September 24

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Landing in Antananarivo to work for UNICEF Madagascar

End of August, start of a new six months life away from home, family and GSK Vaccines colleagues from Wavre, Belgium.

Why Madagacar ? Because Madagascar is the 4st poorest country of Africa, and too often forgotten (as “out of the map”) and simply because they need help.

Tuesday 29th August (day -1) : last french fries, last Belgian beer, last strawberries from the garden, last phone communications with friends and family, last mail connection with GSK, then finally… suitcases preparation !.

Wednesday 30th August (day 0) : Last check of my suitcases content (I was quite sure to forget few things, and I was right), then leave to Brussels airport at the end of the afternoon, ready for a flight trip of 19 hours to Antananarivo via Istanbul and Mauritius Island. Good service on board, but nearly impossible to sleep correctly in the plane…

Thursday 31st August, I arrived 1 hour late at Ivato airport around 3:30 PM, but with all my luggage, and the taxi driver (also booked via the local BCD travel agency) was waiting for me, great !

First good news, Friday Sept 1st, which was supposed to be my first day at UNICEF, is a “day-off” for UN personnel (because of the Aïd-el-Kebir). Then, it was the occasion for me to find my way between the guesthouse and the UNICEF offices… by foot. I was expecting +/- 5 km (a guess via google map), but I certainly walked 15-20 km instead, because I did not take the shortest way, and was lost few times, indeed, Tana is like a labyrinth. Today, I know that reality is more close to 7-8 km, by the shortest way.

Monday 4th September, my first day at UNICEF Madagascar.

I have been assigned here to be a “Business analyst in Fundraising”. As a scientist, far from financial operations, I was wondering what it really means, and what they are expecting from me. 

Now, it’s more clear: UNICEF is divided in several “Sections” (see below *), which have their own people working/struggling with their own projects/priorities, with too short timings/deliverables and not enough personnel.

Then, my role will be to evaluate the current way of working in all these sections and help them to be better prepared when they will have to submit their projects on time to their sponsors.  I will tell you more next time about the UNICEF offices, my job/role, and my new international colleagues. 

After taking off from Mauritius Island :

20170831_122703

Just before landing in Antananarivo :20170831_140247