Learn all about the Stories Behind the People for 2030 Award Winners

UNDP People for 2030
8 min readFeb 16, 2021


UNDP People for 2030 Logo

People for 2030 is a 3-year strategy that plans to transform UNDP's culture and capacity to deliver better results for the Sustainable Development Goals. The UNDP Administrator launched People for 2030 in June 2019, where the strategy encompasses nine focus areas that identify different ways to strive for excellence, promote diversity, and enhance the working environment in UNDP.

Each Country Office has a representative, a People Champion, who is responsible for communicating People for 2030 in their office, monitoring the changes being made, and assisting the implementation of the strategy in the office.

There are 150 People Champions worldwide, and these champions recently participated in a challenge to see which country office could demonstrate their most effective approach to delivering the People for 2030 goals. From the almost 40 excellent proposals, there were 5 winners chosen that received a reward of 5,000 USD to be spent on improving their working environment.

Bhutan CO: “You are a Star” Recognition Program

Choney Wangchuk is the People Champion for Bhutan’s Country Office and has been with UNDP for 5 years. The Deputy Resident Representative submitted her name as a nominee for People champion and was endorsed by the Resident Representative. “The management having trust in me gave me the confidence and allowed me to tell myself that I am capable of making a difference in the office,” Wangchuk states in her interview.

Bhutan CO created the “You are a Star” Recognition program in addition to the annual reward and recognition program.“The problem with the annual reward and recognition program was that people were awarded only once a year and at times the voters tend to forget what big contributions an individual made in that one whole year,” Wangchuk states. The Workplace Wellness and Happiness Committee developed the “You are a Star” program whereby, anyone can acknowledge, recognize and nominate any other colleague by way of just sending an email to staff, promoting the work they’ve done. All personnel are included in the rotating award, and once another gets nominated, the award is handed over to the successor, making the recognition system fluid. When people do win the award, their picture is hung up on the Bhutan Map located in the middle of the office.

Bhutan Map of STAR Recognition Program

“This initiative has to a certain extent changed the workplace’s overall mood and inspired people to contribute more for the betterment of results that the office is aspiring for. Being appreciated is very important in the workplace and has to be there to achieve success,” Wangchuk states. The members of the Workplace Wellness and Happiness Committee played a huge role in the success of this initiative, and the “You are a Star” program highlights several People for 2030 goals. This initiative is currently being implemented in other Country Offices around the world, which makes this program symbolic.

Kenya CO: CO-RESET Initiative

Taye Amssalu is the Deputy Resident Representative and People Champion for the People for 2030 strategy in Kenya and has been with UNDP for 13 years.

In 2018 and 2019, a protracted change management process was carried out in the Kenya CO which affected personnel job stability and personnel engagement.

In response, the CO management and all personnel worked towards a ‘RESET’ of the working environment in the Country Office, known as CO- RESET. “CO-RESET is a home-grown innovation co-created Marshal Plan that guides what we do and how we do it,” states Amssalu in his interview. According to him, CO-RESET is transformational

The acronym stands for Country Programme, Rollout Organizational Excellence, Resource Mobilization, Efficiency in Business Processes, Staff Morale and Wellbeing, Engagement, and Talent Management. The goal of CO- RESET is to encourage performance improvement, increase recognition, and create a flexible working environment, which all line up with the focus areas of the People for 2030 strategy.


Kenya CO holds a variety of meetings for personnel where they discuss these topics in order to increase ownership, creativity, and to innovate new ways to improve the working environment.

The goal of CO-RESET was to take care of the people, which it did. This initiative increased social interactions with staff, created a regional talent development plan, and introduced open dialogue between staff and management. “People are at the center of UNDP as an organization” Assamlu states, “this initiative increases accountability and believability”.

To no surprise, this initiative has been extremely effective for the Kenya CO; the 2018 Global Staff Survey average score, taken before the implementation of CO-RESET, was 47% of personnel being satisfied. In 2020, the percentage rose to 74%, which is the largest change in any average score by any UNDP Country Office during this period.

Sudan CO: Taking Care of Our Most Valuable Resource — Country Office Personnel

The Sudan Country Office wants to encourage a healthy work environment, especially for our female colleagues. To ensure this goal is being met, Nadia Hamid is the People Champion for the Sudan CO and has been with the UNDP for the last 8 years. “Women have been the driving force for this change” Hamid states in her interview. The Sudan CO wants to increase the support and resources for female staff members since certain activities may be difficult for women both in and outside of the workplace.

