COVID-19 is the biggest challenge to humanitarian operations around the world. The lack of access and restrictions imposed by the pandemic resulted in communities, civil society, local NGOs and international organisations working together at the frontline of the response. On this year’s World Humanitarian Day, the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger Brazil would like to highlight the strength of humanitarians working on the field and those doing important jobs behind the scenes.
Soriano carries food rations to a family affected by COVID-19. Photo: WFP/Julio Alfaro
Carlos Soriano has over two decades of experience in logistics and humanitarian assistance and now manages a warehouse in the La Libertad Department in El Salvador. He comes from a large family and having meals together has always been a special moment. “It was there, at the family table, that I learned the importance of serving others — something I can now do with the World Food Programme”, he recalls. “One of my biggest professional achievements as a humanitarian was to be able to do my job during the coronavirus pandemic, in spite of the risks of getting infected”, says Carlos.
Mona oversees operations at Mopti, Mali. Photo: WFP / Virgo EDGAR NGARBAROUM.
“In aviation, precision is key!,” says Mona Diarra, an Air Movements Assistant in Mali. “Every single detail matters to offer the best service to our clients and through them to our fellow citizens who are in need of humanitarian assistance.” She has been working with the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) since 2013 and believes her work is contributing to dispel the perception in her country that aviation is a men’s only field. “It is my passion…This is also my contribution to the reconstruction of my country,” she adds.
In addition to those heroes working on the field, humanitarian assistance also relies on the work of thousands of professionals working at WFP offices across the globe making sure that our operations run smoothly. Here at the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger Brazil, we are proud to be part of this global effort to eradicate hunger through international cooperation.
Peter Rodrigues is the Deputy Director of the WFP Brazil Centre of Excellence and our most experienced staff in humanitarian assistance.
Peter Rodrigues is the deputy director of the WFP Brazil Centre of Excellence and our most experienced staff in humanitarian assistance. He has been in war zones, he has responded to natural disasters, and he has seen his share of suffering and pain, but also of hope and strength to start over. “I chose this life because I really believe the cause, I know we are saving lives”, he says.
You can read more about our heroes in our Employee of the Month series – here are a few highlights:
About the World Humanitarian Day
This is the eleventh World Humanitarian Day, designated by the UN General Assembly. It falls on the day of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, which claimed the lives of 22 people including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Since then, nearly 5,000 humanitarians have been killed, wounded or abducted, and the 2010-2019 decade experienced a 117 per cent increase in attacks compared to 2000-2009.