UN World Food Programme

Championing Aviation Safety

The second annual LOG.LEO Awards ceremony took place on 31 March at the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.  Each year, the LOG LEO awards are given to people who are in the logistics/transport business.  This year, one of WFP's own took home one of the awards.

Five awards were given this year: 
1.    Young Achiever of the Year,   
2.    Supply Chain Manager of the Tear,
3.    Lifetime Achievement,
4.    Innovator of the Year, and
5.    Sustainability Champion of the Year.

A team of judges from the United Arab Emirates selected the winners from nearly 100 entries, examining the nominees’ performance and achievements on how they met the specific award criteria.

One of WFPs own,Samir Sajet, a WFP Aviation Safety Officer, was informed in February of his nomination for the Sustainability Champion Award, an award distributed to a logistic or supply chain professional who pushes for environmental responsibility and/or humanitarian compassion inside and outside his/her organisation.  He won!

Samir has lead WFP’s U.A.E. Regional Aviation Safety Office (RASO) since April 2006, and focuses much of his effort on ensuring best aviation practices are met in Asia and the Middle East. He is continuously involved in talks, conferences, safety committees and acts as an observer to the Gulf Aviation Safety Roadmap.  He has been promoting safety by any means possible.  Samir ’s efforts were already recognised when the Arabian Business magazine  listed him as one of the worlds most influential Arabs for 2008.  In Samir’s words "I constantly review and reflect on our work in this field, endeavouring to keep us moving forward to deliver safe and reliable air transport to our colleagues and to provide effective, fast and safe transportation of goods to the people in need.”WFP’s Middle Eastern RASO office has been very active in terms of organizing and hosting free training courses, free workshops and free conferences and seminars. Samir’s RASO became extremely well known in the region.  The work they do has generated a lot of interest and aviation professionals recognize the Aviation Safety Unit office in Sharjah as a very dynamic office when it comes to promoting safety.

The judges were ultimately impressed by his passion and commitment to raising awareness for safer skies. Commenting on his award, the judging panel said that "in the end the winner proved himself by his all-round capability to think beyond profit, to think for the future and to his impressive dedication to raising the awareness on aviation safety through talks and conferences.”

Samir’s first comment upon receiving the Champion Award was: “It is great that my compeers in the industry recognize my achievements and that they have given me the opportunity to champion the World Food Programme cause, but I shouldn’t have been alone on that stage, and the award is indeed a reflection of a very good team work, and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything without my team in Dubai and without the support of my colleagues in other WFP Aviation Safety offices: Rome, Jo-burg and Nairobi.” He then continued commenting on his achievement: “For me, it’s very equally split between being good in representing the World Food Programme in the region and being good for all our aviation fellows who are continuously looking to gaining more knowledge and having safer skies.”

Samir’s final remarks are a testimony of the selfless dedication of a true Humanitarian Champion, because Samir believes that one of the best things about winning this award is that it gives him yet another platform to talk about sustainability. “Air Traffic doesn’t get any lower, and we add more flights, more aircraft and more passengers to it every year. If we don’t ultimately start caring more, and focus on safety, let those who might have problems accessing training because of budget constrains, you can’t argue that it has a negative impact on our skies”

WFP Aviation Safety Unit’s (ASU) collective efforts have already won international praise. In November 2009, ASU Chief Cesar Arroyo received the President’s Citation Award from the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). The recognition of ASU’s hard work and outstanding efforts was then also covered by the WFP Logistics Information Team:  http://www.wfp.org/logistics/blog/wfps-aviation-safety-unit-receives-award-its-outstanding-achievements.

Thanks to Leila Tanem and the Aviation Safety Unit Teams for their contributions to this story.