Gender Mainstreaming and Procurement: Changing the Way We Work

16 Jun 2015 by Asha Shidane

A UNDP Somalia construction site uses a unique labour force made up of women. At UNDP looks for innovative ways to help Somalis break gender barriers.
Procurement and gender is not something that comes together in one sentence very often. And even less so in Somalia, where women are still hugely marginalized and underrepresented in all sectors of the economy and in the society at large.  While UNDP Somalia addresses gender inequality issues with various programmatic activities, we at procurement unit wanted to be actively engaged too. The idea of gender and procurement was challenging at first, but, with time, we were able to identify avenues for incorporating gender into our work. This is the story of our journey of small strides to mainstreaming gender into procurement of UNDP Somalia that is already showing positive impacts. Our approach was to look at this from equal opportunities perspective. Firstly, we analyzed our statistics. It turned out that most companies that provided services to UNDP Somalia were headed by men. For example, the Expression of Interest carried out in Garowe was attended by 38 suppliers, only one was a woman, a partner in the business and not the owner. A similar initiative in Mogadishu was attended only by men. Additionally the representation of women workforce in these companies was minimal. So UNDP procurement benefits (new contracts, new jobs) were … Read more

"There is nothing a woman cannot do," says UN Somalia’s top female driver

08 Jun 2015

Tess and Philippe Lazzarini, UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident and Humanitarian Representative for the UN in Somalia.
Have you met Tess Rono, senior driver at the UN in Somalia? She was the first woman to be employed as a driver in the UN in Somalia, and today is one of the highest ranked drivers in the system. “She is a fearless woman!” says Philippe Lazzarini, Deputy Special Representative to the Secretary General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN in Somalia. Tess is his official driver when he is in Nairobi. Tess has worked with Resident Coordinators and Representatives since 1994 – her previous supervisors read like a ‘who’s who’ at the UN in Somalia, including Walid Musa, Erlin Dessau, Dominic Laggenbacher, Randolph Kent, Maxwell Gaylard, Eric Laroche, and Mark Bowden. Tess aspires to work more on the actual programmes through which the UN delivers humanitarian and development assistance.   Before joining United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia, Tess trained as a driver and studied elementary Mechanical Engineering at Kenya National Youth Service training facility.  When she started working for UNDP in 1994 there were very few women drivers around in Kenya. Thanks to her focus and tenacity she rose through the ranks to reach the demanding position she occupies today. Tess has to be very flexible, … Read more