Role: East Africa SMART Coordinator with Action Against Hunger Canada
Number of Years with ACF: 5
1) For how long have you been working with Action Against Hunger?
I have worked for ACF since 2006 beginning in South Sudan as a nutritionist in the surveillance unit. I worked there for two years till August 2008 before leaving to other organization as well as taking some personal time. During which I would consult for ACF South Sudan in SMART trainings. I later rejoined ACF Kenya in February 2011 as the Survey and Surveillance manager, a position I held for two years before transitioning to become the Head of Nutrition Department for the mission in August 2013.
This position entailed overall accountability, direction and supervision of the entire nutrition program as well as close liaison with government point persons, donors and other stakeholders and partners.
I transitioned to the current position just this past October as East Africa SMART regional coordinator. I guess my work must have left some mark as I have been nominated twice for the Humanitarian AWARD in the past two years. Despite not winning the award, the recognition and overwhelming vote from my colleagues was very, very humbling.
2) What brought you to work in international development?
When I began in South Sudan it was first just to have some hands on experience on nutrition related activities but as I continued, more so in the first few rounds of assessment, it was so gratifying to see children getting the help they needed immediately or even few months after their initial assessment if necessary.
The surveys we undertook were used by various agencies to priorities interventions in various areas and when we went back to do the assessments, usually on annual basis, it was so nice to meet people you met before and tell you how the findings were useful and what has happened since.
This gave me the drive and love for information. At that point it was quite clear that information is power and if can be used to advocate to bring real change.
Of course in some places, not everyone appreciated the work they did and because the levels of malnutrition were did not require interventions or programs, those communities felt left out.
3) What do you like the most about your job?
The Information part of it – The fact that the information is accurate and reliable has lots of power. My work is more like an investigative series where figures are inserted into a program. It gives a value that means something. The analysis of the information with other sources sometimes reveals things that even the program itself did not know or didn’t expect. That is awesome – really awesome. Every time I would go and try to find out the ‘why’ and ‘how’ so the implications of the results can be addressed. These opportunities give me the information necessary for to add to project proposals and make a strong case.
Currently, I also work with various countries and having to learn across borders and seeing the diversity that comes with the various contexts is just amazing.