Tandem Teams, a unique approach to development and crisis response, connects international UN experts with national UN Volunteers. This UNV-UNDP initiative brings together local experience with global expertise and promotes cross-border knowledge exchange.
In times of crisis, volunteers are among the first to take critical action at the frontlines. Under the UNV-UNDP Tandem Teams, national and international volunteers are supporting UNDP country offices in responding not just to the pandemic, but also natural hazards and human-induced crises.
The mechanism allows UN Volunteers to work in tandem with international experts, local staff and SURGE Advisors. The latter are UNDP staff members selected for rapid deployment in crisis situations due to their extensive technical and emergency experience.
How Tandem Teams Work
In practice, UNDP country offices submit a request usually in response to a humanitarian crisis. The Crisis Bureau identifies international experts, and UNV identifies national UN Volunteers to be deployed in the Tandem Team. The UNDP country office makes the selection and connects the international expert, either remotely or on site, with the national UN Volunteer selected for the assignment. The pair then work in tandem on the response.
The Tandem Teams initiative sets UNDP up for deeper collaboration with UNV to rapidly deploy highly skilled local talent to a crisis setting. UN Volunteers are working alongside UNDP all over the world to respond to COVID-19, conflicts and natural hazards, and helping communities build resilience against future shocks. --Asako Okai, UN Assistant Administrator Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP’s Crisis Bureau.
The mechanism brings together the local knowledge and insights of UN Volunteers with the diverse expertise and capacity of UNDP. Tandem Teams ultimately benefits all involved, said Toily Kurbanov, UNV Executive Coordinator.
I see this initiative as truly transformational. Tandem Teams is a demonstration of how the UN system can build greater capacity overall. It harnesses technology, people and collaboration to deliver better outcomes for the people and communities we serve. --Toily Kurbanov, UNV Executive Coordinator
In 2021, 38 UN Volunteers were deployed across the globe in tandem UNV-UNDP initiatives. Meet four of them from four different regions:
Yevheniia Polishchuk, Ukraine
An economist by training, Yevheniia has supported UNDP Ukraine since last year on evaluating the impact of COVID-19. She worked closely with partners to design a socio-economic impact assessment and drafted policy proposals for helping the most vulnerable people recover from the fallout of the pandemic. Despite the ongoing conflict, Yevheniia continues to work with UNDP Ukraine on the ground.
Adnan Safi, Afghanistan
A strong believer in volunteerism, Adnan joined UNDP Afghanistan in Jalalabad in the wake of the events of last year. He is currently managing the implementation of UNDP’s flagship crisis-response project called ABADEI in the eastern part of the country. The initiative supports cash-for-work and resilience-building activities for the most vulnerable Afghans including women and the elderly.
Christo Gorpudolo, Liberia
Christo joined UNDP Liberia last year to support the setup of the Crisis Risk Dashboard – an innovative digital platform by UNDP that allows monitoring and analysis of risks to development in a country. She established contact with all the critical partners for data collection and helped set up a prototype based on anticipated needs and use cases.
Bryan Wakesa, Kenya
A knowledge management and communications analyst, Bryan joined UNDP Africa to support the COVID-19 recovery framework for the African Union. He organized focused group discussions with top stakeholders and worked closely with researchers on developing the recovery strategy. Bryan appreciates different cultures and points of view and in this role, he got to meet a lot of new people from all over Africa.