with a UN organization- this experience undoubtedly enlightened me with that. Being selected as a Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) by the United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC) has by far been my biggest accomplishment, and I hope to continue to inspire myself and others to become more and more integrated with our global society to make infinite positive changes.



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