Group 3: Visiting WHO and OCHA (Day 2 of the Geneva trip)

The day started with Leila showing us around on the huge areal of the UN, first from the outside, including a visit to the famous flag alley.

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Then we still had a little time to walk around inside, strolling along long corridors and enjoying some stunning views from the windows.

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After an hour of sightseeing, we went to meet the team behind ReliefWeb. Mark, Lauren and Joel told about their daily work with producing visual information on crises around the world and gave valuable comments to our project.

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From there, we moved on to the WHO headquarters where we first had lunch with Jukka, providing us with insight into humanitarian work in general and the political context of WHO’s work.

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After coffee in the lobby, Leila showed us around a bit, including a visit to the top of the building – with an breathtaking (but thanks to the stormy weather somewhat chilly) view over the Swiss alps.

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All refreshed, we got a brief introduction to the SHOC room (Strategic Health Operations Centre), the room used as the communication central when crisis hits.

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The rest of the day we spent meeting other HAC staff as well as the representatives of the Intranet and web teams. We had some lively discussions around our concept presentation and got several sheets full of notes that we can use when continuing the work. We were happy to see that people liked our idea, and are grateful for all the insight and comments provided.

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A big Thank You to Leila and Jukka for arranging our visit, and to all the wonderful people who freed some time from their obviously very busy schedules to talk to us. It was a great experience to meet so many passionate and enthusiastic people and aside from getting our project forward, we also learned a lot of new things to take home with us.

Again, some sidenotes not related to the project: Shanfan would like to mention that she really liked the breakfast here, we learned that also the WHO cafeteria does not take credit cards and as a tip: you can get a good cheese fondue at “Restaurant Hotel de ville” in the old town…

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