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Articles / 7 February 2014 | 14:57
Ukrainian supermen, or How to find a job in the United Nations

Ukrainian supermen, or How to find a job in the United Nations


Who has not ever dreamt to work in the UN or Red Cross? Some people want to save the world, others want to work in a prestige international organization to make parents and friends proud. Some people do not want to restrain their activities by the territory of one state, but want to have the whole planet for maneuver. Such aspirations and plans are feasible for Europeans, but can Ukrainians ever realize them? ForUm tried to find out.

Doctors

Ukrainian doctors have the biggest chance to realize this dream. They can become members of the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) movement, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. Volunteers of MSF receive small salary and work short-term contracts (about 6-9 months). MSF recruits medical and non-medical aid workers. There are three types of specialists working there: medical workers - doctors and medical attendants; specialists on sanitation and water supply; technical and management personnel. Current vacancies include the position of Infectious Disease Physician to work in Donestk region and provide diagnosis and testing, medical treatment, and psychological support to MDR-TB patients in prisons. The work is morally and physically difficult, thus, the main requirements (apart from medical education, 2-year experience, knowledge of Russian and Ukrainian languages, computer skills) include motivation.

The World Health Organization (WHO)
recruits staff on fixed-term or temporary contracts. Staff are grouped in two broad streams: Professional (P) or General Service staff (G). Directors (D) are part of the professional category.

Professional staff are hired internationally and occupy leadership functions or positions that require a significant level of technical expertise. P-staff are mobile and are expected to work across the globe. General Service staff are hired locally at the respective duty station. Their main role is to work jointly and support P-staff in their roles and to assure the smooth functioning of all administrative matters.

National Professional Officers are nationals of the country in which they serve and perform functions of a professional nature requiring local knowledge, expertise and experience of a national.
Required qualifications include a university degree as well as a postgraduate specialization in a health- or management-related field, relevant to WHO's work; experience at the national and international levels in your area of expertise; good analytical skills, an understanding of policy issues and a keen interest in public health; a proficiency in English and good working knowledge of a second UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish); effective teamwork and communication skills.

If you want to work in the Red Cross, you do not need medical education. You will learn skills required directly there. Anyone can volunteer. It doesnt matter what your skills, experience or background are, or how much time you have to give. Even if you only have a couple of hours a week to spare, you can find your place in the organization.

UN and Co.

All international organizations accept volunteers. But if you want to get some money for your work, the task grows complicated. One may hope to upgrade one day his status of the volunteer to a position of a permanent staff worker, but the majority of Ukrainian representative offices hire personnel for short-term individual contracts for a year or year and a half maximum. Prolongation of the contact is a big "if".

Many Ukrainians would like to work in the United Nations, considering the huge amount of applications submitted. The UN does give this opportunity, but the minimum of requirements is indeed very high.

Recent UN job openings included a vacancy of Project Operations Manager (Improvement of the living conditions in rural Ukraine by increasing the quality and the access to communal services). The requirements are very high: masters degree in accounting/auditing/finance, economics, business administration or equivalent; 5 years of proven experience in finance and/or procurement management (experience in international organizations is a significant advantage); professional certifications in accounting (CAP, ACCA, etc.), procurement (CIPS, etc.), project management (Prince2) are highly desirable (experience in technical assistance projects would be an asset); experience in the usage of computers, office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) and finance related software packages (knowledge in internet-based financial management systems will be a strong asset); fluency in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

The latest vacancy of United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine was opened for National Consultant on Adolescent Health to support and coordinate activities related to implementation of the integrated model of HIV prevention, care and support for the most at risk young females in Zaporizhzhya. Required qualifications included work experience and qualifications in conducting assessment and providing technical assistance to development and implementation of community based outreach/harm reduction polices; good communication and networking skills; good command of Ukrainian and English; previous positive work experience with UNICEF.

United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine
searches for National consultant to conduct research on early marriage in Ukraine. Applicants shall send personal CVs, including information about past experience in similar projects; financial proposal (expected remuneration lump sum); materials supporting the consultants qualification. There are no definite requirements for this vacancy, thus it is rather difficult to estimate the chances.

The Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine
often looks for local interpreters-assistants with standard contract for 21 months and 1.5 thousand euro of salary. Meantime, the latest job offers of the Council of Europe Directorate General of Democracy included web-developer positions. Minimum requirements include fluent English, Russian and Ukrainian, higher education in relevant field, experience, organizational skills, ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
 
Well, international organizations want best of the best, thus the requirements for applicants are very high. And if knowledge of English, for example, is a standard norm for Europeans and Americans, for the majority of Ukrainians is may become an obstacle. However, sacrifices like studying languages or road of sorrows in search of a recommendation letter are nothing for the dream to save the world...

Tetyana Hryhoriyeva

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