WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION FOR PROGRAMMES FOR PREMIÈRE URGENCE INTERNATIONALE


After obtaining a Master’s degree in humanitarian project management as well as training in accounting, Flavie Papon joined Première Urgence Internationale in June 2018 as Deputy Head of Mission for Programmes.
She first carried out a six-month mission in the Central African Republic in 2018, and then she left in 2019 to support the mission bringing Mali and Niger together .

Deputy head of mission in Mali

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION FOR PROGRAMMES?

The main role of the Deputy Head of Mission for Programmes is to monitor the strategic, operational and qualitative aspects of the programmes implemented by field teams.

WHAT ARE YOUR MISSIONS SPECIFICALLY?

My main missions are divided into 3 parts:

  • In collaboration with the technical teams, I follow the progression of humanitarian needs and I suggest interventions adapted to needs identified in the field.
  • Once the projects have been approved and funded, I must ensure that they are properly implemented while respecting humanitarian principles, the internal procedures of Première Urgence Internationale and the donors. I therefore provide operational support to the technical teams to ensure the successful completion of the programmes and certify their quality.
  • Finally, I must ensure the flow of information between the different bases, the coordination office and the headquarters. Another part is also the representation of the NGO with the donors, the authorities and humanitarian actors.

WHAT DIFFICULTIES HAVE YOU FACED?

Most of the time, I had to work remotely monitoring the programmes taking place. This is one of the main difficulties of the job and is sometimes a major source of frustration for me. Another one of the job’s difficulties is leading projects in emergency situations. Being an expatriate, it’s complicated to go into the field for security reasons.

WHAT ARE THE NECESSARY SKILLS TO BE DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION FOR PROGRAMMES?

To carry out my duty, I must communicate seamlessly with all parties involved in the programmes, so it is necessary to have good interpersonal skills. In addition, I think that those who wish to do this work need to have a good sense of organisation, know how to express themselves clearly and be patient.
Also, you must be flexible in managing the overall project and have good written and oral communication.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST IN YOUR PROFESSION?

Overall, I like the transversality of the job because it allows me to work with headquarters, different areas of a mission (security, finance, human resources, logistics), technical experts from various fields and the partners all at the same time. This is extremely stimulating and allows me to have a global and strategic view of the mission. What I also really like is ensuring the quality of the programmes. Indeed, this means thinking about improving our practices in order to always have a positive impact and meet the needs of populations, inclusion and gender.
Not being a technician, I’m learning a lot. Moreover, during my two missions with Première Urgence Internationale, I reinforced my knowledge in particular in health, nutrition and protection.

WHAT ARE THE MISTAKES NOT TO MAKE?

The main mistake would be to believe that we already know everything and to want to duplicate what we have done elsewhere without taking into account the cultural specificities and the real needs of the populations.
There is a lot of expertise on-site and at the headquarters of the NGO, so do not hesitate to ask them.

WHY HUMANITARIAN AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE PREMIÈRE URGENCE INTERNATIONALE?

Access to health care, water and education are rights. It is because I wish that these rights are guaranteed to everyoneno matter the sex, the religion, the ethnicity and where people live that I chose to join the humanitarian field. I am aware that this is a long-term job that requires everyone’s commitment. I have chosen to commit myself to be an actor of change in the world of tomorrow and to contribute to living in a world where human rights will be respected.
I first joined Première Urgence Internationale because it is a non-political and non-confessional NGO on a human scale whose core business is health. Also, I like that it gives junior profiles the opportunity to work in the field in positions of responsibility while providing the necessary support to strengthen their skills and enable them to carry out their missions.
Finally, I am completely committed to being a part of Première Urgence Internationale’s desire to strengthen the national teams’ abilities to support the nationalisation of positions.

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