Back from our IMI experience

Written by Semina Fazelbhoy and Claudio Priori

China country office (20-27 October 2012)
by Semina

Before leaving for Beijing I was apprehensive to travel alone to China-so many worries: the long flight, the arrival late evening, the language (despite the efforts I could learn only few words in Chinese before leaving) and of course worry of not answering all HR-related queries.

All my worries were futile-because although the flight was long (Emirates) and in spite of travelling economy class, I had lots of leg-room, the food was delicious and the people sitting next to me were friendly. Upon arrival at Beijing airport I was received by a very nice Chinese UNDP driver-we of course communicated in sign language!  The hotel staff were friendly and I learned lots of new words,  " 你好" Nihao (hello) was my first one.

I had healthy discussions with the ICO staff and we covered several  HR topics.  In the same office compound, I met staff of WFP, UNDP and UNDSS all of whom were readily available to cover topics ranging from recruitment to security.

The ICO staff were thrilled to receive the  country office administrative handbook and the communications toolkit.  They were enthralled to learn the usage of LMS and most of all they felt honoured that someone from HQ-HR was present in person to answer their numerous queries.  They constantly mentioned that they now feel more included as IFAD staff and less isolated!

Beijing is a beautiful, safe, city, with wide streets and fashionable shops.  The food is light and cheap and the portions huge.  Yes, language can be a challenge, but you can get by if you learn a few key words in Chinese and speak to the young  people who are only too eager to practise their English.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit China and would love to return to China someday to learn more about their language and culture.

Ghana country office (26-30 November 2012)
by Claudio

Accra: Local market
Since the establishment of IFAD country offices, I have not had the opportunity to visit on site and to better understand the way our ICOs operate. As many of my colleagues working in ADM, we often work with our ICOs colleagues but being at HQ it is not always easy to capture how we can do things differently in order to improve our collaboration to make things work better.  That’s why I applied for the IMI initiative and I am glad my proposal was selected!  Thanks to IMI, I finally had the chance to visit our Ghana country office and  the African Continent for the first time in my life.  It was a very enriching experience both professionally and personally.

Claudio and Sarah  working together!
Working closely with IFAD local colleagues as well as having contact with the Ghanaian residents was one of the memorable experiences that I will always remember with pleasure. The hospitality of our colleagues in Ghana was impeccable in making me feel at home.  When back in Rome, I felt a bit sad and suddenly I could understand what my colleagues meant by “MAL D’ AFRICA”

In the office with our colleagues Ulac, Sarah and Daniel
 I cannot but over emphasize the importance for each staff member at IFAD to have the chance to visit a county in which IFAD operates and meet the colleagues who work there. These kind of opportunities put things in a different perspective and it's easier to work out  a new way of doing things! In my specific case,  I received many constructive suggestions on how to improve the  inventory management for assets assigned to our ICOs.

We are now working on these suggestions ideas will shortly be discussed with Management.

Keep reading the blogs to know more!!

I am fervently looking forward to my next duty travel….