Disclaimer: The views shared in this post are my own (to the best of my understanding), and do not in any way represent the views of the United Nations or any other parties mentioned herein. For more information about the graduate programme, please visit the official UNDP Graduate Programme website, or contact [email protected].


First Published on the 7th of April, 2022 | Last Edited 7th of April, 2024

I am so delighted to be one of 3 Malawians who are a part of the 33 young professionals selected for the first ever cohort of the UNDP Graduate Programme – what was a very competitive hiring process that invited 38,709 applications from allover the world.

Read more on my decision to (re)join the UN here

About the UNDP Graduate Programme

The Graduate Programme is a 2-year assignment with one or more of UNDP’s country, regional or headquarter offices. The programme aims at:

1) furthering workforce diversity and giving entry-level opportunities to talented young professionals from less privileged groups,

2) building a talent pipeline for the next gen UNDP,


3) enhancing organisational capacity in areas with current and foreseeable future gaps supporting the 2030 Agenda.

Application & Selection

The call for applications closed in July, 2021, and 38,709 applications were received from young professionals from across the world.

After a very rigorous hiring process (various interviews and work simulations over several months), 33 of us were selected for the pool.

So far, 18 young professionals have been matched to various offices. Half of us have been posted to the HQ (New York) in various bureaus and offices.

Why UNDP created the Graduate Programme

The UNDP Graduate Programme has been created to cater to the development needs of young professionals from less privileged backgrounds. For example, with cases like mine, even after having been selected to the pool, I have been (re)matched twice, to ensure my expertise and aspirations were matched to the needs and capacity of the hiring office. This was in my interest, as well as the interest of the receiving office; to ensure they got the officer they need, and I got the development which aligns with my aspirations.

I am honoured to be one of the 33 candidates who were selected for the very first graduate programme pool.

I have been offered a graduate position in the Evaluation Office in the New York office, and I will be joining the UNDP – Independent Evaluation Office as an Associate Evaluation Analyst. My presence here means there is one more Malawian working with the UN at the HQ!

Why the UN

It was always a dream of mine to work with the UN.

What some might not know is that I started my career with the UN in 2017. The UN introduced me to development work; and having interned with UN Women in Malawi, I always aspired to rejoin the UN Family. Pursuing my postgraduate studies and establishing my NGO reaffirmed my passion for development work.

Why New York

The choice in location was not up to me, but if it were, I would still have chosen New York.

UNDP launched in 2021 the 2-year Graduate Programme with an aim of equipping outstanding young graduates with the skills and experience required to kick-start their career in international development, and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), build better futures and make a positive difference in the world!

Why New York for me? It’s New York – it’s the big apple. Though I have travelled to several countries in Africa and beyond, I have never lived (nor have I aspired to do so) outside of Malawi. However, for the sake of my professional development, I figure if I am going to test the international development waters, it might as well be the in big apple, and what better organisation to do this with than the UN? This opportunity really aligns with my personal development plans, and I am super excited for it!

Why Now

As I am completing my postgraduate studies, I feel the need to get more professional experience, and the opportunity to work for the UN internationally and/or at the HQ seemed like just the right opportunity.

I reached my glass ceiling as a young professional in Malawi a few years ago, and though it has been the honor of my life to break so many glass ceilings for particularly young women in Malawi, I am most aware that I am still very young. I am thus very excited for an opportunity to be thrown out of my comfort zone, deeply challenged and tested both academically and professionally in new ways.

Even though I am deeply passionate about entrepreneurship and still deeply believe that it is the future for Malawi and Africa’s self-sufficiency and sustainability in particular, I realise I need to grow to be able to serve Africa better. I want to grow both academically and professionally, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do so at this moment than with the UN – in particular the UNDP Graduate Programme.

My Work in New York

In New York, I will work with the UNDP Independent Evaluation Office under the Capacity Development section, supporting the development of Evaluation guidance and engagement with UNDP colleagues and capacity building activities; among other key evaluation activities which I will also be involved in.

My Work in Italy

Part of my job description entails that I will be part of the team organising the National Evaluation Capacities conference, slated for October, 2022. The conference will be held in Italy.

Read more about my roles and career transition here

Career Alignment

Anybody who knows me and my passions knows this aligns with my areas of interest, and is all very exciting for me! I am deeply passionate about development work, and more-so passionate about event-planning, learning and accountability.

This opportunity will be deeply challenging, and a perfect opportunity for growth for me. Though I have led media teams at conferences, I have never quite been part of the core-team of organising an international conference.

My Work in Malawi

With reference to my work in Malawi –

I have served Malawi tirelessly for the past decade, and I will continue to do so, in much different ways now.

Read more about my work with Ntha Foundation and Bien Corp going forward.


A special thanks to everyone who has held me together in this journey. Thanks to my mentors, my referees, my family, my best friends, and my Ntha Foundation & Bien Corporation Africa teams. It’s been the longest 9 months, and you have held me together through and through.

I look forward to all the growth ahead, and I am deeply excited for the opportunities which lie ahead!

If you are in (/around) New York, feel free to drop me an email: [email protected]. I might be open to making new friends.

All my love,


Connect with me on social media. Let’s stay in touch.

I did a QnA on my Instagram, and got slightly over 50 questions. Watch this video for a quick recap of my life over the past year.

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