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The Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office is a UN center of expertise on pooled financing mechanisms.

It supports development effectiveness and UN coordination through the efficient, accountable and transparent design and administration of innovative pooled financing mechanisms. For more information, consult the MPTF Office Gateway and publications.

News
12 Apr 2021

New York - The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, the UN center of expertise in pooled funding, is pleased to announce Ilaria Carnevali as its new Deputy Executive Coordinator.

Ilaria brings over 20 years of experience in the UN System in addition to an extensive prior private sector career, mostly in international banking with focus on emerging economies and loan syndications. Her programme management experience and work in key thematic areas (including governance, children’s rights, gender equality, and crisis prevention and recovery) will be a key asset for the management for the MPTF Office’s broad portfolio of inter-agency pooled funds.

Ilaria also has a varied geographic and leadership experience. Most recently she served as UNICEF Representative a.i. and Deputy Representative in Niger. Previously she had worked in Cabo Verde (UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Office), Mozambique (as UNDP Deputy Country Director), Mauritania (UNDP Deputy Resident Representative) and in Ukraine (UNDP’s Head of Governance Programmes). She has also worked in UNIFEM Africa and UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

She holds an Advanced Degree (Laurea) in Business Administration from Bocconi University (Italy) and a Master of Arts in international Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs from Syracuse University (USA), with concentration in International Economic Policy and Latin America. Ms. Carnevali is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, is married and has three children. 

 


30 Mar 2021

With informal employment accounting for more than half of all jobs in Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu, it became clear that the hitherto ‘invisible sector,’ was going to be the biggest key to driving economic recovery across the Pacific region.

In March 2020, long-time flight attendant Sophie experienced the devastating loss of her job, along with hundreds of other Fijians in the tourism industry. The painful trauma of suddenly losing her livelihood collided with the additional stressors of uncertainty over her family’s future, plus the fear of a fast-spreading and fatal disease. Life had changed overnight, and as the weeks went by it was becoming clear that things were not going back to normal soon…if ever. There was only one constant, and that was the bills, recalls Sophie.


“I had to begin thinking of a way to pay the bills, and to keep food on the table,” she explains. Electricity, water, gas, fuel, groceries, rent – the essentials of life now seemed like luxuries to thousands of families across Fiji and the Pacific.
Under pressure to survive, Sophie had to quickly find within herself a level of strength and determination that she had never had to call on before. Having never worked outside the flight industry, she was now required to develop an entrepreneurial mindset if she was going to begin generating an income. Thinking back on a time before the pandemic, when her family would praise her delicious home-made wantons, the first glimmers of an idea – and hope - began to appear.

An Entrepreneur is Born

In December of 2020, Sophie was part of the UN75 open day weekend  at Prince Charles park in Nadi, Fiji. In the midst of hundreds of vendors, the ‘1ton Fiji’ stall – boasting homemade dumplings, wantons and fresh juices – stood out for its quality products and for the beaming face behind the counter. Sophie had done it! She now operated a fully-fledged small business and had been receiving catering orders from around the island for months.
Thanks to a financial and business literacy project led by the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council and supported by the International Labour Organisation [ILO], the budding businesswoman was armed with the foundational knowledge she needed to grow and promote her business in a COVID-affected world.

Sophie’s professional Facebook page  proudly advertises ‘Delicious home-made frozen chicken OR pork wontons. Sold in packs of 20, perfect for family meals to share!’ And with more than two thousand followers, it is safe to say that this little business is fast becoming a big name.

However, as Fiji marked the grim anniversary of one year of COVID this March, significant challenges remain in the world of work. More than one hundred thousand people are unemployed; a dormant tourism industry continues to keep the country’s economy on its knees; and the inequality gap widens every day, pushing women, girls, youth and those working in the informal sector further behind.

In the Driver’s Seat – Navigating Economic Recovery through the Informal Economy

In mid-2020, the UN in the Pacific undertook a series of in-depth assessments  analysing actual and potential losses for Fiji’s economy and vulnerable groups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also analysed the magnitude and nature of impact on selected sectors and population groups which are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and recommended the most effective policy interventions to address the impact of COVID-19.

