Chiara's Story

“What I like the most about my job are the very diverse opportunities I have every day for learning and experiencing something new.”

Associate Expert, Agro-Industries Technology Division

I received my first degree from the Faculty of Political Science in partnership with the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Bologna in Italy. This unique combination of topics allowed me to focus on Rural Development Policies and Sustainable Agricultural Management. After some years of gathering work experience in Nicaragua and Mozambique, I decided to continue my studies and specialize in Organic Agriculture at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute.

I later applied to the Italian JPO competition and was selected by UN DESA, which in this case was shortlisting and then appointing Italian JPO candidates. I’ve always seen the JPO as a fair entry point for junior experts like myself, which was the main motivation for me to apply and to later accept the position once selected. At this stage, the passion I’ve nurtured toward organic and small-scale agriculture has led me to Ethiopia, where I am very much involved in sustainable agricultural value chain management. What is important now and will continue to be important in my future job is being able to measure the impact of the development projects in which I’m involved. 

My responsibilities now are related to the projects of the Agro Industry Technology (AIT) Division that UNIDO manages in Ethiopia. A typical day of work can allow me to have contact with all stakeholders, from State Minister and high-level officials to farmers, smallholders and processers. Reporting and communicating all the performed activities is also part of my job. This communication creates a relationship of trust between the donor, the local Institutions and ultimately our beneficiaries.

What I like the most about my job are the very diverse opportunities I have every day for learning and experiencing something new. Working in Ethiopia is particularly fascinating since the level of ownership by the national institutions is very high and the decision making process for all the projects is a continuous consensus-building exercise. Beyond my ordinary tasks in coordinating agricultural value chain development projects, I’ve also learnt about UNIDO’s administration, logistics, communication, evaluation system, official reporting, HRM and many other topics.

Being a JPO in Ethiopia and working with the AIT Division on projects is a matter of everyday learning! Of course I am mostly involved in the direct planning, implementation and evaluation of the activities, but being in a team of all Ethiopians implies that you are in a family where everybody looks after one another.