Celebrating 27 extraordinary colleagues at #IFAD: What a great way to finish the year

This afternoon we came together for the 2011 staff award ceremony.

IFAD staff awards is very special. What makes it different from other awards and recognitions is the fact that its an award for staff by staff.

Every year we have the opportunity to nominate and reward our colleagues and peer for their leadership, for being agents of change, for spearheading and contributing to an outstanding project and/or activity.

And this year, we had the opportunity to honour 27 extraordinary colleagues!

Our lovely colleague Shyam Khadka got the award in the leadership category. The award paid tribute to Shyam’s eloquent and consistent leadership, to his role as the “programme management department anchor” for all major corporate evaluations including direct supervision and country presence. Shyam was recognized for his strong negotiating skills, ability to constructively engagement with others, his tact, his relentless focus on achieve the best possible results. Shyam is not only a leader, but a mentor and a role model for many of us. This year's award for leadership could not have gone to anyone better than Shyam!

In a true team spirit and to celebrate cross-departmental and cross-divisional work - the embodiment of breaking down silos - two teams got the awards in the outstanding project/initiative category.

Shamela Brown, Victoria Chiartano, Paola de Leva and Amedeo Paglione were awarded for having conceived, planned, developed and implemented the Member States Interactive Platform. The award recognized the hard work that went into turning this initiative into reality. They were acknowledged for their vision, commitment, for coming together from different parts of the house, to provide IFAD with a better way to effectively communicate with our donors.

The other team is one known to the readers of IFAD Social Reporting blog - the team who worked behind the scenes to make the Second Global AgriKnowledge Share Fair possible. This team that was instrumental in opening IFAD's doors to 700 participants from 60 countries in September 2011. Thanks to the exemplary teamwork of Alessio Accardi, Christian Assogba, Fabio Caruso, Jean Philippe Decraene, Christian De Santis, Roberto De Tora, Severino Manuel, Roberto Montalto, Dave Nolan, Birgit Plockinger, Roberto Rea, Beate Stalsett, Elisabetta Vaccari and Florence Yu,  IFAD was able to orchestrate an “out-of-the-box” and successful event. They are indeed a dream team, a true testament of "IFAD at its best" and  sterling example of team work within and between divisions, one that cuts through divisional and departmental silos, and gives true definition to the word team.

We finished by celebrating three extraordinary colleagues and our GoGreenGroup as agents of change.

Rahel Getachew was rewarded for consistently showing relentless commitment to excellence and for always going the extra mile. Rahel was recognized for enhancing IFAD’s image, both internally and externally, she was recognized as being the embodiment of the true professional, tirelessly gracious and tenaciously supportive even when under the most intense of pressure.  The award paid tribute to her many wonderful attributes which are appreciated by all levels of staff and stakeholders, and reinforces the recognition of all the hard work done by Rahel,  that is not always visible but that is the foundation of the organization's internal strength.

Hubert Boirard  was recognized for his outstanding performance in managing the challenging country portfolio of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Everyone recognized his efforts in transforming Sierra Leone portfolio into  high performing and disbursing one. He was commended for implementing an innovative project management unit as an integral part of the Ministry of Agriculture in Liberia.  Thanks to Hubert's work,  the World Bank and African Development Bank decided this year to  assign their programmes to be managed by this project management unit. The award recognized Hubert’s abilities and skills of innovator and change agent  delivering tangible results that turned around the performance of the country  portfolios in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Dina Nabeel, who unfortunately was not present, was recognized for her initiatives to drive and support the changes that facilitated and allowed IFAD to successfully take over the responsibility of supervising  its projects. Her work was instrumental in building staff capacity at headquarters and in the field to handle fiduciary aspects associated with supervision and implementation support. This award recognized Dina’s ability as a change agent that supports and motivate peers to deliver important changes in the way we work which has led to tangible improvements  of project results on the ground.

We paid tribute to the IFAD Go Green Group, composed of  Moses Abukari, Hazel Bedford, Miriam Blanco, Steven Jonckheere and Sabine Pallas for their outstanding contribution in promoting a green and environmental friendly attitude at corporate level. The Go Green Group was established as small group of volunteers in August 2008, following the Secretary-General’s request to launch a UN initiative to reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the United Nations Headquarters. The group has had its share of challenges, as initially it was met with some scepticism. However, their  passion and tenacity has inspired many colleagues to the point where IFAD is now working together with other UN agencies in the Sustainable UN network to become climate neutral by putting in place systems to reduce IFAD’s environmental impact (Greening the Blue Initiative).

We all look forward to 2012 edition of IFAD staff award, which will definitely pay tribute to many more colleagues. And before I sign-off, congratulations to Ron Hartman for receiving the Presidential award. We all thank Ron for his great work in re-engaging with Australia. And happy holidays to all our readers. May 2012 be a peaceful and prosperous year for you all.