With informal employment accounting for more than half of all jobs in Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu, it became clear that the hitherto ‘invisible sector,’ was going to be the biggest key to driving economic recovery across the Pacific region.

Backed by the UN Secretary General’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund , the ILO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), joined forces to shape an innovative project targeted exclusively at informal workers within the agriculture and creative sectors. The goal?
Inclusive Economic Recovery through Sustainable Enterprises in the Informal Economies of Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu.

In February this year, the project convened a series of meetings that brought together Key Business Development Service Providers including the Fiji National Provident Fund, Vodafone, the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, as well as informal sector farmers and creative artist associations like the Fiji Arts Council and Pacific Islands Farmers Network.

The aim was to begin working on making business development services as accessible as possible to micro enterprises. This is an important step in creating financial stability, amongst this fast-growing segment of society, if we want to fuel a swifter economic recovery.

Once again, Sophie was present. “My first Job was at Air Pacific [now Fiji Airways],” she reiterated. “For sixteen years, like most Fijians, a percentage of my salary went towards my pension fund through the Fiji National Provident Fund. When I suddenly lost my Job in 2020], I had to start over. I set-up my small food business but had no idea that I could still voluntarily contribute to FNPF, and carry on building my retirement fund. I would have never found out if not for this new enterprise sustainability project.”

“The lack of social protection is a significant source of vulnerability for informal workers. The lack of access to health care and at least a basic level of income security keeps many of them in a vicious cycle of vulnerability, poverty and social exclusion. This constitutes an enormous challenge not only to their individual welfare and enjoyment of human rights (in particular the right to social security) but also to their countries’ economic and social development (ILO 2017; OECD and ILO 2019; RNSF 2017).”

Reflecting on the week’s discussions, Sophie echoed the sentiments of many of the participants, “I am excited about FNPF’s plans to create more awareness across various platforms about their options for voluntary contributions for informal sector workers, and also that they are looking to work closely with Vodafone through Mpaisa for accessibility. This is so important for people living in rural communities so as to avoid the inconveniences of traveling and time whenever they want to transfer money to their FNPF accounts.”

Through the second quarter of 2021, three specific types of services will be tailored and delivered to COVID-19-affected micro enterprises across Fiji - including business training, business advisory services and business mentoring.

Sophie’s final words? “I have gained such great knowledge from these meetings, and from being able to network with other small business owners. I will definitely share my experience and encourage my friends who have small businesses to contribute to FNPF. I will definitely be sharing with them everything I learn!”

This initiative is implemented in the context of a joint project entitled “Inclusive Economic Recovery through Sustainable Enterprises in the Informal Economies of Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu”, and funded by the UN Secretary General’s Multi Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for COVID-19 recovery.

 Originally published by ILO (link).


30 Mar 2021

With informal employment accounting for more than half of all jobs in Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu, it became clear that the hitherto ‘invisible sector,’ was going to be the biggest key to driving economic recovery across the Pacific region.

In March 2020, long-time flight attendant Sophie experienced the devastating loss of her job, along with hundreds of other Fijians in the tourism industry. The painful trauma of suddenly losing her livelihood collided with the additional stressors of uncertainty over her family’s future, plus the fear of a fast-spreading and fatal disease. Life had changed overnight, and as the weeks went by it was becoming clear that things were not going back to normal soon…if ever. There was only one constant, and that was the bills, recalls Sophie.


“I had to begin thinking of a way to pay the bills, and to keep food on the table,” she explains. Electricity, water, gas, fuel, groceries, rent – the essentials of life now seemed like luxuries to thousands of families across Fiji and the Pacific.
Under pressure to survive, Sophie had to quickly find within herself a level of strength and determination that she had never had to call on before. Having never worked outside the flight industry, she was now required to develop an entrepreneurial mindset if she was going to begin generating an income. Thinking back on a time before the pandemic, when her family would praise her delicious home-made wantons, the first glimmers of an idea – and hope - began to appear.

