Nationality

Ethiopia

Education

Master of Science in Information Science, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Bachelor of Arts in Library and Information Science, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Languages

English, Amharic

My career with the United Nations began in 2008, when I joined the United Nations Mission in East Timor as an Associate Information Management Officer in the Serious Crimes Investigation Team (SCIT). The SCIT’s Information Management Team had a critical role in supporting investigators and legal officers by providing comprehensive information for investigations on a timely basis.  As evidence is crucial to the judicial process, my team had a pivotal role in ensuring that extensive documentation was effectively compiled and easily accessible to the investigators.

In order to effectively support the SCIT, we deployed a full text database management system that allows users to conduct more flexible searches. While the previous system was limited to metadata or field level searches, the new system combined both metadata and content search, which better responds to users’ needs. Deploying this system helped our team to focus more on organizing, updating, enriching and refining metadata fields to ensure more accurate search results.

My team was also responsible for coordinating the translation of all documents into the three languages, English, Portuguese and Tetum, which were used by the mission. Our role gave us broad exposure to a range of other technical experts from translators to Information Technology experts. Working with so many different specialists in a dynamic mission environment was both challenging and exciting.

After my first experience with the Organization in Timor Leste, I moved to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as Chief Information Management Officer. My team is responsible for providing records management, archival, internal correspondence and reproduction services to ensure effective support to all mission components so that their mandated activities can be delivered. Together we focus on the best practice management and disposal of accumulated records based on an established retention schedule by the Department of Peacekeeping Operation.

In order to implement record management policies throughout the mission, my team has established a network of Record Management Focal Points, who are then trained and certified. My office provides technical assistance during record transfer and colleagues are encouraged to transfer semi-active and inactive records to our record centre regularly to minimize the risk of data loss or damaged records. Regular record management assessment visits are also conducted around the mission to ensure record management policies and best practices are being implemented. This enables us to quickly identify problems and take prompt remedial action measures.

In today’s peace operations, we are moving away from paper records to electronic information management, which enhances productivity through technology, as well as cost and environmental savings. Consequently, we have developed a mission-wide platform or COSMOS, which is an Enterprise Content Management system offering standardized and simplified document and records management functionality. 

As the Information Management function transitions towards a more automated way of operating throughout the global Secretariat, we are progressively decommissioning various databases and replacing them with web-based, standardized applications. This strategy responds to the Secretary-General’s call for a “Digital Secretariat”, a global initiative I am proud to participate in.

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