Caroline Njuki , 37

Chief Technical Adviser

International Labour Organisation
My Story,

Adding dignity to labour

When she was hired by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to serve as the chief technical adviser on jobs and education, Caroline remembered a report that had cited lack of welders in Kenya when Tullow started prospecting for oil.

She felt challenged to do something about bridging this gap in the labour market, and pushed for training of 70 locals in Turkana and Garissa counties to meet the need for welders.

Today, Caroline leads ILO’s work in education, skills development and inclusive jobs which require communities hosting refugees to work side by side with forcibly displaced persons. But, for her, it is important that they do those in an atmosphere that guarantees their dignity, self-sustenance and ultimately the realisation of durable solutions.

Having worked around the globe, she was happy when ILO sent her to Kenya as a team leader. She felt the job gave her a chance to prepare young Kenyans who were being displaced by technology to find ways of adapting to the changing job market.

"When I joined Igad, there had never been research on migration and population displacement..."

“I agreed to come back because I felt I was just one extra employee. Europe has human resources and it does not need me. That when I step out, there wouldn’t be such a gap because there are many excellent people. But Kenya needs manpower, we need people who have worked out (of the country) to bring that different experience back home,” she says.

Before joining ILO, Caroline worked in Somalia for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), starting off as a programmes manager.

Her first posting involved developing borders for the fragile State before she moved to manage Eastern Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region in 2011. Here, she worked with electoral bodies across Africa, trying to set standards for elections.

She also worked as an election observer in different countries.

She soon landed a promotion as the regional project coordinator for Igad as she rose the ranks to senior regional migration coordinator.

Two years before she left Igad, she was appointed to the regional secretariat on forced displacement and mixed migration.

“When I joined Igad, there had never been research on migration and population displacement. I also helped create a coordinated effort among Igad countries to share labour attaches,” she says.

Before taking up her current role, Caroline, who studied for a Master’s of Arts degree in Conflict Management in Germany, also worked at Oxfam.

–Guguyu Otiato