​Communicating the opportunities for training and development to our employees.


Juliana Severe, Communications Associate for Learning and Development


1.       Can you briefly tell us about yourself? 

When I began my bachelor’s degree in journalism, I wanted to use audiovisual and print media to raise awareness about ongoing conflicts and the hardships faced by vulnerable people. Throughout my studies and research projects, I have felt compelled to use my skills as a journalist for something other than just publishing – and I decided to focus on the role of communication structures in conflict situations. I then worked for three years in a communications role for an international NGO based in Uganda, before moving to Germany to complete a master’s degree in intercultural conflict management. This enabled me to further my formal education in social conflicts in transnational and intercultural contexts, which meant I could better align my professional and personal interests.

2.       Let’s go back to the beginning – when did you join the ICRC? Which team did you join? Can you tell us about its overall function and impact at the ICRC?

I joined the ICRC’s learning and development division in August 2019. The division designs and delivers online and face-to-face training for ICRC staff. It also works with different departments and partnerships with schools and universities to develop training courses and learning resources. Of course I am biased, but I think the division plays an essential role in the ICRC’s operations. From inducting new staff to creating professional development programmes, the division takes the ICRC’s HR requirements into account and adapts learning methodologies to staff members’ working environments.

3.       Why did you want to join an organization like the ICRC?

As a Swiss-Ugandan national, I was curious to find out how the ICRC operated and its authority for doing so. It was one of the few organizations helping people in my home region of northern Uganda at a time when most were unable to even gain access. For nine years, the ICRC came up over and over again in both my work and my education. After completing my master’s degree, I wanted to work again, but for an organization that operated independently in conflict zones and one I could feel proud of working for.

4.       As an associate, can you describe the scope of your responsibilities? What projects did you work on?

As a communications associate for learning and development, my focus was on promoting our internal learning programmes and services, helping the managers with their programme messages and providing administrative support.


"It was a new role within the division and I took on responsibility for reviewing its communications, such as the division’s web pages, e-learning platform and references to it elsewhere in the organization."


I worked closely with the head of division and programme managers to prioritize and strengthen the division’s internal communications messages. I also handled projects, such as restructuring the division’s intranet pages, reviewing learning resources, working on the division’s newsletter and supporting the process to translate the ICRC’s management programme into other languages. The division has regional units in Bangkok, Amman, Nairobi, Dakar and Bogotá, so I worked with our global team to identify experts for the staff integration programme. I also curated content related to their regional activities.

5.       Could you share with us a memory from your experience as an associate? (something fun, warm, a moment that you will cherish)

I have been very fortunate to have a manager who took the time to get know me and mentored me in an insightful way. He invited me to share my ideas and gave me opportunities to join meetings and projects he thought I would benefit from. He probably is not aware exactly how much he helped increase my confidence and motivation, but I am incredibly grateful to have been managed by such a genuine person.

6.       What about the future – what are your plans?

I have been investing more of my personal – and not just professional – time in learning about the environmental and cultural shifts arising from current conflicts. I would like to move towards working in strategic planning and implementation to ensure that operations are designed to be more inclusive of affected people and that livelihoods initiatives become more sustainable.

7.       Do you have any advice for future associates?

Take the opportunity to learn from your colleagues.


"You will probably work with people who have been at the ICRC for longer than you have been alive, and others who are new to the organization like you – and everyone has a lot to offer."


There are also lots of resources at your disposal, such as free e-learning modules to help you build your skills in areas of interest or expertise, and webinars and events to help you learn more about operational activities. Plus, there are groups of staff who organize meetings to discuss gender and diversity in the workplace, the importance of mental and physical health, and much more.