Read about Mithusa Kajendran

Mithusa Kajendran
Open-Source Adoption Consultant
Policy and Compliance Service, Policy, Strategy & Governance Division, Office of Information and Communications Technology


What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?

I pursued a career in technology at the United Nations to make a difference and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Technology is increasingly being used to solve the world’s problems from clean energy to world hunger, and I believe that the innovative solutions we are developing at the UN will play a major role in solving these problems. My first project with the UN involved addressing global sustainability needs through the development of ethical fashion standards. One of the key initiatives was the development of a blockchain protocol to track the production and usage of textiles from start to finish, verifying their use of sustainable methods. The tech departments within the UN place great value in considering the cultural and societal impacts of technology and that cannot be said about any other tech organizations in the world.


What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?

My favorite IT project at the UN was the #RebootTheEarth hackathon - Code for Climate Change: A global technology challenge. I can confidently say that it was an incredible project to work on. The hackathon took place in 5 different countries. This event brought together youth from many different backgrounds to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change, access to safe drinking water, and sustainable agriculture. While the technical aspects of the event were crucial to its success, it was equally important to manage the program effectively to ensure that everything ran smoothly. I played a crucial role in this regard, ensuring that we had the right stakeholders, communications methods and logistics in place to make the hackathon a success. Throughout the process I had the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and community members by discussing the impact technology had on their lives. I was proud to have worked on an initiative that showcased some of our brightest and most passionate, young minds. It gives me optimism for our future in a world where technology is being used to solve nearly every problem.


What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?

Being a coder is not the only way to have a career in tech. The development, integration and adoption of technology requires an understanding of the cultural and societal impact it can create. Your skills, lived experiences and knowledge can be a valuable resource to a tech team!