28 September 2016

Faces of UNICEF: Yalalttsetseg Tumurbaatar, Operations Assistant, UNICEF Mongolia

Tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do?
I’m Yalalt. I work as an operations assistant in UNICEF Mongolia. I oversee all the payments and other finance and accounting related tasks in the office. I started working for UNICEF since March 2015. I majored in finance and accounting. Before joining UNICEF, I worked for PWC Audit Mongolia as an auditor. So I came to UNICEF from business sector to follow my passion to help others.

What’s your working day like?
My working day is usually a busy one. That’s why I do weekly and daily planning and make a list of priorities, what is important and what I need to finish for the day/week. Since financial tasks include regular activities and compliance to rules, it is important to be well organized and to prioritize so I can complete everything as I plan.  Because I believe that good planning leads to better outcomes.

How would you describe your job to a 5-year-old?
I work to help them have a better life and better future when they grow up.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to work in any job that enable me to travel because my dream was and still is to travel around the world.  I also wanted to be a doctor, but medical school takes a long time so I gave up. 

What are the most satisfying parts of your job?
When all the necessary payments are transferred to our implementing partners and other related tasks are completed on time, I’m happy and relieved. Because I know how important it is that the implementing partners have the funding and technical expertise in timely manner, so that the partners can perform their work effectively which, in return, helps to improve the lives of many children.  

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
There are times when payments are late because of various reasons e.g. the system. Even though we know that the payment is very urgent, we can’t do anything to speed up the process, since our payment processing is handled outside of the country.  Those are very challenging moments because I know these payment delays will also delay implementation in the field areas and service delivery for children in need. 

What’s your best UNICEF experience/memory?
Last year, we had a measles outbreak in the country and it was spreading rapidly. As UNICEF is the leading vaccine procurer in Mongolia, our operations team worked really hard to bring the vaccines on time and ensure the vaccines reach children on time to prevent further measles spread. After the vaccines were distributed, our colleagues were divided into teams to monitor the result of the immunization campaign. As an operations staff, we usually have a less chance to go into the field and see the implementation of our programmes and activities. However, this measles-emergency case was an opportunity to go to our programme field area. So I went to Dornod province with some colleagues to check how the vaccination was going there. During our visit, the vaccination coverage came out well, so we were very happy to see a good result of our work within that short period of time. That was the time when I was so proud of our colleagues for what they do for children’s wellbeing. Being a part of such a hardworking UNICEF team and making my contribution to future generation of Mongolia is a great honour for me.  

What are your passions? How do you spend your free time?
My passion is to help people who need it the most and that is also why I work for UNICEF because I feel that through my work I am helping the children in my country to have a better future. In my free time, I like watching movies, cooking, reading and also doing meditation.

Who do you look towards for inspiration? 
I look up to my mother who gives me constant support throughout my life. I also look up to my supervisor Natalie Au-Yeung. In one word, she is a very cool person. I am lucky to have a supervisor and friend who is very wise, understanding and encouraging.  

What is one thing about you that your colleagues don’t know?
I think my colleagues know me well enough so I don’t think there will be any surprises.   

What advice would you give others who are seeking a similar job as yours?
If they can, try to combine their passion with their work. When I was a child, every time I saw cars with UNICEF logo, I told myself, “That’s where I want to work. This is where the good hearted people work for our future generation’s wellbeing. And many years later, here I am. Now I believe dreams do come true.