United Nations Human Settlements Programme

What kind of work do you do now?

I am currently working for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Somalia Programme. I have been working for UN-Habitat within the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery, which is a 5-agency local governance and decentralization programme being implemented by UNDP, ILO, UNICEF, UNCDF, and UN-Habitat, in cooperation with local, state and federal governments of Somalia. We are supporting Somali government in three governance tiers (local, state and federal) in capacity development and designing policy, law, regulations for decentralized service delivery for basic services including education, health, water, natural resources, road, waste, local economic development, municipal finance and planning. The programme is one of the largest and the longest (since 2008) running capacity building programme in Somalia and UN-Habitat’s portfolio includes land governance particularly land dispute mechanism, participatory urban planning, solid and bio medical waste management, local governance and capacity building, and municipal finance management. I joined the programme in October 2011, and was in charge of managing UN-Habitat`s portfolio from April 2014 to August 2016. I am currently providing strategic support and guidance for the programme implementation and management including overseeing implementation of waste management component.

What did you learn in Urban Engineering?

I have learned a lot. I think in the Department of Urban Engineering (DUE), at Housing and Urban Analysis Lab. that was led by Prof. Okabe, Prof. Asami and Prof Sadahiro, was one of the best learning venues I have ever been. Particularly the lab’s weekly meeting to allow graduate students to present progress on their researches, discussion, and contribution from students as well as from the professors and senior researchers, were invaluable to my learning and knowledge. This modality was sort of eye opening for me as it allowed to have several valuable inputs to my research and also exposed me to several cutting edge researches conducted by others in the lab. I believe I learn a lot from this exchange in the lab in addition to courses that I took from DUE.

My research was focused to analyze foreigner’s cognitive map of Tokyo to find out how people (foreigners) perceive Tokyo’s urban structure to navigate throughout the city. The objective was to use the analysis as an explanatory tool to discover if the findings can be used to develop an easy-to-follow map for foreigners and unfamiliar residents.

Message to students who wish to enter Urban Engineering.

I think you should expect that this is a great opportunity to be exposed to wide range of cutting edge researches, topnotch professors to learn from, and importantly amazing city, people and culture to live with. Please learn Japanese as much as you can to open more doors and hearts, and always speak slowly and clearly in English with your peers.