WHO IS FRANCINE PICKUP?
Francine Pickup is Strategic Planning Advisor, Asia-Pacific, for the UNDP. She has 15 years of experience in humanitarian and development organizations in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia.
In her current role, she developed the regional priorities in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-17, and leads the planning, monitoring, reporting and communication of results and performance achieved by the UNDP’s Asia-Pacific bureau.
She worked as Head of the Research and Analysis Unit of OCHA in the occupied Palestinian territory, and at the outset of her career, worked in a number of roles for NGOs.
She obtained her Ph.D. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics in 2002.
You can connect with Francine here:
IN TOR 015 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- What it’s like to advise and promote projects within the UNDP for the strategic organization of programs across the Asia Pacific region.
- How lobbying works inside large organizations, the value of partnerships and aligning agendas with co-workers, particularly in times of diminished budgets.
- The challenges of measuring UNDP’s impact across the region and individual countries.
- Francine’s path, from early interest in psychology and her academic travel to the former Soviet Union, her stint in the UN and Oxfam, and her reflections on a changing environment.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- UN Development Program (UNDP)
- Amnesty International
- United Nations
- Strategic planning
- Monitoring and reporting
- Situation analysis
- Quantitative literacy
- Gender inequality
- Natural disaster
- Civil conflict
- Climate change
- Livelihoods, poverty, inequality
- Attribution versus contribution
- New York
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Advisor at UNDP Strategic Planning
18 months. Finding strategic direction in Asia Pacific. Very large and important region.
Monitoring and reporting, see if course needs to change.
USD 6B spent in 5y. What is there to show for it, what can be improved.
Currently on the making of the next strategic plan.
Francine advises the deputy director, provides support in prioritization, leverages capacity.
Exciting trip to the office. Hectic.
International phone calls to regional offices.
Coordination meetings with regional managers.
Analysis, which she does on her own. Produce insight and direction.
Some travelling, not too much. Was in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Tibet.
UNDP is undergoing reorganization.
It is normal practice to work on crazy hours because of the time zones.
Lobbying for one’s programs
Internally, among UNDP colleagues. It’s important to get them on board, get as much support, input, backing as possible.
Gender inequality is a large focus, lots of traction.
Natural disaster and conflict, role of climate change.
Livelihoods, poverty, inequality. Huge results are coming, it is difficult to show for progress.
Lots of internal efforts in monitoring projects and improvements.
Some countries have particular difficulties, it’s important to account for those in planning.
A UNDP priority is to increase impact of intervention, scaling up. Improving quality and sustainability. It is considered in projects from the start.
Core money on a fund used by a rating scale.
Bangladesh, environmentally friendly brick making. It includes networking local brick makers. A personal favorite.
UNDP is not looking for attribution, just contribution.
Huge region, very little things are under their control.
Clarity is still important, as is monitoring.
It is challenging to illustrate UNDP role in issues of climate change and smart use of resources, for such a large region. A little easier by individual countries.
Partners want to know about UNDP due poverty reduction. “We don’t have the answer.“
Interested in culture. Went into psychology. Also a passion to travel. Development was soon an obvious choice.
’90s PhD on development in Russia, in the beginning of the market economy.
Accepts a job in Israel, working on livelihoods, interviewing people and finding more about effects of conflict.
Her studies gave a strong background on situational analysis. Works in Iraq, evidence based decision making. Helps assembling teams. The importance of strategic planning is not widespread.
Amnesty International, Oxfam, UN.
The good thing about the UN is that “it is possible to influence change if you have good ideas.” The downside: “Politics.“
Reactions against planning
Donors react most of the time, it’s political. It affects long term planning.
Countries in transition.
Donor money is going down.
More evidence gathering, more bang for the buck.
Low income countries are evolving, request technical advice so they can develop themselves.
Get field experience in many countries.
Don’t start in headquarters.
Feel comfortable with quantitative data, and your own analysis skills.
“It is possible to have a life as a development worker.“
Please share, participate and leave feedback below!
If you have any feedback you’d like to share for me or Francine, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! I read all of them and will definitely take part in the conversation.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask me directly, head on over to the Ask Stephen section. Don’t be shy! Every question is important and I answer every single one.
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