Chair’s Note - UNKLESA Success is Based on Partnerships and Participation

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2 October 2019

The time has come for me to step down and pass the baton to the leader who will shepherd UNKLESA into its next phase. The election for the new 2019-2020 Chair and Board launched on 30 September 2019 and all of the candidates are very impressive; I highly encourage every member to vote by the October 20th deadline. 

Our revitalization effort has been centered on demonstrating real progress towards becoming the high-performing organization that UNKLESA can and should be. The current Board is busy finalizing the 2018-2019 UNKLESA Annual Report to reflect on strengths and weakness of the association over the past year as well as how successful we were in meeting our goals from the 2018-2019 Strategic Blueprint. 

I am happy to say that we have had numerous successes on our path to fulfilling our goal of supporting and connecting UN families and to ensuring organizational continuity for UNKLESA going forward into the 2019-2020 term. 

Today, I want to highlight three of those successes:

•     Agency Membership: following the success of our partnership with UNICEF ESARO, UNICEF Kenya, and UNICEF Somalia we were pleased to have UNEP partner with UNKLESA under the agency sponsorship model. This model means that the agency pays for the yearly membership of spouses/partner of staff to join UNKLESA. This model also creates a stronger relationship between the agency and UNKLESA. When UNEP was in need of additional assistance during UNEA 2019, they asked UNKLESA for volunteers and several of our members helped with note-taking, registration, and reporting writing.

•     UNKLESA AppUNKLESA is proud to announce that we are in the beta testing phase of development of our integrated digital platform app to provide UN Staff and the 1,300 international UN families in Nairobi, Africa’s largest family duty station, with the support they need whenever they are in their posting. This innovation is part of UNKLESA’s commitment to making the Nairobi duty station a magical place by ensuring that all members of the family are supported throughout their stay. 

•     Pilot Projects: As part of its creative family support mechanisms, UNKLESA launched several pilot projects in 2018-2019 to engage UN family in supportive, socially-aware activities ensuring that UN families gain rich, valuable experience and have a safe, productive way to spend their time at the best family duty station.

As I look back on our achievements, I want to sincerely thank every single UNKLESA member and their families, past and present, for your contributions both large and small. I’m tremendously grateful for all the hard work and the many sacrifices you made. We always endeavored to do the right thing for our UN families. This has required the most impressive displays of teamwork, innovation, and resilience and working with you has made my time as UNKLESA Chairman nothing short of a privilege.


David Taddele Dessie

Chairman of the Board

UNKLESA Board