Management Team

Fathiaa Abdalla

UNHCR Representative in Kenya

Ms. Fathiaa Abdalla comes with three decades of experience having held senior leadership positions in UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children, OXFAM and MSF, in HQ, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Ms. Abdalla was appointed as Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kenya on 13 February 2019. Prior to this she served as the UNHCR Representative to Afghanistan. Other senior positions she has held in UNHCR include: Deputy Representative for UNHCR in Iran and Yemen, and Head of Operations in Western Sahara.

Having served UNHCR since the year 2000 in various capacities both in Headquarters and the field Ms. Abdalla has managed diverse portfolios, provided able leadership and a practical, results- oriented approach in complex and demanding operations. She has built strong relationships with government interlocutors and others; consistently pursuing solutions in periods of political uncertainty and volatile security environments.

Ms. Abdalla was educated in Khartoum, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. She holds a M.Sc from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London University, United Kingdom.

Email [email protected]

Twitter @Fathiaabdalla

Walpurga Englbrecht

Deputy UNHCR Representative in Kenya

Ms Walpurga Englbrecht, an Austrian national, took up her appointment as Deputy Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya on 1 April 2018.  She joined UNHCR in 1991 and held various positions in different country operations, including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan/Iraq, Papua New Guinea and Israel.  In addition, Ms Englbrecht  worked for four years at Headquarters within the Department of International Protection where she handled refugee issues from a global perspective (including involvement in the Third Track of the Global Consultations on International Protection).

Throughout her tenure with UNHCR, Ms Englbrecht has worked intensively with Governments, NGOs and civil society in a bid to improve the lives of  UNHCR’s persons of concern (i.e. refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and returnees) by ensuring their access and enjoyment of basic refugee and human rights.

Email [email protected]


Robert Hurt

Head Risk Management, Compliance and Quality Unit

Mr. Robert Hurt has been Head of the Risk Management, Compliance and Quality Unit in UNHCR Kenya since 1 August 2017.  In this function, Mr. Hurt is responsible for strengthening the operations’ systems, structures, procedures and personnel capacities to manage enterprise and operational risks including, amongst other things, the risk of fraud, corruption and exploitation.  Mr. Hurt is on secondment from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) where Mr. Hurt worked most recently as the Director of Planning (2012 – 2017).  As Director of Planning, Mr. Hurt was responsible for strategy development and ensuring the organizational frameworks and systems were in place to deliver upon strategic objectives.  Mr. Hurt has otherwise served as Deputy Director of UNRWA’s operations in Lebanon (2009 – 2012), Special Assistant in UNRWA’s Executive Office (2006 – 2009) and in a variety of legal functions in the United Nations and in the private sector (1996 – 2006).

In total, Mr. Hurt has over twenty years professional experience in strategic and operational planning, programme cycle management, results based management, enterprise risk management, emergency preparedness and response, organizational reform and legal affairs.

Email [email protected]

Ivana Unluova

Assistant Representative (Programme)

Ms. Ivana Unluova took up the position as the Assistant Representative (Programme) with UNHCR Kenya in December 2016, following five years with the operation in the capacity of Senior Programme Officer. Between 2008 and 2011, she was the Manager of the Common Humanitarian Fund with UN OCHA Somalia. In her other assignments with UNHCR since 1997, she served in programme management capacity with UNHCR Somalia and Tanzania, as well as in External Relations function with UNHCR Europe Bureau, including in the Kosovo operation.

Prior to joining UNHCR, Ms. Unluova had worked with the Government of Norway, Directorate for Immigration, as Senior Executive for local integration and also voluntary return programming for refugees.

Email [email protected]

Halimo Hussein Obsiye

Assistant Representative (Administration)

Ms. Halimo Hussein Obsiye, joined UNHCR in September 1993 as a national staff, bringing with her 15 years of banking experience at managerial level. In 2001, she transited to an international professional staff with key roles in management and coordination of UNHCR activities.  Ms. Obsiye was appointed as Assistant Representative (Administration) of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR in Kenya on 01 March 2018.  Prior to this, she served at a managerial level in different field operations: Liberia, Afghanistan, Uganda and Kenya.

Ms. Obsiye has worked as Head of Field Office in Adjumani, Uganda coordinating UNHCR operations in West Nile during the South Sudanese emergency in 2016 and leading processes in an effective and efficient manner to make use of the limited resources available for the emergency operation.  Later she was in Mbarara, Uganda as Head of Sub Office covering operations in Mid-west, Uganda. Her portfolio in the operation include the UN Area Coordinator for the Mid-west region.

Prior to working in different field operations in East Africa, Ms. Obsiye held senior positons in UNHCR that include: UNHCR Regional Office for Central Europe (RRCE) in Budapest, Hungary covering eight countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia, as Senior Regional Admin/Finance Officer managing several portfolios that include Administration, Human Resources, Supply, Finance and ICT for five years. She has built strong relations with Governments interlocutors of the different countries, leading processes in effective and efficient manner.

Email [email protected]

Tayyar Sukru Cansizoglu

Head of Sub-Office Kakuma

Mr. Tayyar Sukru Cansizoglu took up his appointment as Head of Sub-Office in Kakuma on 23 June 2017. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Cansizoglu was the Operations Manager in the Africa Bureau covering the operations in the Great Lakes Region and Southern Africa. He has held various positions as Senior Regional Protection Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Senior Desk Officer for Chad, Sudan and South Sudan, Senior Advisor (SGBV), Senior Programme Analyst and Senior Change Management Officer.

Mr. Cansizoglu has worked in Turkey, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kenya, Jordan and at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva. He comes with long years of experience in emergency response, programme, protection and information management.

Email [email protected]


Yvonne Ndege

Senior Communications Officer/Spokesperson

Ms Yvonne Ndege was appointed as Senior Communications Officer/Spokesperson, UNHCR Kenya, in December 2016. Prior to joining UNHCR, Yvonne worked as an award-winning TV Correspondent, Host, and Bureau Chief, for the international 24 hour TV news channel, Al Jazeera English, headquartered in Doha, Qatar.

Yvonne was responsible for the launch of the TV network in West Africa, from Nigeria, and helped to establish and lead the network’s East Africa operation from Nairobi, Kenya, and across East Africa. Yvonne has worked in and reported from over 30 countries on the Continent, covering war, conflict, natural disasters, elections, economic and social issues. She was singled-out for her journalism on refugees, displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo, winning the UN Correspondent’s Association Award for Journalism a few years ago.

Prior to working for Al Jazeera, Yvonne worked as a Correspondent for the BBC in London, United Kingdom, covering domestic and international news and current affairs across the U.K and Europe.

Yvonne has 18 years experience working as a high-profile journalist and media specialist, and has held media consultancy roles for the World Bank, IMF, World Food Programme and African Development Bank.

Yvonne holds a Masters Degree in Political Science from London School of Economics & Political Science and a First Degree from the University of London, Goldsmiths College.

Email [email protected]

Twitter @YvonneNdege