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.