LAC Regional Bureau's Humanitarian Hero

Panamanian national, Leica Cousins, has been working in the humanitarian sector for more than 10 years, the majority of which have been with WFP at the Regional Bureau in Panama City, Panama.

Name:   Leica Cousins
Organisation:   WFP
Location:   Panama
Position:   Senior Staff Assistant
What does Humanitarianism mean to you in one word?   Care

Lecia Counsins and fellow WFP staff

1) Why did you become a humanitarian worker or volunteer? 

Because I have a strong inclination in doing social work. I started working for WFP in 2003 and I have always believed that I made the right decision because I feel that I’m in the right place. While working for the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Bureau, I am aware that every action or activity I perform has a positive impact on people’s lives.  I have worked in various positions within the Regional Bureau, such as Senior Staff Assistant for the Programme Unit, as a Programme Assistant and currently as Senior Staff Assistant to the Regional Director.

2) What's the most rewarding part of your work?

When I see at the end of my working day that I have accomplished satisfactorily my duties, especially when they are related to making other people’s lives better.

3) What are some of the more challenging aspects of your work?

When I have to prioritize and everything is important and I know that it can affect the quality of life of the most vulnerable people.

4) Tell us a little bit about the work you do? 

Although I do not work in the field; from the post I perform I have to speed up documents, facilitate communications, coordinate important meetings, teleconferences, organize missions making sure the Regional Director has the necessary documents, follow up his calendar and support him to accomplish on time his busy agenda. Provide technical support to Country Director’s assistants regarding operational matters related to administrative and organizational structures.  Handle confidential and sensitive information.  Provide administrative and logistics support to events.  Function as a liaison with internal and external contacts at all levels.  I am currently a Peer Support Volunteer and a Respectful Workplace Advisor.

5) What is the most memorable moment you’ve experienced during your work?  

When I was given the opportunity to be part of the support team that rushed to Haiti following the devastating Earthquake in January 2010.  WFP responded immediately giving assistance to the most affected people, at the right time!  I have no words to describe how proud I was of our involvement in this emergency situation and the solidarity WFP staff showed to the people of Haiti.  I thank God for giving me this experience of a lifetime.