What is an iFellow? That was the question that I got this afternoon in my office; I get that question a lot from my friends and colleagues in UNHCR, and it’s not easy to explain but I hope that once this first year of the iFellow program is finished, it’s going to be easy to explain to anybody and everybody, what an iFellow is, and what we do.

Let me try to explain what being an iFellow means to me; being an iFellow is not a position or a title that is typically used UNHCR – it’s a program that assembles superheroes – like in the Avengers Movie.

But these superheroes don’t have superpowers like the movie,  instead they have other abilities, and ways to work:

  • Visionary views on challenges and solutions;
  • Openness to change;
  • Thorough presentation of ideas and solutions;
  • Independent research for information, resources and support;
  • Proactivity in the pursuit of ideas and their transformation into an solution;
  • Curiosity;
  • Diligence / Aspiration;
  • Efficiency and effectiveness, using a very exact knowledge of the goals they try to achieve, making it easier to affect an optimal distribution of available resources;
  • Contemporary communication skills, using a variety of platforms, and tools;
  • Transparency towards colleagues;
  • Ability to inspire others on a topic.

And this is only a small list of the abilities that this group of people has.

This gives you a little look at what it is to be an iFellow: a person that has this abilities, and with those abilities tries to solve problems and challenges that affect UNHCR and the people that we serve.

What we do in our daily jobs, and in our past, now that’s a more complex history, because all us have different backgrounds, different expertise and experiences. Some of us are experts in IT, others in coordination, others in management, education, etc. So that’s a bit more of a complicated question to answer – as we’re so diverse, which means we have a wide variety of understandings of challenges and problems. The most important thing, is that we try to make use of all of our different skills, and use them to solve challenges together, no matter what our background, or our current position.  In a very simple way: we have a challenge or problem in our office and we try to find a solution for it using innovation – we find new ways to do things in a more efficient and fast way.  We try to improve current process or solutions for better performance or results.

Having this in mind, let me explain what I’m doing in the iFellow program at the moment.

I’m an IT expert specialized in the design and development of databases, I’ve been working for the past 5 years in UNHCR as data administrator, and now I’m the Regional Operation Data Manager Officer for the Middle East.  Right now im working with a group of iFellow’s, on the scope and design of a mobile app that will try to solve one of our challenges, that comes from the following question: “how can we improve the communication between the Refugees, NGO and UNHCR”  (more about this in my next post).

Now if you, anyone, has any questions about it or wants to know more about what is going on with our project, please let us know.

by: Diego Batista

Regional Operations Data Manager

UNHCR Regional Protection HUB – Beirut, Lebanon

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