Rodrigue has landed in the Ukraine!
My placement through UNA-Canada’s International Development & Diplomacy Internship Programme (IDDIP) is at the UNDP Country Office in Kiev, Ukraine within the Health Project team. The pre-departure preparation really helped me to start on the right foot here from day 1. The communication with the staff while I was still in Canada, particularly my supervisor, allowed me to arrive at the office here ready to go. My supervisor actually met with me the day before I started work at a café to welcome me and brief me more about the project, office culture, etc…
The work is very interesting and the working environment is very pleasant despite some minor logistical limitations at the office. I am looking at monitoring and evaluation aspects of the health procurement project. I also lead the research on the procurement requirements for oncology medicines to establish the appropriate standards to follow throughout the entire procurement cycle. The week after I started work I had the opportunity to attend the UNDP international workshop on Procurement and Supply Chain with participants coming from over 30 countries. It was a great networking opportunity and learning platform for me. I am scheduled to attend the National AIDS Conference here November 21-23, where I will present findings of a scoping review of best practices for HIV treatment services in armed conflict zones.
|Rodrigue, 2nd from right|
The city of Kiev is very pleasant and one cannot get bored here. Food style is not too different from what we see in Canada, I would say even more tastier and cheaper. Transportation is very cheap as well. Accommodation can be tricky, but the best lesson learned is to use the services of a broker that will require top pay an extra half month as broker fee. Due to language barrier, using a broker is the most effective option as you will spend less time at the hotel while looking for an apartment or a room. In fact, even if you an accommodation by searching yourself on the internet, you might still be asked at the end to pay the broker fees to the agency that posted the ad online. The city of Kiev has a lot of historic sites to visit. The infrastructures were mostly built from the Soviet Union era but they are very well built as far as I have seen. What amazed me the most is the metro infrastructure. Some metro stations are over 100 meters below the surface, something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world.
Besides working, I have a lot of activities, mostly sports related. On Fridays we usually go for drinks after work with colleague, which is great to bond more with the team. I actually had the opportunity to watch a soccer champions league match with Dynamo Kiev. I also registered to the gym where I go with colleagues on a regular basis mostly for swimming and sauna. I also joined a volleyball club with wish I practice once or twice week plus I get some assignments to referee volleyball league matches from time to time. These extra activities keep me quite busy and allow me to cope the distance away from my family which remains in Canada. Luckily my family will visit me here in Kiev in December to spend the holiday season together.