13 February 2012

UNDP is hiring an international fitness instructor for its Juba staff

Update: Samer Abu Hawilih states in the comments that this is "not funded by UNDP or donor funds. This is a staff-led initiative, through the Staff Association and Wellbeing Office." Thanks for the clarification Samer.
"international personnel are placed in non-family posts in South Sudan under hardship conditions, displacing them from their culture and normal support networks. 
All personnel are struggling to cope with the chronic stress of working within a post-conflict environment in which few counseling, social support, and other support and recreational services are available. Of particular concern is the need to help staff deal with traumatic stress, chronic stress, communication and resolution of interpersonal conflicts, multi- and cross-cultural diversity, and alcohol and substance abuse education. 
UNDP South Sudan recognizes that counseling services and recreational facilities and activities should be part of the staff wellbeing initiative. Resolving problems, exercise and dealing with personal and work issues is an important part of a staff member’s wellbeing. Therefore, we are seeking to recruit a fitness Instructor to assist in providing exercises as part of the wellbeing of staff in order to ensure work/life balance, which is another important referral service for staff members."
UNDP Jobs (HT: TvV)

I have no words (at least none that it would be prudent to express here).

Compare and contrast with Oxfam deciding not to use its Nairobi swimming pool because of worries about media and public opinion back home in the UK. Spot the difference. 


Ian Thorpe said...

I think taking care of your staff while they work in a very stressful location is a lot cheaper than taking care of them after they have burned out. Or perhaps real expat-aid workers don't need taking care of :-)

Ian Thorpe said...

Perhaps I misinterpreted your post. Maybe you meant that it was good to see how well UNDP take care of their staff in comparison to Oxfam who seem more concerned about their public image. confused.

Anon said...

What an embarrassing misuse of funds.

UNDP staff are already the highest paid in the UN system - if they want to stay fit, they can use their own money to do so, ideally by hiring a local trainer. As it stands, they are taking at least $100,000 that could otherwise be used for poverty reduction.

It is, of course, vitally important to invest in the wellbeing of field staff. But if a person is in danger of developing chronic/traumatic stress or substance abuse then they need counselling and relocation, not a free gym membership.

I say all this as someone who works for the UN (in a hardship post), has previously had post-traumatic stress and will shortly be moving to Juba.

Carol Jean Gallo said...

I assume since local staff are not struggling with PTSD or other stresses in a post-conflict environment, they don't get fitness classes? :(  Guess they have their culture and their normal support networks.

rovingbandit said...

When I worked in Juba I'm pretty sure there were tennis courts, football pitches, basketball courts, a climbing wall, frisbee games, rugby games, gyms, swimming pools, a running club, a squash court, boat trips on the Nile, bars, international restaurants (Thai, Chinese, Indian, Pizza, Greek, Ethiopian, European), and R&R every 6 weeks for UN staff.... 

Cynan said...

does this mean we can open the pool now does it does it can we mum huh huh?

Samer Abu Hawilih said...

UNDP South Sudan
clarifies that the fitness instructor consultancy is not funded by UNDP or donor funds. This is a
staff-led initiative, through the Staff Association and Wellbeing Office,
to arrange health and wellness initiatives in a post-crisis environment in which
few counseling and social support services are available.
Samer Abu Hawilih, Head of
Procurement, UNDP South Sudan

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