In a disaster, it’s easy to forget that the effectiveness of the emergency response relies heavily on the support of people like Marianne working in the background. One element that is crucial to Oxfam’s work is its Supply Centre, which holds around £1.6
Behind The Scenes
wanted to know more about that, so I applied for a job in Chad. I was recruited through Oxfam Intermòn, who were there with Oxfam GB. First I worked in the east for more than a year and then I moved to Oxfam GB. I was stationed in the capital N’Djamena and then in other areas. After that I became a member of the humanitarian pool for Oxfam GB.
“This job means that whenever there is a need for a humanitarian programme support – if there is a natural disaster or a man-made disaster – they would phone up and say, ‘Look, can you go down there for three months or six months?’ and I go. So since 2012 I have been in the emergency response team.
"My first deployment was to Yemen. Security measures were high there, but I am never afraid. I don’t do silly things: I respect the rules and I sense what is surrounding me.
“After Yemen I went to Jordan with Oxfam to work in the refugee camps for the Syrian refugees. I am a human resources professional so I am in a support section. Sometimes I wish I was in the programme, because I could work directly with the beneficiaries, but you really need to be a technical expert to be able to do that.
“The support sections are the oil that makes the machine run smoothly; the organisation cannot deliver its programme without support sections like HR, Logistics and Finance, so it is very important, but it is indirect.”
Marianne reflected on her life since she left her job in the Netherlands and agreed that her views on life have changed.
“One thing that I have realised is that all humans are the same, so you just have to help each other. If a mother loses her child the pain is the same wherever it is in the world. And another thing I have come to appreciate is all these different cultures. When I go to a country I work with the national people and I can learn so much from them – the way they face problems in life and the way they live and work together.
“There are also many colleagues from other countries and it is such a diverse multi-cultural, multinational group of people all working together with the same mission – to help other people so that they can have a minimum of a dignified human life.”
Ultimately, she said, “I wish more people would realise that it is enriching, really enriching, if you are open to other cultures, other ways of living and looking at things. It makes life more full, really.”
To find out about leaving a gift in your will to Oxfam, go to www.oxfam.org.uk/legacy.