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Stories from the field: The importance of celebrating each other’s strengths and build meaningful and long-lasting personal connections

Joshua is a member of the DRC Resettlement Roster and was deployed as a BID & Resettlement Expert in UNHCR Sub-Office Kassala. Kassala State, East Sudan, from March to December 2021.

Posted on 07 Apr 2022

I was deployed in Sudan to serve as Best Interest Determination (BID) and Resettlement Expert (RST) in March 2021 and was based at the UNHCR Sub Office Kassala State, East Sudan. I served in the dual role for 10 months, until December 2021. My terms of reference included, but were not limited to conducting resettlement BIDs and other BIDs for children at risk, including unaccompanied and separated children, to aid in other complimentary pathways. I also drafted Resettlement Referral Forms (RRFs).

The Resettlement team, despite the unique programmatic and operational challenges, was a great team. In my opinion, it was an ‘A’ team by all standards. Here I met dedicated staff, who are also experts in their field. I learned that in a winning team you don’t have to be best friends with everyone, however, developing a relationship with each of your teammates and knowing them off the ‘court’ will strengthen your relation and communication when it counts. With the Sudan RST team, we built meaningful and long-lasting personal connections, also outside of the office space. This resulted in increased resilience and motivation within the team, amidst a dynamic humanitarian terrain in Sudan.

Moreover, the team celebrated my strengths and brought out the best in me—and accepted and supported me with grace to address my shortcomings. In sum, I gave Sudan the best I had, and the best came back to me. I take this experience with me to my new position within Child Protection in Emergencies (CPiE), working for UNICEF Country Office-Juba, South Sudan. Here I am coordinating the implementation of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) as part of the Minimum Service Package (MSP) within humanitarian settings.

Experience has taught me that a good team leader and player doesn’t shine by dimming the lights of others. A successful leader inspires transformational change in their team. A successful team leader is also a good coach. I re-experienced the positive value of teamwork in the hands of an experienced team leader and coach in the North African country-Sudan.

/  Joshua

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