Category: Aid Work

How I became an international aid worker: Ben Webster

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Red Cross workers rescuing people from Philippines flood

Red Cross rescue team evacuates villagers to safety after Typhoon Bopha
© Philippines Red Cross

Ben Webster explains how he got his role as disaster response programme manager at the British Red Cross:

1. What does your job involve?

I work in the disaster response team and we are responsible for monitoring all of the disasters going on around the world. We provide analysis on what the humanitarian needs are (as well as the resources available to respond within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement) and then make recommendations as to if and how the British Red Cross can best support the situation on the ground. There are so many disasters happening around the world, it is tempting to try and support all of them in one way or another. However, we have to recognise that with limited resources, we need to make them count – which is why our team provides analysis to try and work out where the British Red Cross can really ‘add value’ to the humanitarian response and ensure our resources are used for maximum effect. More

How I became an international aid worker: Helois Ellien

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Helois in Cameroon

Helois Ellien works in Paris for the French Red Cross managing its emergency response unit (ERU). He answers five questions about life as an aid worker.

1. What does your job involve?

We are a general emergency desk, capable of working with different Red Cross partners and responding to complex disasters and ongoing crises that may not make the news. This involves using specific logistics expertise to support emergency relief operations, as well as transferring our skills to partners in the field. We have also started to work on environmental issues; logistics efficiency, green activities, environmental impact assessments etc.

Before joining the ERU desk in Paris, I had not worked with volunteers at a national level and I started to organise and manage the teams with my previous non-governmental organisation (NGO) experience and the idea of professionalising the rosters quickly to be more effective and enhance the French Red Cross’ ability to respond to disasters. This has been my main motivation; taking up the challenge of leading the change. I hope it will work. The following months are going to be crucial. More

How I became an international aid worker: Charlie Dawson

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Charlie Dawson with a girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Charlie Dawson with a girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Charlie Dawson is a British Red Cross delegate on loan to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She has been working as a protection delegate for the ICRC since 2009. The ICRC works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war. More

How I became an international aid worker: Fiona Davidson

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Fiona Davidson outside her office

Fiona Davidson outside her office

Fiona Davidson, regional programme operations manager for Cord, an international peacebuilding organisation in Asia, gives the low-down on her job and top tips for breaking into the development and humanitarian aid sector.

1. What does your job involve?

My current role with Cord is to provide operational and programmatic oversight to the country offices, and to support the country directors to effectively manage their programmes. These involve a range of activities that help build peace by addressing the social, economic and political factors that fuel violent conflict. Some of the issues our programmes deal with are livelihoods, education, human rights and gender equality. I am based in the regional office in Phnom Penh but get to travel with my role to other countries in Asia. More

How I became an international aid worker: Sarah Oughton

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A regular question the British Red Cross gets asked on social media is about how to get into international aid work, so… welcome to my new monthly blog post where I’ll be interviewing our international delegates about how they got their job. This month, I’m road testing the format myself – let me know what you think and if you have any other questions you’d like answered in future posts.

Sarah taking photo of family in South Africa

© Ziv Koren/BRC

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