People Champion Spotlight: Fatoumata Balde

UNDP People for 2030
4 min readMar 14, 2022


People for 2030 is fortunate to have some very talented People Champions who embody and inspire change in their respective Country Offices. The Spotlight series aims to highlight them and their efforts. With each Bulletin, we will be featuring an interview with the hope that reading their story motivates our readers as much as collaborating with them energizes us.

For this People Champion Spotlight, we spoke to Fatoumata Balde, head of the Office’s Human Resources Unit at UNDP Mali to learn about her work with the office’s People for 2030 Committee.

Fatoumata worked as a tax and legal advisor for over 17 years. Her aspiration to transform the lives of people brought her to UNDP where she works closely with a team of people to provide support and advice to senior management in the implementation of the People for 2030 strategy.

With these five questions, we shine a light on Fatoumata’s passion for people-oriented projects and the numerous forums she has initiated to enhance the experience of her colleagues at UNDP.

Q1. What motivates you to be a People Champion?

My main motivation is that, as a People Champion, I am at the forefront of the implementation of the People for 2030 strategy and see the concrete results of the positive changes that this new strategic direction is driving, i.e., improvements in the quality of our human resources.

Q2. What drew you to UNDP?

I have always been drawn to the humanitarian sector. For me, UNDP has always been one of the most high-potential organizations where I can see the impact of my work on others. Indeed, UNDP is changing lives by helping countries implement the 17 SDGs. To be part of UNDP means to be part of a core group of people who work every day to improve the lives of thousands of people around the world.

During my professional experience in renowned international companies in the private sector, especially in consulting firms, banks, mining and oil companies, I have always occupied a dual role as a “Legal and Human Resources Manager.” I was motivated to further increase the impact of my work and contribute to the humanitarian sector, so I joined UNDP Mali in September 2020.

Q3. What is your favourite thing about working at UNDP?

What I like about my day-to-day role is the fact that I am “learning and changing” through contact with my colleagues. In fact, in my role as HR, I interact with colleagues on various personal and professional matters. I am immensely proud of the changes we are making. For example, I see that the flexibility of working hours has significantly improved the quality of work of certain people who are happy to be able to reconcile their professional and family lives. For me, playing an active role in promoting this well-being in our offices is proof that I am fully playing my role.

Fatoumata Balde (left) presenting People for 2030 initiatives to colleagues in her office

I have been with UNDP for over a year now, and another highlight for me is that I see it as an employer that offers interesting career opportunities. Next, my ambition is to go beyond my HR role and focusing on gender and conflict management, both of which will be crucial to making UNDP Mali a harmonious workplace.

Q4. As a People Champion, what is one initiative that you have implemented in your CO to transform the work culture?

As soon as I was appointed People Champion, I proposed to senior management to set up a People for 2030 Committee. The purpose of the establishment of this People for 2030 Committee was to unite a diverse group of people around the 8 focus areas of the people strategy. Within the committee we also initiated two sub-committees.

Knowledge Thursdays hosted by the Learning Sub-committee

First, the Learning Sub-committee, which is responsible for encouraging employees to engage in self-training and acquire new technical skills, thereby empowering themselves to pave their own careers. To this end, we have “Knowledge Thursdays” every two weeks for all personnel, covering a wide range of topics. Monthly monitoring is carried out and new HR tools such as the launch of the Fuel 50 platform are shared with all employees to ensure that colleagues truly benefit from these activities and platforms.

Second, the Well-Being Sub-Committee, which is responsible for organizing wellness activities with the support and coordination of the staff association. Under this, we also organized the day of March 8 under the theme of the valorization of female leadership so that we can also strengthen gender awareness among colleagues and reinforce the importance of fostering diversity to shape an inclusive work environment.

Q5. What are the three words to best describe you?

The words that best describe me are “Friendliness, Proactivity and Availability”.

I try to personify them because I believe they are essential to the accomplishment of my two roles — HR Analyst and People Champion.