An Entrepreneur is Born

In December of 2020, Sophie was part of the UN75 open day weekend  at Prince Charles park in Nadi, Fiji. In the midst of hundreds of vendors, the ‘1ton Fiji’ stall – boasting homemade dumplings, wantons and fresh juices – stood out for its quality products and for the beaming face behind the counter. Sophie had done it! She now operated a fully-fledged small business and had been receiving catering orders from around the island for months.
Thanks to a financial and business literacy project led by the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council and supported by the International Labour Organisation [ILO], the budding businesswoman was armed with the foundational knowledge she needed to grow and promote her business in a COVID-affected world.

Sophie’s professional Facebook page  proudly advertises ‘Delicious home-made frozen chicken OR pork wontons. Sold in packs of 20, perfect for family meals to share!’ And with more than two thousand followers, it is safe to say that this little business is fast becoming a big name.

However, as Fiji marked the grim anniversary of one year of COVID this March, significant challenges remain in the world of work. More than one hundred thousand people are unemployed; a dormant tourism industry continues to keep the country’s economy on its knees; and the inequality gap widens every day, pushing women, girls, youth and those working in the informal sector further behind.

In the Driver’s Seat – Navigating Economic Recovery through the Informal Economy

In mid-2020, the UN in the Pacific undertook a series of in-depth assessments  analysing actual and potential losses for Fiji’s economy and vulnerable groups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also analysed the magnitude and nature of impact on selected sectors and population groups which are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and recommended the most effective policy interventions to address the impact of COVID-19.

With informal employment accounting for more than half of all jobs in Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu, it became clear that the hitherto ‘invisible sector,’ was going to be the biggest key to driving economic recovery across the Pacific region.

Backed by the UN Secretary General’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund , the ILO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), joined forces to shape an innovative project targeted exclusively at informal workers within the agriculture and creative sectors. The goal?
Inclusive Economic Recovery through Sustainable Enterprises in the Informal Economies of Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu.

In February this year, the project convened a series of meetings that brought together Key Business Development Service Providers including the Fiji National Provident Fund, Vodafone, the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, as well as informal sector farmers and creative artist associations like the Fiji Arts Council and Pacific Islands Farmers Network.

The aim was to begin working on making business development services as accessible as possible to micro enterprises. This is an important step in creating financial stability, amongst this fast-growing segment of society, if we want to fuel a swifter economic recovery.

Once again, Sophie was present. “My first Job was at Air Pacific [now Fiji Airways],” she reiterated. “For sixteen years, like most Fijians, a percentage of my salary went towards my pension fund through the Fiji National Provident Fund. When I suddenly lost my Job in 2020], I had to start over. I set-up my small food business but had no idea that I could still voluntarily contribute to FNPF, and carry on building my retirement fund. I would have never found out if not for this new enterprise sustainability project.”

“The lack of social protection is a significant source of vulnerability for informal workers. The lack of access to health care and at least a basic level of income security keeps many of them in a vicious cycle of vulnerability, poverty and social exclusion. This constitutes an enormous challenge not only to their individual welfare and enjoyment of human rights (in particular the right to social security) but also to their countries’ economic and social development (ILO 2017; OECD and ILO 2019; RNSF 2017).”

Reflecting on the week’s discussions, Sophie echoed the sentiments of many of the participants, “I am excited about FNPF’s plans to create more awareness across various platforms about their options for voluntary contributions for informal sector workers, and also that they are looking to work closely with Vodafone through Mpaisa for accessibility. This is so important for people living in rural communities so as to avoid the inconveniences of traveling and time whenever they want to transfer money to their FNPF accounts.”

Through the second quarter of 2021, three specific types of services will be tailored and delivered to COVID-19-affected micro enterprises across Fiji - including business training, business advisory services and business mentoring.

Sophie’s final words? “I have gained such great knowledge from these meetings, and from being able to network with other small business owners. I will definitely share my experience and encourage my friends who have small businesses to contribute to FNPF. I will definitely be sharing with them everything I learn!”

This initiative is implemented in the context of a joint project entitled “Inclusive Economic Recovery through Sustainable Enterprises in the Informal Economies of Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu”, and funded by the UN Secretary General’s Multi Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for COVID-19 recovery.

