Celebrating Our Humanitarians Across the Globe

On August 19th, the world celebrates its humanitarians across the globe. A humanitarian can come in many forms, but in simple terms they all have one thing in common: they strive to help people, whoever and wherever they are. Here we meet three staff members who are working in WFP's air, land, and sea operations, and hear what they are doing to assist those in need. 

mahamud abuyu with school children

Mahamud Mabuyu, National Logistics Officer -- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What kind of work do you do for WFP?

I manage logistics operations at the Country Office level, linking Dar es Salaam port and landside logistics operations in moving food to WFP projects in Tanzania, as well as to the landlocked countries of DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
What do you love the most about your job?
In Logistics we encounter many daily challenges, and I enjoy solving these, but most importantly, I take pride in knowing that I am helping WFP to deliver food to those in need.
What’s your most memorable experience working with WFP?
The most memorable time was in 2008, when I had to take over and improve the management of WFP’s Dar es Salaam port operations. It was during the DRC crisis and I had to coordinate the mobilization of trucks to meet urgent requirements. Most transporters refused to move their trucks due to the insecurity, but our team in Tanzania worked hard and were able to move the food in the time it was needed in DRC.
Throughout that period we were constantly doing multiple operations in the port: handling vessel discharges, unloading shipping containers, and stacking cargo in the warehouse. We loaded trucks and railway wagons, and trans-shipped cargo into vessels shuttling into Somalia, all at once. To do this, I remember often working long hours.The memory always comes back when I see some of the procedures we established back then, still being used in the port today.
Is there any particular experience that has made an impact on you?
In February 2009 I visited a WFP School Meals project in the Ngorongoro District. This district is largely habited by the Maasai community, who live close to one of the largest game parks in the world. Seeing the number of Maasai children attending schools, compared to some years back, was overwhelming. Talking with teachers and students confirmed that WFP’s school meals heavily convinced children to attend classes, and performance has been improving every year.  Because students in many parts of Maasailand have to walk long distances every day to attend school, many do not have access to food at home during day breaks. The experience reaffirmed that what I do makes an impact to the true needs of communities and make me very proud. 
Yassir Adam Ahmed, WFP Driver -- El Geneina, Sudanyassir adam ahmed with wfp truck
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What kind of work do you do for WFP?
I have been working with WFP as a driver in El Geneina, Sudan since 2006, where I am responsible for delivering WFP food to IDPs, throughout West Darfur in particular, but also all over Sudan. Driving is always hard. Sometimes we are driving for long distances, in very bad road conditions - especially during the rainy season. It is also difficult being away from my family, sometimes for more than two weeks at a time.
What do you love most about your job? 
I like contributing to, and helping people in need, especially in my community. 
What is the most frightening experience you have had while driving for WFP? 
The most frightening experience was when I was abducted in January 2012 by hi-jackers. I lost hope that I would survive, but thankfully, my colleagues and I were rescued. I am so grateful for the efforts of WFP, UNAMID DPKO, and UNHAS in being actively involved in our release. 
What is the most memorable experience you have had while working as a driver with WFP? 
My most memorable experiences are when I am tasked to lead the WFP truck convoy into the deep field. This is a useful experience in my life that I have not found anywhere else.

samson mwangi with south sudan skyline in the background

Samson Mwangi, Chief, UNHAS South Sudan -- Juba, South Sudan
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What kind of work do you do for WFP?
I am currently Chief of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in The Republic of South Sudan.  I took up this post in December 2011, after having spent over six months in Libya to oversee the UNHAS operation that was set up to  facilitate the movement of relief workers into and around Libya. 
My job is more of a coordinator and team leader. In South Sudan, the UNHAS team provides safe, efficient and reliable air transport to over 60 locations in the country where surface transport is either impossible, time consuming and/or insecure to 208 humanitarian actors. We provide a gateway for the humanitarian community to reach vulnerable populations, and those most in need.  We also facilitate diplomatic and donor missions.
What do you love most about your job?
Supporting and being a key player in facilitating humanitarian access to the needy, less fortunate and vulnerable communities.
Is there any particular experience that has made an impact on you?
In the field of Aviation – in particular given the fact that UNHAS operates in some of the world’s most remote and insecure places – we are faced with many different challenges and surprises on a daily basis! One can only say it's a good day when all flights are safely back to base. This not only pushed my team and I to expect the unexpected, but it’s also a constant reminder of why we do what we do. One day, I hope I will have the time to write a book to share my experiences while working for WFP - starting from Somalia in 1992, to the 2006 tsunami in South-East Asia to the Libya crisis and South Sudan, among others.  All in all, I am happy, and proud to be a part of the UNHAS family.
*To find out more about this year's World Humanitarian Day, and why it was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2003, please click here.
*Interested in meeting four other WFP staffers? Check out this Humanitarian Day feature here.