The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Finance Sector Hub is a start-up within the greater UNDP. Focusing on financing the Sustainable Development Goals, the Finance Sector Hub works across 17 core areas of financial expertise to align global economic policies and financial systems with the 2030 Agenda.
Originally set to work with UNDP’s Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD), like many of my peers, the opportunity fell through the cracks due to COVID-19. Fortunately, I was able to connect with my boss and was quickly re-assigned to the Finance Sector Hub as one of the first interns within the start-up. The unique position of being one of the first interns gave me the opportunity to be treated as more of an equal than an intern in an extremely fast passed environment.
This responsibility was rewarding and at times demanding. Coordinating with our five regional bureaus and numerous country offices often resulted in 4 A.M. conference calls and only about a two-hour window – between 7 and 9 P.M. – where my phone wasn’t vibrating from email notifications.
With that being said, my day-to-day work was extremely rewarding. Across our 17 financial areas of practice, I developed internal and external communities of practice for crisis response. This assisted in cutting UNDP’s response time down to under 48 hours. Additionally, I learned skills in web development and was tasked with managing UNDP’s internal web portal. On this platform, I helped create forums for discussion, resource allocation, and managed webinars. This internal platform proved to be extremely helpful for communicating the needs of regional bureaus and country offices with our global team in NYC. As we were a new team, circulating information and discovering the needs of country offices was somewhat ad hoc – centralizing everything was useful.
While I was not able to work in-country as I originally planned, my experiences with UNDP’s Finance Sector Hub have surpassed all expectations for a remote internship. Working out of headquarters – remotely from Colorado – afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with individuals not just in Turkey, but all around the globe, something I am extremely thankful for. While I may not continue to work with the Finance Sector Hub after my six-month contract ends, I certainly aim to stay within the greater-UN system through the Young Professionals Programme.