BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL: UNDP Syria celebrates the diversity and success of its different teams from across the country

By Ramla Khaldi, Resident Representative, UNDP Syria

Recognition means to be accepted for who we are, to be seen, and to get credit and appreciation for the things we do.

What happens when we are part of an organization where we get recognition? We thrive.

In June 2022, UNDP Syria teams from across the country met for a 2-day retreat. It was the first time all staff were able to meet in this kind of format after almost four years, and also the first opportunity to meet in person since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The retreat was an opportunity to reflect on UNDP’s achievements over the past few years and to collectively chart a way forward for the operationalization of UNDP’s new Country Programme Document 2022–2024. The document that outlines UNDP contributions to national results and serves as the primary unit of accountability to the Executive Board for results alignment and resources assigned to the programme at country level. It was also a chance to dig deep and unpack some of the internal bottlenecks, challenges and concerns of staff, who work in an often difficult and complex environment.

The clarity of vision and the solution-focused deliberations of the event were greatly appreciated. Close to 150 colleagues took active part in the meeting, including through the self-facilitation of interactive sessions, demonstrating our in-house talent, and the great ideas we were able to generate.

Guided by UNDP’s People strategy, People for 2030’s call to take care of our people, to encourage and reward excellence and commitment, and to foster diversity and respect, the retreat included many opportunities to ‘Stop, Reflect and Recognize’ the valuable contributions of all staff. A dedicated “Thank you” interval was an opportunity to proactively seek out and appreciate colleagues who have in some way supported us in our work.

As one of our colleagues, Kenda Alzaim, Head of Solutions Mapping, shared after the retreat:

“It was nice to finally meet our colleagues from different area offices! The retreat gave us the opportunity to stop and reflect on what we are doing, how our work is contributing to the “big picture”, know more about our strengths or “superpowers” and recognize opportunities for growth. Most importantly, the recognition of our individual contributions, made us feel seen and appreciated.”

In an effort to maintain the momentum and commitment, we at UNDP Syria, have set ourselves a 90-day challenge — to implement action plans in five key areas:

1) Staff well-being;

2) Performance management, career development, and empowerment;

3) Leadership, engagement, and direction;

4) Agility and innovation; and

5) Contract modalities.

Follow-up committees, including personnel from different teams, are working to action these plans in the coming weeks and months.

In the end, teamwork is about us and our ability to achieve positive change, together.

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