She joined WFP three years ago and she grew a brilliant career in Supply Chain, supporting port operations and shipping services.
Contributing to the Government’s efforts to achieve SDG 2, Zero Hunger in Djibouti, in 2021 WFP reached 126,000 beneficiaries till November through unconditional resource transfers and distributed 2,700 mt of food and USD 4.5 million through cash-based transfers. In the framework of its supply chain services, WFP moved 7.5 thousand MT of goods through the Djibouti – Ethiopia corridor, most of which supported humanitarian operations in Eastern Africa.
What was your journey at the World Food Programme?
I’ve always known that I wanted to become a humanitarian worker, since I was young. One of my older sisters works towards the integration of refugees into Djibouti social protection systems and she inspired me to get a job within the United Nations, contributing to help people in need in my country.
After completing a Master’s degree in Logistics and International Trade in Morocco in 2015, I got the opportunity to gain expertise in custom service and export in DHL and MSC shipping line. Then in 2018 I got the chance to join the Supply Chain team at the World Food Programme and I didn’t hesitate for a moment: I knew that it was the right decision. I’ve been working for three years with WFP now, initially at the Humanitarian Logistics Base (HLB) and now at the Port of Djibouti, and every day is as inspiring as ever: sometimes it’s hard – we have long shifts and it often happens to come back home late at night – but I take every challenge as step forward to help saving lives, changing lives.
Can you tell us more about your daily work?
Despite being a small country, Djibouti is strategically placed in the Horn of Africa: it offers access to Ethiopia and South Sudan via road, and Yemen and Somalia via sea, all within a short timeframe. This means that WFP must be ready to facilitate the transport of commodities every day: my role consists in coordinating the vessels’ arrival by making sure that they receive the necessary clearances to reach the berth, preparing the loading instructions and informing the superintendents in charge of monitoring food quality when food items are discharged at the port. I also coordinate with our local contractors to ensure the timely transport of the commodities to the neighboring countries.
What are the key skills to thrive in coordinating WFP port operations?
In one word? Communications. You must be able to share the information with all the stakeholders at the right time, being punctual and precise. I have the chance to work with a close-knit team of dynamic colleagues and that’s what makes us able to handle large volumes of WFP cargo destined for humanitarian support. Being able to work under pressure it’s also essential: we start every day at 7.30 AM and sometimes we don’t see our beds before midnight!
What inspires you the most about your job?
I can tell you, in my role I can see the positive impact of WFP’s work and it’s the most rewarding feeling ever. Every time that a cargo reaches its destination and our beneficiaries in Djibouti and abroad get to eat the food that we transported, I feel rewarded, and all the tiredness wears off. It’s an interesting, motivating and engaging ride.
Which advice would you give to young women willing to become humanitarians?
I would say: be brave and shoot for the moon! I was able to make the difference in a country where sometimes it’s difficult to enter the job market as a woman. I never let the circumstances discourage me and now I am part of a wonderful team where I am valued and respected as any colleague. I wish that one day I will see WFP achieving gender balance across all its operations.
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