Navigating Nature

Published: Jul 8, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Navigating Nature
© Photo: Martina Chalová

How do we ensure aid delivery to the most remote villages in Ethiopia? We rely on our logistics department and drivers to safely get us there. It often takes hours or even days to reach the villages that need help the most.

The rural areas of Ethiopia present a myriad of obstacles, from muddy paths during the rainy season to dusty, uneven roads in the dry months. Despite these hurdles, our drivers maintain an impressive safety and reliability record. Their ability to adapt to varying road conditions is a testament to their exceptional driving prowess.

We work in several project sites and sub-offices in the Oromia region and southern parts of Ethiopia. Project staff and other support departments frequently travel to remote field locations to deliver aid and services. Our drivers are critical in achieving project goals by ensuring employees' safety and delivering aid on time, even with challenging weather and road conditions.  The drivers' contributions don't stop there. Their collaboration with other employees remains exemplary. They work seamlessly with field staff, logisticians, and coordinators to ensure that every journey is well-planned and executed.

"I used to struggle to navigate slippery slopes and often relied on community support to get out of the mud. However, after receiving defensive and offensive driving training, we can now assess the density of the mud and face challenges that we couldn't before," said Amerch Tesfaye, who has been a driver at PIN for six years.

Moreover, they usually support the project staff by giving them a hand during the aid distribution. This teamwork has been a milestone in our mission's success, fostering mutual respect and cooperation.

Evaluating the skills of our drivers reveals a group of individuals who are proficient and excel in their roles. We provided regular technical training and workshops to update them on the driving techniques and vehicle maintenance practices. Our training focuses on defensive and evasive driving, first aid, firefighting, road safety, and what to do in case of road accidents. 

Drivers are also adopting smart driving habits that help reduce emissions and save on fuel, which saves money and the environment. These training sessions and hands-on experience prepare them to handle any situation on the road.

"I have noticed so many improvements in minimising cost, tyre usage, and driver consideration of the road type. When comparing our drivers with those from other institutions, ours regularly defeat slippery and hilly roads," explains Kindeneh Melesse, PIN fleet manager.

Most importantly, our drivers are acutely aware of their environmental impact. We train them in eco-friendly driving practices to minimise emissions, such as reducing idling time and maintaining optimal vehicle performance. Their commitment to the environment reflects our organisation's values and dedication to sustainability.

Currently, we have 13 drivers based in various sub-offices and our head office. Among them, four have been promoted from security guards to drivers, showcasing their growth and the opportunities within our organisation.

Beyond their technical skills, our drivers deeply understand organisational discipline. They adhere to strict protocols and guidelines, ensuring every trip meets our safety and operational standards. On challenging roads, our organisation's vehicles, prominently marked with the PIN flag, stand out where other NGOs face difficulties. They are an inspiration for minimising costs and enhancing security. Their professional behaviour and strong work ethic set a positive example for all employees.

Our drivers are the unsung heroes of our organisation, conquering Ethiopia's challenging roads with skill and grace. Their dedication to safety, collaboration, and environmental responsibility is truly inspiring. As we continue our mission to serve the communities of Ethiopia, we remain deeply grateful for the incredible contributions of our driving team. Their success is a driving force behind our own.

Autor: Mihiret Wasihun Teklu

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