Working with Pride for UNHAS in South Sudan

In South Sudan, WFP operates its largest humanitarian air operation. Through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), around 8,000 aid workers are able to reach over 40 remote and isolated locations each month. UNHAS staff operate a fleet of 17 helicopters, and small and medium-sized aircraft to make this possible.

Persistent insecurity and tough living conditions make it a difficult place to work. Nicole is an Air Movement Officer with UNHAS in South Sudan, where she is reminded every day why she has this job. Here she explains what motivates her in this challenging environment.

What I like about working with UNHAS South Sudan is seeing the number of humanitarians flying every day to remote and isolated locations. It gives me a sense of pride to know we are supporting life-saving aid. I feel so happy I am in a position to contribute to that. UNHAS South Sudan is a demanding and challenging operation; you are busy 24/7 and simply don’t see the time passing! As a woman working in the deep field, it has been a great learning experience that totally took me out of my comfort zone.

The most challenging part of my job is to deliver quality service to our users in a very difficult environment. For example, in my duty station of Rumbek, we use a tree as our ‘pre-boarding gate’ when we have lots of flights at the same time; we call it ‘the magic tree.’

The most enjoyable part of my job is the satisfaction of our passengers in reaching their destinations. When I see humanitarians from different cultures and backgrounds, carrying their tents and what little they have, to some of the most difficult locations on earth while still smiling at you, it is a source of daily inspiration that makes me believe even more why we’re doing the work we do. Their dedication to save lives is admirable, and it motivates me to do more.