Monday, October 26, 2009

UN Spouse Employment Programme

It's alarming that a gigantic multinational body like the UN keeps no published records of our lot, the spouses who oblige and follow their partners around the globe.
I spent days, searching the net for any stats that would tell me how many of us are out there and all I found was one document stating the rules for spouse employment within the UN system.
While in Jordan, I joined the UNLESA.. can't remember what the letters stand for but it was an organization for UN spouses based in Jordan. For two years, the focus of the group was to match spouses with jobs within the UN system. Well, that was when they were not fighting for space for with over two dozen UN agencies who couldn't find an empty room to give up for a couple of hours for us to convene.
Since I had a good job already, my interest in the organization dwindled after a while. I only stayed on because I genuinely liked its members.
While finding a suitable job tops the list for many of us Roamers, there are other issues that should be tackled with equal candor. Some of which, directly feed into the job search issue.
Take an example of a mother of three, two of which are toddlers with years to go before they go to school. Say the UN Spouse Employment Programme finds her a great job that totally matches with her qualifications and aspirations. Who will take care of her kids? what happens if her school age child falls sick? If she's late, is there a support system she can rely on to help? Shouldn't the process of founding a support infrastructure precede any job search?

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