UNICC Develops Jambo, an Inter-Agency Phone Book App for the UN

Find, connect and say ‘Jambo!’ (‘Hello’ in Swahili) on your smart phone to United Nations colleagues from other organizations. Collaboration and communications between different UN Agencies are crucial to address global challenges and achieve the 2030 Agenda. Most UN Agencies have robust communications within their organizations, but until now a combined global directory has had limited contacts.

To facilitate cooperation, especially given the outbreak of COVID-19 with millions of people working remotely from their homes, the UN Digital Solutions Centre (UN DSC) has developed a phone book app enabling colleagues from across UN agencies to find and contact each other.

The Jambo app, funded by the UN DSC and developed by the International Computing Centre (ICC) in less than a month, currently contains contact information for staff at five member organizations – the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and UNICC. The UN DSC is offering all other UN entities to join for free (additional features such as chat may be introduced as paid services in the future).

The app works like a digital telephone directory. Using their provided organizational credentials to log in, UN personnel can search for colleagues by name and find information such as email address, phone number, UN Agency and other standard Active Directory data. Jambo users can call or send messages and add notes about contacts through the device’s native phone and email functionalities.

Additional features, such as alternate languages and a fully-encrypted chat, will soon be added to the application, with all systems hosted under UN Immunities and Privileges.

The UN DSC encourages all UN entities to say hello and join Jambo for a UN-wide contact information database, strengthening inter-agency collaboration and enabling each to better serve the global challenges related to their mandates.

ICC Delivers Client Webinars on Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning

ICC presented its Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning Services, including ICC’s solid support to Clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, to over thirty people from 12 UN Agencies and non-profit organizations interested in subscribing to ICC’s new service.​​​​

ICC is taking the moment as a timely reminder that a set of Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning services were introduced at the last Management Committee meeting. Together with ICC’s Chief of Business Relationship Management Section Prado Nieto and other BRMs, Lyle McFadyen, Senior Solutions Architect, and Sami Belquas, Senior Service Management Coordinator, presented ICC’s BC/DR Planning service, which provides continuity planning, testing and training services, a comprehensive management and support system for Clients seeking to improve their organizational resiliency and improve their ability to react.​​

The main goal of this service is to help ICC Clients:

  • Safeguard life, property and the environment
  • Minimize confusion and enable effective decision-making in a time of crisis
  • Minimize the loss of assets, controls, revenue, and impact on customers
  • Continue business operations – providing products and services even during a crisis
  • Facilitate the timely recovery of business-critical functions
  • Satisfy any legal, regulatory or contractual requirements, including ISO-IEC 22301:2019 certification.​

ICC Director Participates in Global Youth Leadership Roundtable

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) hosted together with 1Million 2030 Youth Leaders and the Global Challenges Forum (GCF) a virtual roundtable on “COVID-19 and Global Youth Leadership.” The May 14th event was part of UNITAR’s Division on People and Social Inclusion COVID-19 webinar series. There were eight 1M2030 spotlight speakers, brought together by renowned international experts and inspiring global youth leaders to discuss the latest ideas, projects and initiatives leveraging capacity building to protect and restore communities around the world affected by COVID-19.

Focus on net positive impact for the planet, and for fellow human being. You may well be the first post-provincial generation. Humanity is traditionally very provincial. Your vision and global outreach allow you to have the ability to think broader – broader than anyone in any prior generation.
Sameer Chauhan, Director, ICC

After jointly sponsoring a business seminar with UNITAR in October 2019, ICC was keen to be involved. Director Sameer Chauhan, invited as one of the senior experts, stepped up to provide some insightful thought leadership to the group.
The event began with a presentation from each 1M2030 participant and was followed by remarks from senior experts who spoke about the role of young people during the pandemic and who discussed the presentations of the youth speakers. The session ended after a thorough Q&A session.

