The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The primary objective of UNMISS is to consolidate peace and security, build government capacity, and to help establish conditions for development. In 2014 the mission was extended to the protection of civilians, human rights and contribution to the creation of security conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
UNMISS aspirations included improving the personal effectiveness of its Executive Secretariat, and providing management personnel with the opportunity to improve their leadership skills for their own professional development and to lead in an empowering and inspirational manner. In addition there was a general need to increase the understanding of staff from various departments and levels on the complexity of factors influencing peaceful coexistence in post-conflict nations such as South Sudan. Staff needed to build their expertise in dealing with conflict in creative, analytical and positive ways to assist opposing parties in negotiating solutions for sustainable peace. UNMISS also wanted to train staff with the view of introducing mentoring and coaching as the default UNMISS performance management approach. These trainings were deemed necessary to link staff competencies to the UN’s core values of professionalism and integrity.
MDF Training & Consultancy designed and implemented a series of training courses aimed at different groups of staff within the organisation, each with its own objectives and training programme. A total of four different courses were held, each for 60 participants divided into two groups and held over a period of five days. Content varied by group.
To improve personal effectiveness of Executive Secretariat staff, the training focused on planning, time management and prioritisation of work as well as communication, pro-activeness, feedback and teambuilding skills. Managers and supervisors learned how to delegate and keep strategic direction, understanding the role of women in leadership and the different leadership styles. In the negotiation and mediation course, trainees were assisted with tools to analyse factors that influence conflict, they learned about principled negotiation and how to deal with different interests. They gained an understanding of mediation process and practiced their skills in reconciliation techniques and methods. In the coaching and mentoring course participants learned how coaching can be a key leadership style in nurturing talent and managing performance.
We employed our typical training format and exercises to make theoretical concepts practical and relevant to daily work, practices and operations. All training courses were highly participatory, attitudes of trainees were explored and experiences shared, and in the end participants developed a personal development plan to ensure implementation of aquired skills.
Around 230 UNMISS staff have improved their skills and knowledge to be more effective in daily work, leadership skills, mediation methods and the use of coaching and mentoring techniques. During the training, participants made substantial progress in understanding and subscribing to the different topics and many mentioned that the training results were beyond their expectations. Participants were eager to learn, they openly shared issues in daily work and were keen to learn tools and skills to handle these. Participants were able to formulate action points in order to improve both their individual and team effectiveness to build on the UNMISS role in South Sudan.