Sudan CO staff posing with People for 2030 Certificate

The revolution in Sudan affected the people of the country drastically, including members of the Sudan CO staff. It is almost impossible for women to leave the house for 5–6 hours at a time in order to get fuel when they have children waiting at home. Therefore, the CO is providing shuttles along with hotels and appropriate types of conditions for working remotely.

The office also received additional help from a Gender Analyst and Social Counselor. The gender analyst and social counselor organized sessions to provide support for everyone who needed it in the office. Hamid states, “This is what kept us together to continue to deliver and document how things are supposed to be in the workplace.”

When it comes to the prize money, a gracious representative of the Sudan CO matched the $5,000 award which made the total $10,000. “We immediately turned to our staff to ask them how we should use the money,” Hamid states. Personnel at the Sudan CO want to maintain gender equality by supporting female staff members in the field and in the office and through the provision of learning activities on issues based on gender equality in the workplace.

Hamid also states, “The goal is to provide safe, reliable access for female staff at the office and in the field. People for 2030 allows us to invest in other people and influence generations, and Champions can come up with a vision for the future and contribute to the next strategy. The starting point is at the Country Office.”

Ecuador CO: Inclusive Internship Programme

Enriqueta Baquero has held many different positions in her 25 years at UNDP, but currently serves as the People Champion for the Ecuador CO and is the Operations Manager supporting all operational units from procurement to finance, administration and ICT. “Leaders create leaders” Baquero states in her interview.

This idea is shown through the proposal of their initiative, the Inclusive Internship Programme. The Head of Office for the Ecuador CO proposed the idea to promote more diversity in the office since the country is so diverse. Therefore, the Ecuador CO established an internship agreement with one of the country's universities that has an ethnic diversity program, which brings together about 500 students.

This was a great learning experience for the CO since they were able to interact with different types of people. “[This] brought us back to the 3 pillars of UNDP, which includes integrity, professionalism, and respect for diversity. We had the opportunity to practice this in real life,” Baquero states in her interview.

Two interns from Ecuador CO

Due to this increase in diversity, the contribution of new people improved productivity and innovation in the workplace. Baquero also states, “This initiative opened the Ecuador CO to a new place to increase opportunity, include vulnerable people who tend to be excluded, and relies on the basis of the People for 2030: to leave no one behind.”

Turkey CO: Children’s Daycare and Breastfeeding Room

Children interacting in Daycare Center in Turkey CO

Sukhrob Khojimatov is the People Champion for the Turkey CO and has been with UNDP for 14 years. Khojimatov was inspired by the launch of the People for 2030 initiative back in 2019 since it included the organization as a whole. Before the implementation of the focus areas for People for 2030, Khojimatov and his team at the Turkey CO created focus groups to brainstorm about different ways that they could change diversity in the office and localize this strategy to their CO specifically. “We need to have a group of leaders to lead change,” Khojimatov states.

When it comes to their award-winning initiative, gender equality is at the forefront of this strategy. More specifically, breastfeeding for women is hard to do in a private setting with an office that is shared amongst multiple organizations. The CO decided to take charge and create an action plan to develop the Daycare and Breastfeeding center. “We wanted to show how this is important to the people in our organization, the real value of this for us as an office, and how it relieves stress off of parents,” Khojimatov states in his interview.

The Turkey CO received unanimous support for this proposal from the WHO and UNICEF, and they started to work on the implementation of the children’s center. The center was a great success where parents felt comfortable leaving their children while working in the UNDP office.

With the $5,000, the Turkey CO plans to increase the learning capacity of the office through a third party consultant, increase existing learning strategies and training, and increase the supplies at the daycare facility for when the children can return. This initiative aligns with the People for 2030 objective, which is to help others reach their goals. Khojimatov states, “The role as a People Champion allows [us] to create an enabling environment for people to grow through the support of the office.”

People for 2030 is a strategy focused on the wellbeing of the people, and these initiatives show how Country Offices around the world are striving to implement these initiatives in order to reach the goals of the focus areas created by the People for 2030 and UNDP.