How Food Inspired Me To Become An Aid Worker (Staff Interview)

When Maran Narma was younger, she and her family fled their home in rural Liberia to escape the violence engulfing the country. While displaced from her home, she received food assistance from WFP. The experience spurred her to join WFP later in life as a programme officer. Maran tells us about her life at both ends of WFP's work.

1) What is your job?  
As a National Programme Officer, I work with programmes that help people get enough of the correct kinds of food at all times. I am currently working on school feeding projects, ensuring that children receive enough food and proper nourishment.  I also supervise a Community Grain Reserve Project, educating mothers on how to sustain larger farms for the production of reserve food.   

World Humanitarian Day

WFP staff talking to a group of men and women in front of a bombarded building in Syria

Every day, humanitarian workers around the world make sacrifices and face danger in order to reach people who need their help. On August 19, we recognize their commitment and dedication.

2) What is the hardest thing about your job?
The hardest thing is feeling powerless when it comes to helping children in the greatest need. Food assistance can sometimes be delayed due to poor road infrastructure, despite WFP’s best efforts.  

3) What did you do before joining WFP?
Before Joining WFP, I worked as an agronomist. My main responsibility was identifying the best tree crops for farmers and teaching them how to grow them.

4) How did you find your way into WFP?
During the war years in Liberia, my family received food support from WFP as Internally Displaced Persons and again when we fled as refugees. While in Monrovia, having fled my home, I saw an ad from WFP for the post of Food Aid Monitor. I interviewed and was accepted for the position in 1999.

5) What’s your most moving experience with WFP?
In 2001 I was monitoring food distribution in a refugee camp, when my colleagues and I were suddenly surrounded by rebel fighters. UN Security did all it could to get us out of there, but it took a while before we got to a safe area. I found out later that our colleagues back in the office refused to go home that day until they heard we were okay. When word reached them that we were safe, we could hear cheering and shouting from all of our colleagues. It made me realize that I was truly working among humanitarians.

6) What’s your most frightening experience?
Being surrounded by rebels as stated above was very frightening. We had heard about many atrocities committed by them.

7) What is a humanitarian?  
 A humanitarian is someone who from his or her own heart cares about other human beings. Humanitarians show that they care by what they do for people, regardless of their race, religion, gender, ethnic background or social standing.

8) Are you one?
Yes I am.