The other day I got an invite from the United Nations Office in Nairobi for a tour of the UN. Truthfully, I was quite surprised and curious.
I mean, the Nairobi office is one of the four Headquarters of the UN. Global decisions have been made behind the heavily guided walls in presence of high profile dignitaries and heads of state. Was it even legal to walk into the gates of UNON for a tour as a common ‘mwananchi’? I had many questions than answers.Was it even legal to walk into the gates of UNON just for a tour as a common ‘mwananchi?' I had many questions than answers. Click To Tweet
The more I thought about it, the more curious I was to find out more about the UN tour. So naturally before heading out, I consulted Prof Google just to see if it was a UN thing, or maybe the Nairobi Office was the first to open its gates to interested parties.
Apparently, the UN tours wasn’t a new concept and has been happening since January 2012 in the UNON (United Nations Office in Nairobi) and much earlier at the main headquarters in New York and the other two regional headquarter in Geneva; Switzerland and Vienna; Austria.The UN tours wasn’t a new concept and has been happening in Kenya since January 2012 at the UNON (United Nations Office in Nairobi) Click To Tweet
Until my tour of the UNON, I didn’t know it was amongst the top thing to do in Nairobi for most travelers and tourists visiting Kenya, until I read some reviews on TripAdvisor.
How to book for the UN tour.Write an email to email@example.com, stating that you would like to have the tour. Or visit www.visitors.unon.org and submit a request. Click To Tweet
The charges are Ksh.500.00 for Kenyan adults, Ksh.400 for Kenyan students above 18 years and ksh.300 for Kenyan students below 18 years. See the table below for more details on charges for residents, non-residents and special tour rates.
Upon a successful submission, you details will be sent to the security desk at the main gate to facilitate your access into the compound.The charges for a Tour of the UNON are Ksh.500.00 for Kenyan adults, Ksh.400 for Kenyan students above 18 years and ksh.300 for Kenyan students below 18 years. See the table below for more details on charges for residents,… Click To Tweet
As expected, security is tight and without official identification, access into the premise is an obvious no. If you are driving, you’ll want to get there much earlier because the visitors parking is on first come first served basis.
What to expect on the day of the tour.
- Clearance with the security.
Upon a successful clearance at the main entrance, you will be directed to a waiting area where your guide for the tour will come to receive and issue you with a visitor’s tag labelled UN tour. You are expected to be guided at all times around the compound during the tour.
- Walk of fame through the colourful flags.
From the clearance office, there is what I would like to call a walk between the 193 member states of the UN. The pedestrian walk way had all the flags of the member states hoisted in an alphabetical order. It is difficult to miss the Kenyan flag.
- A brief at the Visitor’s office.
You’ll then be taken to the visitor’s office for brief and a few house rules will be communicated. Walkie talkies and earphones will also be given for ease of communication.
The trip will start at the iconic KaribUNi sign, which basically welcomes anyone and everyone who is keen to understand what the UN does and learn more about UNON( promote international peace and sustainable development.)
- Some valuable information about the UN, UNON and Kenya as a member state you’ll learn during the trip…
- Kenya is one of the member states of the UN together with 192 other countries.
- It was admitted to the UN in December 1963.
- The symbol in the emblem of the United Nations has an olive branch to symbolize peace and the world map is a symbol of the area and universality with which the United Nations is concerned in achieving its main purpose.
- The official languages of the UN are Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish while English and French are the working Languages.
- The UN is headed by a Secretary General who is appointed by the General Assembly.The current Sec-Gen of the UN is António Guterres
- In Nairobi the UNON is headed by a Director General.Sahle-Work Zewde who is the 4th and current President of Ethiopia, was the immediate former DG at UNON. She has been succeeded by Hanna S. Tetteh of Ghana.
- The headquarters for the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and United National Human Settlements Program(UN Habitat) is domiciled at the Nairobi Office.
- It also houses the regional offices of twenty four other UN agencies and programs.
- It has about 2000 staff members.
- The HQ Sits on a 140 acre parcel of land donated by the first President of Kenya; Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the second one Daniel Arap Moi.
- The main objective of the UN tour is to let its visitors know UN’s history, its structure and work.
Things not to Miss during the tour.
The building for the future;
This is a innovative and sustainable green office facility that will house the UNEP and UN-Habitat Head Quarters. The four buildings, linked by airy walkways, flooded with natural light, can accommodate 1,200 staff. It has 6000 meter square of solar panels, energy saving lighting, natural ventilation systems and other green features. has the building designed to generate as much electricity for its 1200 occupants.
The memorial Garden
Has a memorial garden in commemoration of the victims of the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Currently, organic tea and coffee is grown in the gardens and are processed for sale at the UN Gift Shop.
The green UN compound
The environmentally-friendly compound with a variety of indigenous trees, plants species and a sizeable population of wildlife.
Learn about the various arts and gifts to the UNON by its member states and their significance towards environmental conservation.
Check out the state of the art conference rooms and facilities under which global agreements have been signed and international events held.
For more Enquiries, contact them on:
United Nations Visitors’ Service
United Nations Office at Nairobi
United Nations Information Centre
P.O. Box 67578 (00200) Nairobi, Kenya
Review us on tripadvisor: UN Offices at Nairobi-Gigiri (UNON)
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