Copenhagen: It's not just about supplies

July 20, 2008

By

edevelasco

copenhagen1.jpg
© Elizabeth de Velasco, 2008

U.S. Fund for UNICEF staff member Elizabeth de Velasco recently traveled to UNICEF's main supply division warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, and filed this report.

Sure, there's a warehouse the size of three football fields. But more than that, the UNICEF staff at the supply division in Copenhagen have an expertise in the procurement, shipment and use of international development supplies.

copenhagen2.jpg
© Elizabeth de Velasco, 2008

For example, the government of Sudan requested that UNICEF manage the supplies needed for its census. UNICEF dispatched Omar, a warehouse employee. He spent five weeks there making sure that there were enough pencils, paper, boxes and trucks for the census to function throughout Sudan"which is roughly the size of western Europe, but insecure and with weak infrastructure.

Another warehouse staff member, John, develops innovative ways to pack and distribute supplies in conflict and post-conflict situations. In a Back-to-School campaign in Afghanistan a few years ago, John figured out how to get the education supplies to all of the new schoolchildren from an Aghanistan supply center. But women and men could not work side-by-side, so John just rigged up a bedsheet to partition the room, and work was able to commence.

copenhagen3.jpg
© Elizabeth de Velasco, 2008

While the Copenhagen warehouse stores less than ten percent of UNICEF's supplies"the rest get shipped directly from producers to the UNICEF country offices"it does have the items that are most essential to have on hand for emergencies: buckets, blankets, protein biscuits, School-in-a-Box kits, recreation kits, health kits and more. And then UNICEF gets them anywhere in the world in fewer than 48 hours.

copenhagen1.jpg
© Elizabeth de Velasco, 2008

U.S. Fund for UNICEF staff member Elizabeth de Velasco recently traveled to UNICEF's main supply division warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, and filed this report.

Sure, there's a warehouse the size of three football fields. But more than that, the UNICEF staff at the supply division in Copenhagen have an expertise in the procurement, shipment and use of international development supplies.

copenhagen2.jpg
© Elizabeth de Velasco, 2008

For example, the government of Sudan requested that UNICEF manage the supplies needed for its census. UNICEF dispatched Omar, a warehouse employee. He spent five weeks there making sure that there were enough pencils, paper, boxes and trucks for the census to function throughout Sudan"which is roughly the size of western Europe, but insecure and with weak infrastructure.

Another warehouse staff member, John, develops innovative ways to pack and distribute supplies in conflict and post-conflict situations. In a Back-to-School campaign in Afghanistan a few years ago, John figured out how to get the education supplies to all of the new schoolchildren from an Aghanistan supply center. But women and men could not work side-by-side, so John just rigged up a bedsheet to partition the room, and work was able to commence.

copenhagen3.jpg
© Elizabeth de Velasco, 2008

While the Copenhagen warehouse stores less than ten percent of UNICEF's supplies"the rest get shipped directly from producers to the UNICEF country offices"it does have the items that are most essential to have on hand for emergencies: buckets, blankets, protein biscuits, School-in-a-Box kits, recreation kits, health kits and more. And then UNICEF gets them anywhere in the world in fewer than 48 hours.