How are refugee "cities" born around the world

At a time when the humanitarian drama of desperate people moves the world and imposes a dilemma on Europe, there are refugee camps already reaching 150,000 inhabitants. They are something like cities that have commerce, hospitals, schools and even streets with their own denomination. Everything is transitory, but it is consolidating permanently, in a paradox whose greatest symbol is that children born and raised in places like this.

Leading (and learning) in the field

Every day at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), I need to get things done while working with diverse partners, suppliers, governmental agencies, local communities and NGOs. In this environment, a project manager has to be politically savvy and able to influence and negotiate with all stakeholders. All this requires leadership skills. Some say leadership is an innate characteristic while others argue it’s an acquirable skill. Wherever you stand on that point, it’s inarguable that leadership skills can be improved. But how can project managers do this?

Rush hour

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) often manages projects in which every minute counts. Here’s what I’ve learned about hurrying a project toward completion.

Everyone wants perfection, but the priority should be completing your task. A completed element can be tinkered with or optimized while being of use, but an unfinished one confuses attempts at improvement while being of no utility at all.

Speak up!

I have always believed that effective communication is at the heart of good project management. The messages one communicates, and the way one communicates them, are vital to establishing a strong reputation for leadership.

What is project communication? It’s the specific behaviours and methods used to lead, delegate and advise stakeholders engaged on the project. For communication to be successful, information has to flow in the right direction.

Making the leap

At the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), good project management isn’t just about maximizing efficiencies—it’s about saving lives. UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations that oversees thousands of peace-building, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Projects run the gamut from building roads and hospitals to running elections and procuring food and medicine for hard-hit communities.

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