Read about Nana Aichatou Abdou Bakah

Nana Aichatou Abdou Bakah
Information Systems Assistant
United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic


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

Growing up in Francophone West Africa, I developed a keen interest in computing. After completing high school, I opted to study ICT in an English-speaking country to gain access to skills that were not available in my home country, as well as to improve my language proficiency in an industry I viewed as predominantly English-dominated. It was during my studies, that I developed an interest in virtualization and pursuing this relatively new field at the time led me to networks of like-minded women technology enthusiasts who provided information on how to explore opportunities within the United Nations. Armed with this valuable information, I set my sights on pursuing a career in the ICT field at the United Nations, where technology had the most significant impact on business. I started my career as an ICT Assistant with the World Food Programme in Niger, moving on to be a Systems Administrator and presently a Cybersecurity Specialist within DPKO. In this position, I have the opportunity to contribute to the United Nations digital transformation journey while also utilizing my skills to make a difference in people’s lives.


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

As an ICT security and operational resilience specialist for MINUSCA, my responsibilities go beyond individual projects. I assess all the Field Technology Section projects for compliance with information security standards, conduct disaster recovery exercises, and perform cybersecurity audits. The goal is to build a resilient ICT infrastructure that allows both military and civilian peacekeepers to have communication during times of emergency, or in dangerous situations, and in the same process enhance the mission’s cybersecurity posture. What I find fulfilling about this role is collaborating with the different units of the Field Technology Section. This allows me to gain valuable insights into the mission's diverse ICT operations and also expose me to cutting-edge technologies that support situational awareness, potentially saving lives and contributing to achieving the mission's mandate. Through the application of IT governance and risk management practices, I increase the likelihood of the success of those projects.


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

Despite progress, the technology field remains heavily male-dominated. Biases and stereotypes persist. Even the UN is not immune to these. However, the future is promising for women in technology now more than ever. Believe in your abilities. Continuously learn and improve, connect with experienced women in the field. Be passionate about tech’s impact and strive to create change.