Flyer for the virtual roundtable hosted by UNITAR and GCF in support of 1M2030. Credit: UNITA

After presentations from inspiring youth leaders from all over the world on projects and health initiatives responding to COVID-19, Sameer offered his encouragement, praise and advice to the youth presenters:

You all have a strong moral compass – which is why you are working on these ideas and not on the next money spinner or get-rich-quick idea. Make sure you retain that compass to guide you on this journey. If asked to make compromises, use this moral compass, but make sure you are making decisions that are aligned with what this moral compass tells you.

Focus on net positive impact for the planet, and for fellow human being. You may well be the first post-provincial generation. Humanity is traditionally very provincial. Your vision and global outreach allow you to have the ability to think broader – broader than anyone in any prior generation. But when you think of the planet, don’t just focus on humanity, but on the well-being of the entire planet.

It is easier to break, but much harder to build. I will encourage you to build together and support each other. 1 Million Youth Leaders, GCF, UNITAR and others can provide you with the glue to stay connected, but you have to support each other.

Other senior experts offered their own ideas and analysis regarding the role of youth during the pandemic, providing a multi-lateral thought leadership to complement the projects presented for a rich and rewarding virtual event.

More on UNITAR and the GCF

The 1M2030 Spotlight Speakers for the discussion on COVID-19 and Global Youth Leadership. Photo: UNITAR

In September 2019, UNITAR and the GCF foundation partnered to promote a new youth capacity-building initiative. They launched the One Million Youth Leaders Beyond 2030 (1M2030) initiative on the 27th of September, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. 1M2030 is a social welfare initiative, which promotes a global movement to empower youth to complete projects aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative primarily aims to target beneficiaries from Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and Landlocked Developing Countries.

GCF plans to register and enlist 1 million youth by 2030 to overcome various challenges in different countries by undertaking small/medium sized projects aligned to the 17 SDGs. The dynamic youth presenters for this virtual roundtable event are part of that project and are part of the 2019 cohort of youth leaders. For more information on other speakers please see the event agenda and the 1M2030 Youth Leaders Site to learn how to follow and support those projects for COVID-19 support.

COVID-19 Support – ICC’s Crisis Communications App

A Core ICC Capability and a New Service for Clients and Partner Organizations

With the outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19, every UN organization has staff and stakeholders teleworking worldwide. In this situation, organizations can benefit from an effective tool for centralizing and managing its up-to-the-minute personnel work status, specific and changing geolocations and disseminating critical crisis alerts and updates.

Users can access relevant crisis information such as emergency contacts, company news, FAQs.

ICC has customized and deployed a Crisis Communications app to support its almost 500 staff and contractors, all teleworking until further notice. The ability to locate staff at a moment’s notice and to send alerts is a critical function in a business-as-usual scenario; in a crisis like the current pandemic, it is absolutely necessary. Personnel may be sheltering in place at home or other unspecified locations – the app makes it a breeze for users to enter their current location and other work status details.

The Crisis Communications app, developed using Microsoft’s PowerApps, connects the organization to its staff with real-time updates. It also shares relevant and timely information to personnel. Users can access company and world news, helpful tips, FAQs, important links and emergency contacts. They can readily share their individual work status with their teams and the organization and make requests to the crisis management team.

The application can be customized to fit the needs of any organization. Some examples of the elements that can be adjusted or added to the app are:

  • Personalization of presence status
  • Text and number of email messages
  • Enabling user location capture
  • Adding functionality for segregation of information, for example by country or office.
  • Integration of information with local data sources
  • Creation of approval mechanisms
  • Customization of the dashboard aggregating organization’s data from other sources, for example with personal contact data.
The Crisis Communication app lets users share from where they are working. Photo: ICC

Users need to have a Microsoft Office 365 license and the organization requires the Microsoft Power BI license for the Power BI Dashboard, although other dashboarding tools can be used. If the organization uses Microsoft Teams, the Crisis Communication app can be embedded into it for a better user experience, but it is not a requisite. Other ways to access the application are through browser or by installing a desktop or mobile version on a computer or device.

The Crisis Communications app can be managed by ICC or by the Client to ensure fast and efficient crisis communications to all organizational personnel. This simple, effective and efficient tool provides excellent business continuity value to keep the UN family aware and safe during these challenging times and beyond.