New tech, better internal communication — or is that just a millennial thing?

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 21 June 2016

The advent of new technologies and a tech-savvy workforce is raising an important question for development leaders: Should they stick to their ways, or should they open themselves up to new tech communication opportunities that may also introduce headaches and complications? Photo by: Viktor Hanacek

In early June, Christian Saunders, the director of the office of the under-secretary general for management at the U.N. Secretariat in New York, published a commentary about Umoja, the U.N.’s new IT system.

The senior official, part of the deployment team at headquarters, asked staff to extend more patience to the system’s “teething” challenges with a post on U.N. Special, a monthly magazine for international civil servants working in Geneva.

“Umoja is here to stay, it will make the U.N. stronger and will help us succeed in building a U.N. fit for the 21st Century… don’t fear the system, you are not alone and if you need help you should not hesitate to reach out to your local support center!” Saunders wrote.

The piece, titled “In defense of Umoja,” was a response to a mountain of criticisms expressed by staff members on social media — including dismay by senior U.N. officials leaked to the press — about Umoja. Devex reached out to several U.N. staff for their take on the system, but didn’t receive a response in time for publication of this article. Devex was able to speak with Saunders  for further details on the upset about the system."

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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