 Originally published by ILO (link).


21 Mar 2021


Tea garden workers in Bangladesh, who are mainly women, are one of the most marginalized groups in the country, with limited access to education for their children and prone to dire health risks. A programme supported by the UN’s Joint SDG Fund, which funds initiatives focused on sustainable development, aims to boost social protection for these works, helping them access their rights and improve their life prospects.

 

“During my pregnancy, my family planned to help me deliver my baby at home, following in the footsteps of my ancestors”, says tea worker Ruma Munda. “I was never aware that there were alternative, safe methods of childbirth delivery, in health care facilities with clinical specialists.

 

“My husband, Sunil, is also a tea garden worker, and we were never introduced to modern medicine or midwives.”

 

Deep-seated challenges

Ms. Munda’s story is an example of the health challenges faced by tea workers, most of whom have more than three children, partly because of difficulties in receiving family planning services. However thanks to the programme, couples can improve their knowledge and take advantage of their right to access family planning methods.

 

“One day, I participated in an awareness session, which is where I learned about prenatal care, birth planning, and safe delivery care at a clinic”, says Ms. Munda. “When I shared the information with my husband and family, we decided to seek health care from a secure clinic.

 

“As a result, I visited the facility for prenatal care, and they made me aware of what to expect and how to tend to my new-born child after birth.”

 

“During the delivery, I was aided by a tea garden volunteer who transferred me to a health facility where I delivered my healthy baby with the assistance of a midwife. Now I am a strong advocate for the Rajghat tea garden maternal health care for all expecting mothers, so they know they have the same right to access quality care”.

 

Approx. 360,000 workers and their families in 166 commercial tea gardens, especially women and girls who represents 64 perfect of the working population, are some of the last mile marginalized people in Bangladesh. Over half of the tea garden workers are women and most of them are tea leaf pickers, and others work in tea factories.

 

Making a difference

Bangladesh is amongst the leading tea exporters in the world, with hundreds of plantations across the country. The tea industry is dominated by female workers who, despite long hours and labour-intensive work, receive very little pay and face harsh conditions.

 

The programme is making a difference to their lives in several ways, helping couples to improve their knowledge and right to access family planning methods, and providing education on sexually transmitted diseases and, for adolescents, information on health and child marriage prevention methods.

 

“I had no idea about menstrual hygiene”, says Akhi, an adolescent girl from Mirzapur Teagarden. “I now know, for the first time in my life, why this is so important, and why cleanliness, changing clothes frequently, and taking a regular bath is essential.

 

“I started following those messages and now I feel more confident. I am also encouraging my peers to do the same and share the information from the awareness sessions for adolescent girls”.

 

‘Vicious cycle of deprivation’

The sessions have helped women feel more empowered, and more likely to stick up for their rights. Srimoti Bauri, a tea garden worker is one of the three women Vice-Chairmen of the Cha Sramik Union (Tea Garden Workers’ Union) valley committees.

 

“I am forever grateful to this programme for providing me with the opportunity to speak on behalf of my fellow left-behind women tea garden workers and share their struggles”, says Ms. Bauri. “I never thought I could speak up for our rights and contribute to the empowerment of women tea garden workers like me. This gives us courage and strength to fight for our rights and change this system for the better.”

 

“I am hopeful that women like me will be able to break the vicious cycle of deprivation and exploitation of tea garden workers. Through this initiative, women tea garden workers and their families can finally achieve improved access to better education and skills, and raise their voices against discrimination and injustice in the tea gardens”.

 

 

 

Protecting tea workers

  • There are some 360,000 tea garden workers and family members in Bangladesh, and almost two-thirds of the workers are women and girls.
  • The joint UN programme, “Social protection for tea workers” aims to give female tea garden workers in Sylhet region, Bangladesh, strengthened and more coordinated access to national social protection coverage and local social services.
  • Partners and agencies have been on the ground providing education, skill-building, family planning, hygiene and safe birthing practices.
  • The aim is that women and their families, as well as trade unions, will be more empowered to claim their rights to social protection and development, information and participation.line

 



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