OCHA also provides mentoring, coaching, specific training and performance advice to the RC/RRs appointed in countries where a crisis may arise. Successful candidates are promoted to more complex and prestigious positions, usually above their current level of duties, and get exclusive training, access to privileged information and access to important networks for their future career. However, the promotion only lasts for the duration of their assignment, and the role serves the entire UN community beyond their organisation of origin.
OCHA has also designed development programmes especially for senior women managers. The UN is better than almost any comparable organisation in ensuring gender equality, applying positive discrimination and insisting on shortlists that contain at least one woman. While significant progress was made among the RC/RRs, the percentage of women among HCs remains low. It is thought that this is due at least in part to the hardship conditions of these positions, including unsafe locations and ‘not-for-family’ duty stations. OCHA, on behalf of the IASC, is paying management consultancy Deloitte to pilot a programme targeting senior women managers with experience in socio-economic development issues for temporary assignments in humanitarian postings, to allow them to acquire the necessary experience. At the same time, senior women managers with humanitarian experience are sent to socio-economic development agencies to broaden their competencies. Selected staff continue to be paid by their own organisation and return there after one year. Although a long-term investment, the programme aims at encouraging more women to apply for these humanitarian leadership roles. ODHA argues that even if they do not take this career path, the enlarged networks acquired by both sides will be beneficial for the overall coordination of UN field operations and possibly a catalyst for more partnerships and cooperation between the socio-economic development and the humanitarian world.