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venerdì, Maggio 24, 2024

Katrina Frappier (JPO at the WFP): ‘allyship’ should always be at the centre of our work

Katrina Frappier, Italo-Canadian, is a Programme Officer in the Food Security & Nutrition Analysis Unit at the World Food Programme’s Indonesia Country Office. Selected for the 2020/21 edition of the United Nations Junior Professional Programme (JPO), she has had previous experience working at WFP Headquarters in Rome. She has a profound passion for working with communities and telling their stories, which she has combined through her work on research, data analysis and communications. In her interview with OnuItalia, she focuses on WFP Indonesia’s role as well as her daily duties and responsibilities in support of WFP’s mission in the country.

What are the experiences (education and professional-wise) that brought you to work for WFP?

As I was completing a dual degree in Civil Law and International Development at the University of Ottawa, I decided to take a gap year to better understand my interests and future career goals. I landed a job as a swimming instructor in the Inuit and Cree village of Kuujjuaraapik, in Nunavik (Quebec, Canada). What started off as a summer job, quickly became much more. My duties soon grew to include recreation coordination programmes for the region, in cooperation with NGOs and universities, encompassing several fields such as education and nutrition programmes. Needless to say, my experience in Northern Quebec was transformative. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to work in community development, and when I returned to university I focused on fostering this passion.

The next big adventure which led me to where I am today is the reconnection to my Italian roots. In my final year of university, I had the opportunity to complete a three-month international internship as part of degree. Being half Italian and half Quebecoise, I had always dreamed of going to Italy and, luckily there was an opportunity to work for a small NGO in Rome. Needless to say, I applied and soon joined ARCI APS as a research intern for migration. After this experience, I enrolled in a Master’s programme at LUISS University and another Master’s in Human Development and Food Security at University Roma Tre, which eventually led me to WFP. I joined the Vulnerability Analysis & Mapping (VAM) Unit at WFP’s Headquarters in 2017 where I spent 5 years occupying various functions, but mainly focusing on research, analysis, innovation, partnerships and communications. If I may say, it was the best “school” I ever attended. I loved my job – the experience challenged me and made me think outside the box and be creative on a daily basis. I cherish great memories and learnings from my time in Headquarters. However, after five years, I felt that it was time for a new experience and to get my “hands dirty”. I wanted to go to field, work directly with communities and further develop my experience as a humanitarian and development practionner. I was lucky enough to be selected in the JPO programme and join the WFP team in Indonesia.

Which are WFP Indonesia’s main objectives and top priorities?

In Indonesia, WFP has been working in partnership with the Government for over 50 years. In 2016, the partnership evolved to provide technical assistance and evidence-based policy dialogue to help build the country’s ability to meet development goals related to food security, nutrition and climate. In other words, WFP Indonesia no longer implements food assistance programmes, but rather holds a unique advisory and technical assistance role. This is one of the few WFP operations that is exclusively non-operational and provides a unique opportunity for WFP to be a pioneer in development and country capacity strengthening. In fact, in Indonesia, WFP is committed to working through existing government systems as a sustainable and locally owned approach to achieving the SDGs. This model has the potential to reach a large proportion of the 270 million Indonesian people at high risk of disasters and climate shocks, which WFP alone could not achieve.

What does your daily job at the WFP Indonesia consist of?

My team – the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – specifically works on enhancing the Government of Indonesia’s capacities and existing information systems to generate and utilize high quality evidence to inform policy and programmes to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition.

With this overarching goal in mind, my daily job consists in working closely with government partners, UN agencies and academia on coordinating and producing joint analytical products, policy briefs and other publications through technical working groups. I also work on advocacy plans to ensure that evidence is utilized as a basis for shaping national and sub-national policy discourse, interventions and resource allocation in support of the Government’s development goals. Furthermore, I support senior management with the production of talking points, presentations and coordination of various high-level events. A big part of my job is also supporting resource mobilization for the country office, which is critical for all WFP operations around the world. This necessitates the development of new projects, concept notes and budget proposals to financially support our joint activities with the Government of Indonesia. Finally, the best part of my job is going to the field for data collection. During my time in Indonesia, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct focus group discussions among Indonesian households in Jakarta and Timor in the context of different food security and economic research.

What I love most about my job is the ability to be creative. There are so many opportunities to propose new project ideas and work in close collaboration with wide range of partners. Building strong partnerships takes time, but is also extremely rewarding and effective to achieve development goals.

Do you have any advice for youth interested in a career in the UN?

Work hard, be passionate, creative and above all, humble. When we work in countries and communities that are not ours, it is important to listen. Speak with people, listen to their stories, their ideas and their solutions so you can share these in order to break down barriers in understanding and helping others.

Teamwork is also critical and, in my view, it is the only way we can truly make a difference. Allyship with governments, the private sector, academia and UN agencies should always be at the centre of our work in the humanitarian and development field. Teamwork is also a mindset to be embodied every day in the office with colleagues in order to accomplish set goals. (@giorgiodelgallo)

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